The past week should serve as a reminder that seemingly impossible things happen all the time. Morgan Housel writes:
Once-in-a-century events happen all the time because lots of unrelated things could go wrong. If, in any given year, there’s a 1% chance of a new disastrous pandemic, a 1% chance of a crippling depression, a 1% chance of a catastrophic flood, a 1% chance of political collapse, and on and on, then the odds that something bad will happen next year – or any year – are … pretty good. It’s why Arnold Toynbee says history is “just one damn thing after another.”
When you look back over the past few years you can see this dynamic playing out in spades. Start with a global pandemic and go from there. You could argue that the demise of the 16th largest bank in the United States, little over a week ago, can be traced to Wuhan.
While Silicon Valley Bank’s problems were brewing for awhile, it’s demise was fast and largely unforeseeable in advance. This is due in large part to the rise of social media. Doug Boneparth writes:
Social media has changed the state of play in the financial world. For better or worse, I believe the speed and volume at which information now travels creates faster answers for people looking for them.
Last night another seemingly impossible thing happened. For only the second time in NCAA basketball tournament history Fairleigh Dickinson, a 16 seed, beat Purdue, a 1 seed. Ben Cohen in the Wall Street Journal writes why this might be the biggest upset ever. Cohen writes:
The Knights’ upset was far more improbable by various metrics. FDU was a 23-point underdog in most sportsbooks, while Virginia was favored over UMBC by only 20.5 points. FDU had a 1.5% chance of winning before the game, according to the college-basketball data emporium kenpom.com, and UMBC’s win probability was 2.5%. Of the 363 teams in Division I, they ranked 312th entering March Madness on kenpom.com, the lowest of any NCAA tournament team since 2002.
If you are lucky to hang around long enough you are going to see ‘impossible things’ happen on a regular basis. And with the rise of social media, and heck who knows AI, expect to see even more of them.
*Just saw this Mark Rzepczynski post on the same topic.