Talking to fish

Talking to fish

Can you really explain to a fish what it’s like to walk on land? One day on land is worth a thousand years of talking about it, and one day running a business has exactly the same kind of value.

Warren Buffett, author of Berkshire Hathaway Letters to Shareholders

Talking about business is not the same thing as running a business.

Talking uses words which represent concepts of the real world. But it has limitations.

Try explaining to fish how walking on land feel like. The fish can’t understand how walking on land feel like no matter how hard we explain. The fish need to actually walk on land to understand it. Talking has its limitations. It does not change reality, it only changes our perception of reality.

We can fool the people. We can’t fool the nature.

In horse racing, gamblers bet on horses that they think will win the race. Each gambler has their own idea of which horse will likely to win and bet accordingly. No matter how confident the gambler is, he can still lose his life-saving if he bet on the wrong horse. His perception of reality does not change the reality. It is the actual outcome of the race that determines the winner.

In political debate, people bet on their favourite idea and try to convince others the merit of their idea. In a discussion, we are talking to other people. We are mutually changing each other perceptions of reality. The reality does not change. Just like in horse racing, the outcome in the reality could be a different story.

Debate is for addicted gamblers. Mostly, they are fooling other people and themselves. They bet without risking their own money.

As Warren Buffett observed, people are willing to spend thousands of dollars to go to Las Vegas to play games that are guaranteed to lose them money over long term. And they keep coming back. What we can learn from this observation is that this is a world of opportunities to make a lot money.

We are born gamblers.

On the other hands, doing experiment, testing, etc will tell us whether the solution work or does not work. The nature tells us the results. This requires real work.

We need actions to change the reality. That involves risk. Entrepreneurs test idea in the market, not in a meeting.

Wait, am I talking to fish?