“The innocent and the beautiful have no enemy but time” – W.B. Yates
Edward Thorp was a mathematics genius and an early pioneer of using statistics and probability to successfully invest and direct funds he managed. His track record is one of the best all time. He used these models to become an early investor in the options market and found arbitrage opportunities in a variety of investment vehicles.
But the interesting thing about investing models and these techniques – they have to evolve. One of the most famous models, Black-Scholes [Fischer Black just recently won a noble prize for this one] forced Thorp to continue to tweak and refine is formulas. Depending on who’s side of the story you buy, Black-Scholes forced him to make his models better (apparently there is some drama as to the timing of when these models were published versus discovered – not the stuff you’ll see on reality TV anytime soon). The point here is simply this – over time everything changes and so must your product and your solution.
In his Ted Talk, Guy Kawaski explains the need to build quickly, don’t wait for perfection and then iterate. Some product managers suggest by version 3 of your product you’ll feel embarrassed looking back at version 1. And that’s ok. Time is going to render change and the opportunity to iterate and evolve. Sometimes that means just making a better version of your product. Sometimes it means realizing something even more novel, that your original problem has changed. Avon’s Skin So Soft was meant to be a better skin lotion but when they realized it was an even more effective insect repellent, they went with it. Either way, evolution and iterations must occur to stay relevant. If good product exists to solve problems and problems change over time then it’s only natural that product must change too.
So there you have it, poetry, math tea, and product thoughts all in one bite! Happy Friday!