In this blog you’re invited to come with my on another personal journey through the world of business and technology, where resilience, innovation and developing an “antifragility” and maximum “worthiness” approach are key.
Navigating the Future: Lessons from My Journey in Business and Technology
The Crucible of Business: Sydney in the 1980s
In the bustling heart of Sydney, Australia, during the late 1980s, I found myself working alongside James Packer and Nic Chan, two young blokes just starting to make their mark in the world of business. We were all learning, growing, and navigating the complexities of the business world together. It was a training ground for us all, and I was there because of my knowledge of personal computers, timing, and I had a bit of a knack for the punt and maths.
We were playing with Kerry Packer’s money, and James and Nic had to answer to him. It was a high-stakes game, and we were all learning the rules as we went along. It was during this time that I truly began to understand the power of mindset and mental models in shaping our behaviour, our results, and how others perceive us.
The Gambler and the Strategist: Lessons from My Parents
It’s said, all ideas and creativity are just a combination of influences of nature and nurture, and that goes for the way we think and our mindsets. My parents, Beverley and Peter Maxworthy, had contrasting mindsets that shaped my approach to business and life. Mum was a risk-taker, a gambler who lived life on her terms. Dad was a financial genius, serving as the Treasurer of Consolidated Press, a man beyond reproach with high integrity. Their contrasting mindsets, the gambler and the strategist, became the mental models that would greatly influence my journey.
Black Monday: A Lesson in Resilience
This balance was put to the test during the stock market crash of October 19, 1987, also known as ‘Black Monday’. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell exactly 508 points (22.6%). This was the largest one-day percentage drop in history (including COVID). Many believe that the cause of the crash was largely due to the computer trading models not having a ‘Black Swan’ event in their algorithm. It was a harsh lesson in the volatility of markets and the importance of resilience.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”Reflecting on those early days, I’m reminded of a quote by Steve Jobs:
Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s work has greatly influenced my thinking. He argues that we should aim not just for resilience, but for ‘antifragility’ – the ability to benefit from shocks and volatility. This is a crucial mindset for navigating the future, particularly in the fast-paced, ever-changing world of business and technology.
Warren Buffet talks about playing the long game
“The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient.” This quote has stuck with me throughout my career. It reminds me that success often comes to those who can weather the storms and stay the course.Warren Buffet
Timing is Everything: Personal Experiences in Business and The Role of Luck in Success
From my personal business experience – “Timing is everything” – you can have a great product or service but are either too early to enter (and spend all your money educating the marketplace) or exit too early (and see an inferior competitor continue then finally exit making a fortune). And sometimes, your timing is perfect and you have great success.
But there’s another factor that often goes unnoticed in the narrative of success – luck. As much as we’d like to believe that success is entirely a result of hard work and strategic planning, the role of luck cannot be ignored. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the stars align in our favor, or they don’t. Recognizing the role of luck in success can help us stay humble in victory and resilient in defeat.
Embracing the AI Revolution
In the world of technology, this patience, resilience, and understanding of luck’s role are more important than ever. We’re in the midst of a revolution, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning transforming every aspect of our lives. To thrive in this new era, we need to adapt our mindsets and develop new skills.
One of the key lessons from the world of AI is the importance of mental models. In chess, for instance, a less skilled human player paired with AI and equipped with robust mental models can outperform a highly skilled human player paired with AI but with less developed mental models. This underscores the importance of mental models in decision-making and strategic thinking, especially in an AI-driven world.
Steve Jobs once said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” This quote resonates with me deeply. In the realm of AI, being a leader means staying ahead of the curve, continually learning, and embracing change. It’s about seeing AI not as a threat, but as an opportunity – a tool that can augment our abilities and open up new possibilities.
Navigating the Future: Embracing Change and Opportunity
As we look to the future, we must embrace the mindset of antifragility, continually learn and adapt, and see change as an opportunity rather than a threat. As we navigate the future, we must remember that success often comes to those who can weather the storms and stay the course. It’s about having the patience and resilience to keep going, even when the going gets tough.
In conclusion, the journey of business and technology is a complex one, filled with challenges and opportunities. It requires a balance of risk-taking and strategic thinking, a willingness to learn and adapt, and the resilience to weather the storms. But with the right mindset, the right tools, and a bit of luck, we can navigate this journey successfully and create a future that is truly “amazing” .
Remember, life is a journey best traveled with laughter, love, and a little bit of mischief. So, live boldly, laugh loudly, and make every moment count. Turn obstacles into opportunities and make every challenge an adventure. Be the person who adds value to every room they enter. And most importantly, leave a legacy of laughter, love, and maximum worthiness.