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Simple, Complicated, Complex

Really like this explanation of complexity from Flash Boys by Michael Lewis:

“People think that complex is an advanced state of complicated,” said Zoran [Perkov, head of technology operations for IEX]. “It’s not. A car key is simple. A car is complicated. A car in traffic is complex.”

Well put.

Reminds me a bit of how Nassim Taleb draws a distinction between robustness, or the ability to withstand disorder, and antifragility, which he explains as actually growing stronger when exposed to those same disorderly forces.

Linked, an amazing book on networks which I’m re-reading explains the difference between Swiss watches and the internet:

Understanding the topology of the Internet is a prerequisite for designing tools and services that offer a fast and reliable communication infrastructure. Though human made, the Internet is not centrally designed. Structurally, the Internet is closer to an ecosystem than to a Swiss watch. Therefore, understanding the Internet is not only an engineering or a mathematical problem. In important ways, historical forces shaped its topology. A tangled tale of converging ideas and competing motivations left their mark on the Internet’s structure, creating a jumbled information mass for historians and computer scientists to unravel.

January 8, 2015 // This post is about: , , , ,


  • Stuart Eccles says:

    If you haven’t you should check out Cynefin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7oz366X0-8

  • The Complex Simplicity of Frisbee | Noah Brier dot Com says:

    […] Good to add to the list of ways to explain complexity. […]

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