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Journal Entries
Note: Background images in December 2002 and January 2003 journal entries are selected from Frances Ku's collection of her original watercolours.

Bon Journal

Expected values

A decision analyst found my musings on dealing with uncertainty and flexibility on the Internet. He was so curious about my analysis and philosophy that he made his way to London to have a word with me.

I explained to him my decision dilemma. A portfolio career means juggling lots of things in the air without really holding onto anything or going deeply into anything. For someone who is accustomed to a comprehensive and exhaustive approach, this can be both contradictory and tiring.

I want to write, but not necessarily in energy. But if I leave the energy world, I will never be able to return. That is clear. The transaction costs are too high. I want to do my music. And now, I know that if I channel everything into this effort, I can make a living solely in music.

So what is preventing me from devoting myself completely to music?

I explained my perfect hedge. While I continue to do both, I have excuses for not doing them well. If I don't play well, I can always say that I'm really a writer. If I don't write well, I can always say that I'm really a pianist. So the vocation and avocation form a risk-free portfolio.

But is that really the case? The decision analyst concluded that my expected values for writing energy articles and playing the piano are equal. An expected value is the weighted sum of all future probabilities and values. In other words, an expected value captures the expectation the decision maker has of his future.

If this is true, then it explains why I am still living in London. My expected value for living here is higher than moving away. Either that, or I'm just resistant to change.

16 January 2003 Thursday

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Anne Ku
writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.