The Lindy Effect is a theory that the future life expectancy of specific non-perishable items—like a technology or idea—is proportional to their age. – Sahil Bloom
The Lindy Effect is a useful framework for evaluating the durability and life expectancy of a technology or idea. Here’s a very simple breakdown:
1/ Let’s start with a definition. The Lindy Effect is a theory that the future life expectancy of specific non-perishable items—like a technology or idea—is proportional to their age. Simply, the longer it has already lasted, the higher the likelihood it will continue to last.
3/ In his book—entitled The Fractal Geometry of Nature—Mandlebrot commented that the more stage appearances a Lindy’s comedian made, the more future appearances he could be predicted to make. Put differently, the longer he lasted, the longer he would continue to last.
4/ @nntaleb built upon Mandelbrot’s work, formally coining the term “Lindy Effect” in his book, Antifragile. He noted the Lindy Effect with books—the longer a book has been in print, the longer it is likely to survive. With no natural upper bound, power laws come into play…
5/ “If a book has been in print for 40 years, I can expect it to be in print for another 40…if it survives another decade, then it will be expected to be in print another 50 years. Every year that passes without extinction doubles the additional life expectancy.” — @nntaleb
6/ So why should you care? The Lindy Effect can be a very useful framework for deconstructing and evaluating the survivability of new technologies and ideas. Most notably, Bitcoin (and web3/crypto in general) is often evaluated in the context of the Lindy Effect.
7/ There is active debate here… The Genesis Block was created in January 2009 and it has survived the ~13 years since. The fact that it has survived through multiple bull and bear markets—and some vicious crashes—does appear to indicate a degree of “Lindy” exists.
9/ Further, the Lindy Effect can be leveraged as a lens through which to decide what content and ideas you consume. @naval and others advocate reading the classics. This is grounded in the Lindy Effect—accumulate knowledge that will still be important and relevant in 100 years!