The Lindy effect

All perishable things have an expiration date. They age as time passes. With some non-perishable items, the opposite is true. The longer they have been around, the longer they are likely to last into the future.

This phenomenon is called the Lindy effect, and it applies to a variety of non-perishable things.

The longer a piece of technology has been around, the longer it is likely to survive into the future. The CD-Rom has already come and gone, but the wheel is as old as civilization itself, and is likely to last as long as civilization does.

The longer a book has been in print, the longer it is expected to stay in print. Last year’s bestseller might not stay in print during the next decade. But ancient epics like the Mahabharata and Homer’s Odessy have been in print for about 3000 years, and therefore, are likely to stay in print for another 3000 years.

People are perishable, but their legacies can be non-perishable. Most of our grandparents will be forgotten along with us, but the legacies of Isaac Newton has been around for 500 years. Buddha, Krishna, Jesus and the Pharoahs of Egypt have legacies that are thousands of years old. Those legacies are likely to last thousands of years more.

If you’re betting on longevity, don’t pick the latest rage. Pick the oldest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s