Being Slightly Wrong in Public

“The fastest way to learn is to be slightly wrong in public."

Being Slightly Wrong in Public

Would you rather be a fast learner in a learning-scarce environment, or a slow learner in a learning-rich environment? I think I'd choose the learning-rich environment, which has me thinking about how to create the conditions where learning is inevitable, regardless of innate ability.

Business and investing podcast host Patrick O’Shaughnessy once said, “The fastest way to learn is to be slightly wrong in public.” Too wrong, and people will write you off as crazy. But slightly wrong, and people will correct you and point out your blind spots. His comment about being slightly wrong in public was in the context of interviewing Cathie Wood, an investor of longshot innovations in the public markets. Her firm, ARK Invest, has pioneered the concept of crowdsourced research where they heavily leverage social media to distribute all of their investing research in the hopes that people will battle-test it and improve it. She’s been credited with bringing an open-source ethos to Wall Street.

When it comes to betting on long-term innovation, Cathie argues there is a premium on not being wrong: “If we make an incorrect assumption and then carry it out, we’re going to make an exponential mistake.”

Whether it’s betting on the next technology or advancing in our antiracist journey, there is perhaps no greater learning environment than being slightly wrong in public.