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Hey everyone. Stay tuned to the end of the interview where I’ll give you some actionable insights that I learned from my guest. These insights are also in the show notes. As always, thanks for listening.
Now on to my guest for today, Noah Healy, founder of Coordisc, an alternative market algorithm called the Coordinated Discovery Market (CDM).
Noah refers to himself as a “recreational mathematician,” part of a tradition of thinkers going back centuries interested in thinking about mathematical questions. He studied a wide variety of subjects at the University of Virginia, focusing on engineering and economics, but always anchored by an interest in math. He became interested in applying his curiosity to the problems inherent in current economic markets and proposes that what we need now is a change in the algorithm that forms the basis for our current market economy.
Currently, Noah explains, the market operates as an information and communication system. However, there is a lot of noise in that system. A healthy market processes signals to reduce noise, but that is not currently happening. In fact, he says, the noise in the market is “off the scales.” The basic problem is that with the rise of computerization, industries have vastly increased their ability to be more efficient. But the cost of that efficiency is that one error in the system can lead to catastrophe. It also fosters the rampant corruption we now see in our economy. While Noah acknowledges he’s still in the early stages of promoting this idea, there’s been a lot of receptivity to it, because even those businesses that are “status quo” are seeing that problems are structural and can’t be simply “papered over.”
This episode just scratches the surface of a much bigger idea, but it is packed with some food for thought on what's at stake and offers some solutions on how we might re-invent our economy.
Now, let’s get better together.
- Noah refers to his strategy of entrepreneurship as “energetic serendipity.” This view acknowledges the role that luck and opportunity play when putting out a new idea, but at the same stresses the importance of putting yourself in the way of opportunities and being prepared to take advantage of them.
- Noah notes that two ways to improve the system are to become more efficient or to redo the algorithm. While most businesses focus on the first, he’s focusing on the second. Becoming more efficient has its own risks and limits because of the potential for problems when an error is introduced.
- Don’t discount the value of simple curiosity, solving problems and asking questions for its own sake. One example Noah gives is how a mathematician in the 19th century who worked out large prime numbers never saw any purpose for it - but it’s now become the backbone for computer security.