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Probability vs. Consequence of Success

+ A Small Hack The North 2016 Talk

Hackathons are great for those who love to make things using technology. I saw that this weekend at Hack The North 2016. My experience was exhilarating, most of which was attributed to the energy that everyone brought to the table. Some people came from across the world to create something great. Some people tried to revolutionize the way something was done.

Revolutionize is the key term here.

Revolutionary things are the things that make the world a better place. Incremental updates are bound to happen but revolutionary things change the way the future of that thing was heading.

This was something that Vinod Khosla, one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems, was emphasizing during his presentation . That name might not strike a bell but this is the company that created Java, which is found across many of our electronic devices. Besides the fact that he was a very successful businessman (for those who care, he is a billionaire), he is also a very wise person who understands the power of technology.

Increase probability of success, decrease consequences of success. Decrease probability of success, increase consequences of success.

This is one of the largest piece of advice that Vinod gave everyone.

What did he mean?

Success is a word that can mean very different things to different people. It may be making a certain amount of money, being happy with one’s life, or making a mark on the world.

Take all the things that success can mean and you’d be left with a very vast scale not too comparable. At the low end of the scale lay the smaller consequences of success like getting a 100% on a test. And the top end of that scale might be making a billion dollars. The difference between ending up on the bottom of the scale versus the top is what’s called the probability of success. The less likely you are to succeed, the more likely you are to get more out of that success.

Hackathons give people the chance to revolutionize by creating something the world does not know it needs. Obviously, not everyone is going to take the path of completely revolutionizing the world because of the low chance of success. But those who do and are successful will see themselves rewarded greatly.

Besides the great talk that Vinod gave, Hack The North was a great experience. My team and I created something that I did not think we’d be able to create. It really wasn’t something I could see myself doing this Hackathon.

We created a web application for those who want to donate money to non-profit organizations without the hassle of having to constantly write checks. The app, Probono, allowed its users to donate money in the form of a monthly subscription. Every month, our service would take out a certain amount of money and give it to their choice of non-profit. The idea was not working perfect or anything but the progress we made was almost usable as version 1.0.

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My name is Varun Khatri and my passion to write pulls me to Medium. I write for both myself and for the entertainment of my audience.

I try to write as often as I can, usually meaning once a week.

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