Much of what Wall Street sells is less like engineering than like a forecasting service for a coin-flipping contest -- except that no one mistakes a coin-flipping contest for a game of skill.
Douglasville Deputy Chief Gary E. Sparks:
It's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
To be a music executive means linking your dream to someone else's dream, and being open to the entirely real possibility that the person whose dream you share may be a 15-year-old girl from Barbados or a guy who walks into your office with pancake makeup and a cowbell around his neck. Having faith in such people is a stretch; betting one's financial future on what you imagine other people will hear in their music is a further stretch, especially at the fag-end of the music business where a multitalented ex-Mouseketeer like Justin Timberlake is the closest thing that anyone can find to Jimi Hendrix.
When the odds are so small that they are difficult to conceptualize, the risk we perceive has less to do with outcomes than with how much fear or hope we are feeling when we make a decision, how we "frame" and organize sets of logical facts, and even how we perceive ourselves in relation to others. Once you know the alternate set of rules, plumb the literature, and speak to the experts, the popularity of the lottery suddenly makes a lot more sense. It's a game where reason and logic are rendered obsolete, and hope and dreams are on sale.
The data is big enough to entertain any story.
Stories help us make sense of a world that would otherwise seem chaotic and unpredictable, and derive meaning from lives that might otherwise seem pointless and random. And stories, as Marshall McLuhan famously observed, adapt to the mediums that convey them.
Julie Snyder and Sarah Larson:
"We don't know exactly how much we have figured out." They've figured out plenty, but what is the whole truth? And how do you know when you've found it? Can it even be found?
As citizens in an era of Datafeed, we still haven't figured out how to manage our way to happiness. But there's a lot of money to be made in selling us the dials.