Relative Risk

My brother, Dennis, is a few years retired from his position of Chief Financial Officer for Cisco Systems. He sits on several boards, one of which is Intuit. That board was considering their response to pending litigation. A legal analyst demonstrated a bell-shaped curve showing the costs of potential outcomes. The presenter pointed to the apex of that curve as reflecting the company’s exposure.


Dennis interjected by pointing to the far right of that point of reference. “The question we need to answer is not the most common outcome, but what we are willing to risk.”


If the question is relevant on a corporate level, it is more so on a personal level. I recently wrote a blog titled “Anecdotal Evidence”. I spoke of the uncommon serious adverse outcomes associated with Covid vaccine. I observed that the relative risk and benefit ratio is not the same across all ages or levels of health. I could have added individuals with demonstrated natural immunity.


Because people are not statistics. They either experience an adverse effect or they don’t. For a population, it is a bell-shaped curve. For an individual, it is 100%. It’s personal.


It is why I have advocated for personal choice. We have different thresholds of what we are willing to risk. I shouldn’t speak for you. This is especially so when, as with one endowed with natural immunity, there is little to gain.


Tim Powell MD

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Anecdotal Evidence

“That’s anecdotal evidence.” It’s a dismissive phrase. Whatever you just said is unreliable. Not to be trusted or taken seriously. Anecdotes are stories. Stories with a point. Whether these stories ca