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Dancing Around the Black Swan

There is no only one way to solve a problem

Published: May 9, 2011 06:26:41 AM IST
Updated: May 3, 2011 04:46:52 PM IST
Dancing Around the Black Swan
Lalit Jalan is CEO and director, Reliance Infra

The shift from being an energy distribution company to becoming an infra major has been a challenging yet satisfying experience. It was a move into an ocean of untapped opportunities.

The book Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb helped in reinforcing my belief that there is no one way to solve a problem. It is good to be aware of trends, possibilities and be a part of the mythical land of Mediocristan. It helps to take on the unknown and make the best of it. In short, being prepared helps convert a black swan into a gray one. Walking the tightrope between the government, NGOs, consumers, business partners and stakeholders has made us expect the unexpected and accept that we are in Extremistan.

Th e Black Swan appears suddenly, has a huge impact and we try to justify its presence in hindsight. The world wars and economic meltdowns, which shattered the economies of the most developed nations, should make us cautious, open to changes and be hands-on with our business.

Taleb’s solution is for the economic, political and scientifi c domains in the business of forecasting. “Fractals should be the default, the approximation, the framework. Th ey do not solve the Black Swan problem and do not turn all Black Swans into predictable events, but they significantly mitigate the Black Swan problem by making such large events conceivable.” ■

Lalit Jalan is CEO and director, Reliance Infra

(Co-ordinated by Jasodhara Banerjee)

(This story appears in the 20 May, 2011 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)