Motivation

Here’s why I started this blog and why I continue writing:

  1. Risk Management Matters to Everyone.  As a secular humanist I am deeply interested in finding ways to improve human lives using reproducible and vetted methods that build on and contribute to our knowledge of the natural world.  My own chosen fields of Risk Management can contribute to this goal in a meaningful way.  If we can learn to manage financial risk so that small-scale and large scale financial catastrophes can be mitigated or even avoided altogether, we will have done a very big service to ourselves and to others around the world.  The pain and suffering that is being felt around the globe because of financial losses from the ongoing crisis of 2007/2008 is something that I’d like to help eradicate.  It’s that simple and that audacious.  In the process, we’ll improve all forms of risk management – not just financial – and we’ll learn how to make better decisions to avoid many different types of loss.

  2. Risk Management is hard.  Because of our evolutionary history, it’s especially hard for the human brain.  Our species evolved to accept/believe certain things not because they are true, but rather because those beliefs tended to aid our ancestors’ survival (or at least didn’t materially hurt their chances).  This has profound implications for Risk Management, especially around how we (mis)interpret the information.  This is in addition to the difficulties most people have understanding statistics and what I’ve begun calling “fuzzy numbers,” the concept that risk information has a confidence interval or “uncertainty.”  That’s a foreign concept to most people, and one that’s central to quality risk management.  For all these reasons, this stuff is HARD.

  3. Misinterpretation is rampant.  Over the past 15 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of people who manage financial risks for all sorts of companies.  One thing I can say is that there’s no shortage of incorrect assumptions, misplaced beliefs and misinterpretation.  There’s also a lot of sophisticated analysis, high quality risk management and lessons to be learned.  How to properly interpret risk analysis is an especially tricky thing, and I will probably spend quite a bit of time on this topic.
  4. New developments happen frequently.  Risk management is a dynamic field, influenced by new developments in behavioral finance, complexity science, cognitive sciences, human evolution, computational sciences and mathematics.  There’s quite a bit to keep up with.  By forcing myself to write periodically, I will also be forcing myself to keep up.  So in a way, this blog is a way to keep me honest and up to speed.  That’s a good thing.
  5. Sharing knowledge is important.  I have always felt that those of us who are fortunate enough to have learned something also have an obligation to share that knowledge with others.  And we hopefully recognize that there are others out there who have knowledge we’d do well to learn ourselves.

One Response to Motivation

  1. Jay Irani says:

    Hey Damian.

    Great meeting you on Tuesday. I was the producer on the set of the I.I. shoot. I also shoot a talk show, called Venture Studio, that’s all about investing in tech startups. I’m going to pass this blog along to our show’s host, Dave Lerner, who’s an active angel investor in NYC. I’m pretty sure what’s said here is just as relevant for small tech companies.

    Thanks again for your time. Can’t wait to dive deeper into the blog!

    Jay
    Producer, Venture Studio: http://vimeo.com/user6101052

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