The Naval Podcast – Kelly Criterion: Avoid Ruin

Check out Naval’s Episode Page & Show Notes

This podcast clip is part of a conversation between Naval Ravikant and Babak Nivi. Unless otherwise noted, quotes are from Naval. For reference, check out Naval’s famous How to Get Rich tweet storm.

Key Takeaways

  • The Kelly criterion is a mathematical formulation of a simple concept:
    • “Don’t risk everything. Stay out of jail. Don’t bet everything on one big gamble, just be very careful how much you bet each time so you don’t lose the whole kitty.”
  • Similarly – Nassim Taleb talks about ergodicity
    • What does ergodicity mean? – What’s true for 100 people on average isn’t the same as one person averaging that same thing 100 times
    • As an example, if 6 people play Russian Roulette and each winner gets $1 billion – 1 person ends up dead and 5 people now have $1 billion
      • But 1 person who plays Russian Roulette with the same gun 6 times is never going to end up a billioare (on average)
  • In business, people get ruined by cutting corners and doing the unethical/illegal
    • Having your reputation ruined is very much the same as getting wiped to 0

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