The Lindy Effect
I first heard about The Lindy Effect when I read Anti-Fragile by Nassim Taleb. It is the idea that the longer something has been around, the longer it is likely to be around in the future.
The older we get, the closer we are to death; we perceive it as ageing. The Lindy effect proposes the opposite of that and can be proven in various fields.
“For the perishable, every additional day in its life translates into a shorter additional life expectancy. For the non-perishable, every additional day may imply a longer life expectancy.” – Benoît Mandelbrot.
Things that age in reverse
Species of Animal
“If a book has been in print for forty years, I can expect it to be in print for another forty years. But, and that is the main difference, if it survives another decade, then it will be expected to be in print another fifty years. This, simply, as a rule, tells you why things that have been around for a long time are not “ageing” like persons, but “ageing” in reverse. Every year that passes without extinction doubles the additional life expectancy. This is an indicator of some robustness. The robustness of an item is proportional to its life!” – Nassim Taleb (Anti-Fragile)
The Lindy Effect can be used to find out what content to consume. Information is a form of capital in the information and technological age. It can be traded and has value.
When seeking content, use Lindy to see if the information has stood the test of time. Is it a new concept that needs a healthy dose of scepticism (and rightly so), or is it something that time has never managed to destroy? If it stands the test, it is because it holds a greater degree of Truth.
Let’s look at Bitcoin.
It has been around for about 12 years, so we can assume that it will be around for another 12. If Bitcoin is around for another year, we can assume that it will be around another 13 years.
This is an important principle to grasp in the technological age. With so many tech companies failing within a few years, those who break through this period can be expected to last for at least the same time again. It’s a good model for investment potential too.
Predicting the Future
We are notably poor at predicting the future. Look at all of the ‘futurists’ 😴. One way to grasp the future with a bit more clarity? Look at that which has stood the test of time – The Lindy Effect.
Besides, what do you want to predict the future for anyway? It’s none of your business.