Forecasting is hard. And not because people aren’t smart, but because trivial accidents can be influential in ways that are impossible to foresee.

I did a talk with a high school class last week and someone asked how I decided to become a writer. I said I didn’t, it was never planned. The path that led me here is an absurd story, and one that most of us have a version of – the pure fluke.

One night in college – I remember it was late, maybe midnight – I was reading a blog post about hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert. It was written by a guy named Sham Gad, who I had never heard of. I can’t remember where I found his blog; maybe I was searching for information on Lampert, who I admired.

Sham wrote that Lampert went to Harvard. I knew that was wrong – he actually went to Yale. Obviously it doesn’t matter, who cares? But using my student email address (which I rarely used but turned out to be important) I emailed Sham to let him know he was wrong. I never do stuff like that, then or now. The common denominator of the internet is misinformation. I have no idea why I thought it was necessary.

Sham’s a nice guy. He responded and said thanks, he’ll fix it.

A few minutes later he sent another email: “Hey I see from your email address that you go to USC. I’ll be in Los Angeles tomorrow. (Read more...)