The Nerd’s Guide to Fixing Broken Systems: My Interview with Noah Healy

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As a fintech and marketing expert, I’m always on the lookout for innovative thinkers who can shed light on how to approach problem-solving and develop groundbreaking ideas. Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Noah Healy, a market designer and game theorist, to explore what it takes to be truly innovative.

Key Learnings:

  • Innovation stems from identifying what’s fundamentally broken and finding ways to fix it
  • Questioning assumptions and looking at problems with fresh eyes can lead to breakthrough solutions
  • Leveraging technical abilities to solve real-world problems is crucial

Noah’s journey spans nuclear engineering, tech startups, and patent work on commodity market designs. This diverse experience has shaped his approach to innovation. “I think the key to innovation is looking at what’s in front of your face,” he explained. “If you want to innovate, look at whatever it is you want to innovate around and study until you realize what’s fundamentally broken with it and then try to figure out how to fix that thing.”

In Noah’s case, the broken system was the current commodity and financial market in the age of high-speed algorithmic trading. He identified several flaws, including:

  • Erosion of stabilizing feedback mechanisms
  • Supercharged hedge funds manipulating markets without facing consequences

To address these issues, Noah proposed a radically reimagined market system based on an information-based “price discovery mechanism.” In this system:

  • Speculators negotiate group deals on behalf of everyone
  • Participants can opt in or out of these deals
  • Price predictions are refined through aggregated inputs over time
  • Computers and AI serve to surface accurate predictions rather than game the system

Throughout our conversation, I was struck by Noah’s curiosity-driven approach, willingness to question assumptions and focus on using his technical skills to solve real problems. These qualities, I believe, are the true secrets to innovation – an open, probing mind constantly seeking out broken things to fix, even if it means remaining a bit of a nerd in the process.

As I reflect on my interview with Noah, I’m inspired by his unique perspective and motivated to apply his insights to my work in the fintech and marketing space. I hope that by sharing his story, others will be encouraged to embrace their inner nerd and tackle the broken systems in their fields.

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