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Bet Your Friends to Be More Right

A while back I had a friend named Andrew. The tie that bound us was our love for gambling, not as a thrill-seeking diversion, but as a practical application of statistics. We made money gambling together, exploiting any edge we could find, but we also gambled between the two of us.

I forget how it started, but eventually we got to the point where no assertion could be made without stakes being attached to it. Any sentence beginning with "I bet you anything..." was taken literally and was likely to result in a wager of some sort.

For example, if we were talking about going to a restaurant, and I said that it was probably closed, and he thought that it was open, he might ask me what odds I'd give him that it was open. If I was really sure, because I'd been there at that time the day before, I might offer him 3:1. If I was barely sure at all, I might offer him 1:1. Confidence in estimations determined the amount bet.

The interesting thing about this practice was that it made us both think very carefully about the accuracy of all of our statements. The most embarrassing thing ever was to say, "I bet you anything that I'll be on time..." and then be unwilling to back up the assertion with a bet. Failing to bet was an admission that you'd just said something that you had no real confidence in.

Blogging: Week 10

On A Fixed Point

I thought it would be helpful for me to dissect the thought processes around my first "official" incursion into blogging so I can have a guidepost to look upon in a few months.

This is not my first attempt at blogging. One of my favorite quotes goes somewhat like this, I'm paraphrasing: "How you do one thing is how you do everything," but I've somehow been able to rationalize blogging as the ONE thing I didn't have to do like all the others.

I should have heeded the call long ago, when I met a prolific blogger and entrepreneur. The first thing he asked me was: "Do you blog?" I knew then that as much as I could contribute by commenting on his posts, there was a whole game being played that I was missing out on.

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