Physics has variously been described as the “King of All Sciences.”  We admit that we subscribe to this bias so if you don’t love Physics it might not be wise to read further. 

The laws of nature are governed by Physics.  We have known for millennia that Physics governs the visible and invisible worlds; invisible worlds- using the common-sense definition of the word—are both too small and too large for us to “see” without the help of Physics-based instrumentation or infrastructure. 

From the building blocks of matter- quarks—to superclusters of galaxies, the glorious universe reveals patterns to us -when we are clever and innovative enough to imagine and then build the instruments that allow us to peek into the infinitesimal and the semi-infinite.

This mindset- one of experimentally-verifiable curiosity, and of the insatiable desire to find patterns and truths that lurk in the cosmos- is what makes the Physics-brain so fascinating. 

So what can it teach us about other subjects, even those as “mundane” as managing assets? So, so much.

Imagine the recent news about “images” of the large black hole at the center of the Milky Way being made available by the aptly named Event Horizon Telescope.  Now imagine an analogy.  Perhaps a loose one but an apposite one nevertheless- What “gravitational” events, facts, or information is lurking in the chaos of our data?  What can we learn from them and what effect do they have on our decisions?  Do they introduce massive risk or huge opportunity?  Most important, do we have the right infrastructure and systems to detect it and to “act” on them?

Going back a century, imagine what a group of European physicists were thinking when they imagined that the infinitesimal world behaved differently, that, perhaps, Newtonian mechanics didn’t apply at particle-scale?  Business as usual didn’t work for them.  And through this curiosity (and mathematical rigor) they gave us the gift of Quantum Mechanics.  Now imagine applying this Physics Mindset to an economic area that has followed the same rules for 4 decades.  There are things to be uncovered that we cannot conceive of when we don’t challenge every assumption.

All metaphors are faulty but even in their imperfection can help us think through new ways to learn, innovate and produce outstanding results.  Let’s adopt the Physics Mindset and turn the industry on its end.  

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