Lore has it, according to Thomas Friedman, that a Chinese emporor was so enthralled with the invention of the game of chess that he offered to fulfill any wish for the inventor.  The simple wish: place 1 grain of rice on the first square of the chessboard, then place 2 grains of rice on the second square, 4 grains on the third square, 8 grains on the fourth and continuing doubling the grains across the entire board.  The emporer granted the wish happily, only to discover that by the 64th square, he owed his kingdom in rice.

Thomas Friedman included this among many brilliant observations and points made in a talk that he gave to Stanford’s Precourt Institute in October, 2014.  His point here being that trends that seem small and insignificant at the outset, can have huge and uncontrolled impacts if they maintain their incremental growth over time.  He posits that we are on the second half of the chessboard in the way the markets work, the impacts we are having on Mother Nature and in the operation of Moore’s Law on technology.  The talk runs about 35 minutes, with additional time for questions, many of which are really good questions, leading to great additional reflections from Mr. Friedman on matters that impact the way markets will be running in the future. Click here to watch directly from Youtube.  Enjoy.