Seeing without Eyes open
You probably haven’t heard the name ‘Stanislav Petrov’ and maybe you will find it hard to believe that he saved the world from a nuclear war. He was a Soviet army officer, stationed as duty officer at Serpukhov-15 (the secret bunker outside Moscow) monitoring the nuclear early-warning satellite system. His job was to report any threat to the higher command so that a retaliatory action can be taken in time.
On September 26, 1983, the system detected five incoming missiles from the United States. The sirens howled and the big screen in front of him lit up with the word ‘Launch’ flashing on it. The instructions were clear: he had to pick up the phone and report the attack to the military and political leadership. They would, no doubt, respond with their own missile launch.
Every minute of delay took away valuable response time. But Petrov froze. “I had a funny feeling in my gut”, he recalled in an interview later. Something told him this was a false alarm. He rechecked the details; the system was clear about the incoming missiles. But Petrov wondered, ‘Why would US launch an attack now? ‘why would they launch only 5 missiles?’ It didn’t make sense as five would hardly damage Soviet capabilities and they would surely retaliate with a much severe attack on the US. Petrov called the command and reported a system malfunction. He was right!
On investigation, it was revealed that the system mistook a reflection of a certain cloud formation as a missile attack. If Petrov had not trusted his intuition, the world would have been very different today.
In investment, this boils down to phenomena Expert Intuition.
Investment decisions are not only about playing with numbers, juggling past data and coming to a random advice. Experience in the game plays very important role to gauge how really an event would make its ripple effect. Stanislav Petrov could have easily pressed launch button by relying on his system. No one could have blamed him. However, he thought something otherwise and made an alternate decision with his Expert Intuition which has saved the world.
Combination of process and intuition can really deliver the best desired results in Investment process journey. Experience in the game counts!!!…
Nishit Siddharth Shah