resilient like a fox
LIFT 13, Geneva
You are resilient if you keep getting up after getting punched down
Mnemonic image: classic Paul Newman scene from Cool Hand Luke
HOW do you get back up?
WHY do you get back up?
“The fox knows many things, the hedgehog knows one big thing.”
After being punched down…
Gets up for new adventure Gets up for old passion
Fox: Rob Lee
Hedgehog: Lars Karlsson
Turkey: Yathin S Krishnappa
Gets up out of habit
The three stonecutters and the cathedral
The three stonecutters at Chesterton’s Fence
The three stonecutters and the Dogs of VUCA*
* Viciously Unpleasant Canine Adversaries
Moral of the story
It is not clear whether it is better to be a fox or a hedgehog.
Just don’t be a turkey.
Resilience 101 Concepts
• Fox vs. Hedgehog vs. Turkey
• VUCA -- Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity
• Illegibility and Chesterton’s Fence
• Cathedral vs. Bazaar
• Leadership vs. Collaboration
Fox vs. Hedgehog
• Seven Little Comparisons
• …And one BIG comparison
1 Hedgehog resilience in nature: Panda
Knows one thing: how to look cute for wildlife photographers
1 Foxy Resilience in nature: sea birds at Mira Flores
Know: “4-Hour Fishing” by Tim Seagull Ferriss
2 Hedgehog Resilience for humans
Transition Village, Val David, Quebec
2 Foxy Resilience for humans
Jugaad Movement, India
Conservation REALLY Carry one
Mindset bad at lifestyle
Permaculture One identity
Values Creates by eliminating
Autonomy Learn for
Backyard Drones and
chickens 3D printers
3 Disposability prediction
than lifestyle to
Hacking Embrace Multiple-Model
Values Mind Creates by
Learn for contradictions
“4 hour Globalism “get rich quick”
Run away from
(with apologies to Tolstoi)
Resilient hedgehogs are all alike. Every resilient fox
is resilient in its own way.
Hedgehogs are predictable
Foxes are unpredictable
And speaking of Tolstoi…
“*Isaiah Berlin+ postulated that while Tolstoi had the
talents of a fox, he believed that one ought to be a
Tolstois Pure Hedgehogs
Some startup founders Dante
Thomas Friedman Asimov, Clarke
Neal Stephenson James Collins (Good to Great)
Steve Blank (Four Steps…)
Alexander “Cathedral” Hamilton
Fox Talents Hedgehog
Bruce Sterling Nicholas Nassim Taleb:
Justin Pickard Thomas “Bazaar” Jefferson
Nate Silver John Boyd (OODA loop)
TOWER OF GOTHIC HIGH
FAVELA CHIC CARGO CULTS
four laws for foxy resilience
Law 1: Build on contradictions, not values
Law 2: Preserve memories, not identities
Law 3: Seek motifs, not axioms
Law 4: Pursue adventure, not love
Law 1: build on contradictions, not values
Remember: “Enterprise” meant “adventurous voyage” (Sinbad the Sailor)
before it meant “institution.”
Mission: To go boldly where no man has gone before!
BUT: Prime Directive! Don’t interfere with pre-warp cultures
Law 2: preserve memories, not identities
Mint condition 1918 Russian stamp Wabi-sabi bowl, courtesy web-japan.com
(valued by Hedgehogs) (valued by Foxes)
More damage = lower value More damage = higher value
Law 3: seek motifs, not truths
Globalization understood through container as motif
Globalization understood through World is Flat axiom
Law 4: pursue adventure, not love
Global Orbiting Device (GOD) Strongest weapon in the world
(WMH – Weapon of Mass Happiness)
Two pieces of art by Hojun Song
four consequences of foxy resilience
Consequence 1: Build on contradictions, values will emerge
Consequence 2: Preserve memories, identity will emerge
Consequence 3: Seek motifs, truths will emerge
Consequence 4: Pursue adventure, love will emerge
Act like a fox, your inner hedgehog will emerge!
(but seriously, don’t be a turkey)
We’ve learned a lot about the HOW of resilience in the last few decades.
But we know very little about the WHY of resilience, which is in a way the existential raison d’etreof humanity.
The fox, the hedgehog and the turkey are working as stonecutters at a construction site. Peter Drucker comes along and asks, “what are you doing?”The fox says proudly, “I am building a cathedral!”The hedgehog says, “I am doing the best job of stone-cutting in the entire country.”The turkey says, “I am making a living!”Drucker goes away, after praising the fox for being a great leader, the turkey for being a reasonable worker, and blaming the hedgehog for being a narrow-minded specialist. Shortly afterwards, there is a recession and the cathedral project gets canceled. The fox gets a golden parachute payment, the hedgehog has bet against the project and has a big payday, the turkey ends up destitute.
After the cathedral fiasco, the three go for a walk in the English countryside, and start talking about their future plans. They all agree that cathedrals are a bad and idea that oppress the masses and bankrupt the economy. The fox excitedly starts talking about founding a grand bazaar there as his next project. Suddenly they come across an old fence on the road, with no obvious reason for being there. Beyond the fence there is a dark and illegible forest.The fox says, “Hah! I don’t know why this fence is here, but we can use it as one of the walls of my Grand Bazaar”The hedgehog says, “I don’t know why the fence is there, but it is made from non-local, non-sustainable materials, so let’s tear it down. We can replace it with a stone wall made from locally sourced stones if we need it.”The turkey says, “maybe it’s there for a reason; perhaps we should just leave it alone and turn back.”The fox is anxious to keep the hedgehog on his side, so he says, “Oh well! I am sure we are smart enough to deal with any consequences” and cheerfully begins tearing down the fence.The hedgehog joins in and works even more ferociously.The turkey caves and joins in.
Just as they finish tearing down the fence, they hear a loud roar, and look up to see a pack of angry dogs rushing out at them from the other side. Now they understand what the fence was for. The hedgehog immediately curls up into a ball. The fox starts to run.The turkey yells at him, “why are you running? We cannot outrun the dogs!” The fox yells back, “I don’t have to outrun the dogs, I just have to outrun you!”The dogs catch and eat the turkey and goes away.Later the fox and hedgehog start blaming each other for the death of the turkey, which they both agree was a tragic loss.
When the locks of the canal open, the salinity of the sea water kills the fresh water fish, which the birds then feast on. They hover and wait for the lock openings.
Val David is a “transition movement” village in Quebec, run by a community that hopes to prepare for post-peak-oil futures.
How a hedgehog thinks.
Fox and Hedgehog are Jungian shadows of each other in many ways
Babel: Large systems with lots of internal contradictions and built for temporary expedient exploitationGHT: Large systems, internally consistentFavela Chic: expedient slumming mentalityCargo Cults: Hipsters and such
Stories are built out of a hedgehog-fox-hedgehog template.
GOD is an open-source satellite that carries a random-number generator as a payload, that uses cosmic rays. A true tower of Babel.WMH is a nuclear-resistant container that prints out the message “I love” when a nuclear bomb goes off.