Some things are not merely resistant to attack or failure; they are actually improved by them.
The economist Nassim Taleb calls this antifragility, and it’s a phenomenon that Charlie Hebdo learned much about after gunmen slaughtered 12 people in and near the magazine’s Paris office on Jan. 7 over offensive pictures of the Prophet Muhammad.
The killings turned a satirical magazine with a circulation of 60,000 known for breaking the boundaries of good taste into a worldwide symbol of free speech. The issue following the attacks, featuring a tearful Muhammad on the cover, was printed in five languages with 7 million copies distributed.
Later in January, East Coasters engaged in one of their favorite pastimes: extreme snowstorm preparation. While New England got battered by Winter Storm Juno, snowfall further south was much lighter than expected, leading metorologist Gary Szatkowski to apologize on Twitter.
“My deepest apologies to many key decision makers and so many members of the general public,” he tweeted, followed by, “You made a lot of tough decisions expecting us to get it right, and we didn’t. Once again, I’m sorry.”
Meanwhile, Michael Kitces and Josh Brown did the winter conference circuit, economist Austan Goolsbee had some playground advice for Russia, and even HighTower Las Vegas couldn’t resist a crack at the New England Patriots.
Charlie Hebdo: information is truly antifragile. Attempt to choke it moved circulation from 60K to est. >3 million, more than 50 times!
— Nassim NicholTaleb (@nntaleb) January 13, 2015
I don’t care how hip your company is, I don’t want your service rep to say they’ll ‘hit me back’ when they have an answer to my problem.
— Jude Boudreaux CFP® (@HJudeBoudreaux) January 5, 2015
— MichaelKitces (@MichaelKitces) January 22, 2015