Enough – Signal v. Noise

The underpinning tenet of chasing exponential growth is that anything less than “all of it” is never enough. … But it’s not the only paradigm available for rent.

Source: Enough – Signal v. Noise

Once you realize that the prevailing narrative of entrepreneurship is a paradigm, and not an immutable natural law, you open your eyes to alternatives. One of which is that of enough.

Big enough. Ambitious enough. Profitable enough.

But how much, exactly, is enough? Well, obviously that depends. What’s easier than trying to pin down a goal a priori is to accept when you’re past it.

The longest lived businesses in the world aren’t the ones that were biggest in their day. Many of them are family firms, or small to mid-sized enterprises content with steady evolvement of their niche. Content with enough.

Bigger isn’t automatically better, and may well simply be more brittle. Bigger risks, bigger dangers, harder falls from grace.

Taking profits every year, along the way, insulates owners from ending up as the last, biggest fool to buy a stake before the valuation stops growing.

Ultimately, what defines enough is up to you. The paradigm shift is to decide that there is such a point, and that the point is below “all of it”.

Dissolving the Fermi Paradox – Future of Humanity Institute

Source: Dissolving the Fermi Paradox – Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford, by Anders Sandberg, Eric Drexler & Toby Ord

Conclusion 1: the Fermi paradox isn’t very paradoxical

  • Overconfident guesses makes it seem hard to get empty universe
  • When our uncertainty is properly accounted for in the model, we find a substantial a priori chance that there is no other intelligent life in our observable universe, and thus that there should be little or no surprise when this is what we see.
  • Reasonable priors (or even the literature!) give enough uncertainty to make empty universe fairly likely
  • Note that this conclusion does not mean we are alone! Just that we should not be surprised if this is the case.
    (This is a statement about knowledge and priors, not a measurement: armchair astrobiology)

Conclusion 2: the great filter is likely in the past

  • Given the priors and the Fermi observation, the default guess should be that the low-probability term(s) are in the past.
  • Note that a past great filter does not imply our safety
    (The stars just don’t foretell our doom)