Something is always happening

Supported by Greenhaven Road Capital, finding value off the beaten path.

Two boats flashed their lights as they raced across the lake. A third joined them. Sometimes it’s hard to tell when boats go fast, with knots, wind, waves and all. Not this time. These boats were booking it.

I watched the scene from the top of the water slide and wondered what happened. A drowning? A gator attack? Terrorism? It was my turn and I slid down the slide into the – also carefully patrolled – waters of a Walt Disney World Resort pool. Later in the day I found out what happened. It was something.

Something is always happening. Walt Disney World averages a million guests a week. Things that occur 0.01% of the time happen 100 times a week. That low percentage may be on the high side. The parks, hotels, restaurants, busses, and shops are full of strangers, exhausted from a day in the Florida sun with their wallets and patience stretched to the limits. Mix in the unfamiliar and the Everyman can become ‘Florida Man’.

Now step back. This applies to everyone everywhere. Seven and a half billion people live on the planet. That provides a lot of combinations for a lot of somethings to happen.

Another something happened on this trip. My two daughters (11 & 9) experienced their first (dad instructed) hotel fire drill. I sold it as them needing to assist someone else in a hectic situation. They bought it—kinda.

The base rate for a fire in a Walt Disney World Resort is quite low. The base rate for something is quite high. These two events reminded me of this fun math puzzle.

The odds of someone in a group of 23 people sharing your birthday is pretty low. The chance of someone in a group of 23 people sharing someone’s birthday is better than a coin toss.

This is part of the reason I consume very little news. There will be something to report on so long as there are people to report about and people to report to. The combinatorics make it so. Important events, from shared birthdays or hotel fires are much rarer.

Another example is investing. There are so many investors doing different things that something successful will happen to one of them. The trick is finding a ‘zoo’where it’s more than random.

I never found out what scattered the boats. Our hotel also managed to make it through the night, and I’d wager tomorrow night and the next too. But it was a good lesson in these convinces to remember that something is always happening, though how much that something matters takes a bit more work.

Photo is from Art Smith’s Homecomin’ in Disney Springs. The doughnuts were very good and I don’t usually like doughnuts.

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