36 Black Swans, Gray Swans, and Pink Flamingoes to Watch in 2018 [Blog]   [open html - 73KB]

"To think through the strategically impactful events that might come in 2018--precisely because, after the devastation on September 11, 2001, the great criticism of the national security enterprise was that 'the most important failure was one of imagination.' This rebuke hurt even more because a plane-borne attack had been predicted, not by our own government, but in a Tom Clancy novel. The list below--the flock of potential, future-shaking events to come--is every bit as speculative as a novel's plotline. So nearly all these will be wrong. But to look upon a high 'failure' rate in such an endeavor would miss the point. The proper objective with such an exercise is to make many big bets that have highly lucrative upsides and massive returns on investment (like a venture capitalist's investment strategy). That way, getting 10 or 5 or even 1 percent 'right' leads to outsize yields and incredible net gains. In the case of this exercise, if even one of these turns out to be close to correct, then the advance consideration will have been worth it."

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