Coincidental Bot Story


The title for this post is kind of bad I guess. This is just a pretty weird thing that happened to me earlier this year, an odd coincidence.

I don’t want to get into specific details, because I don’t want to specifically identify the person involved, but the city it happened in isn’t really the point anyway.

Earlier this year, I went to the US. During one of the days that I was away, I went to a coworking space in a smaller city because I had some work to finish on a consulting job I was doing. It was a pretty typical space, with different table configurations, and I sat at an empty space where I was facing towards another guy. The tables were quite deep, so he was still probably 20 feet away.

While I was there, he and the other 2 people at the other connected tables came and went a few times. For an hour or so though, this guy was on the phone with someone, and because the coworking space was quiet, I couldn’t help but overhear him, it was impossible not to. He seemed to be coaching someone through doing some kind of Ruby on Rails programming, nothing too interesting.

At the end of the call though, after the programming was done, he was chatting a bit to the other person, and saying “Oh well, I’m working on a fintech bot, I can’t go into it much but that field is really hot now..” and some other vague stuff.

I kind of assumed it was some kind of Bitcoin product, and I was very curious about it, since I’m always paying attention to bot stuff, as well as Bitcoin to some degree. I had work to do though, and I don’t think he was at the same desk for much more time, so I never got around to asking him about what he was working on.

On the way home, I remember thinking several times something like “Oh, too bad I’ll never find out what that guy was working on”, because it just seems like the odds were against it. Through random meetups or other tech events, I’ve talked to probably 100 people in Toronto who have some kind of startup idea that they’re working on, and I never, ever hear of them later, and those are in my own city.

A week later though, the guy must have finished his product enough to spam-follow me on Twitter, because I’m mutual followers with a couple of people from XOXCO, who are big in the bot world (I respect them, and myself, too much to call them thought leaders). I saw a notification that some account named after an app had followed me, clicked it out of curiosity, and I was like whooaa, this is a fintech bot from the city I was in. It was not a huge city NYC or San Francisco where you might say “Oh there are probably tons of people doing fintech bots here” either. So I DM-ed the account like “heeey do you work at ___ coworking space?”, etc. and it was them.

So listen, this isn’t really the craziest story, but it still feels weird to me just HOW damn small the world is. Like literally I just sat randomly across from some guy, overheard a bit of his conversation, then later on I thought “I wish I had more details about that, but oh well, I’ll never know” and then one week later, when I was probably 2000km away, boom, the universe just decided to fill me in with that info.

This reminds of something I’ve thought about a decent amount actually: You know how atheists think that religious people are very dumb, and illogical? Well if you just do the stats based on how many people there are in the world, and how many things happen, there must be a decent amount of people who have tons of coincidences like this happen to them, maybe in close proximity.

There almost has to be someone who has said “Wow I wish I knew what that was about” after seeing some guy yelling at an airport, then a week later, the same guy walks into the same barbershop and starts telling the barber about it. And then a couple of days later, this guy has another crazy coincidence, and then again, and again, maybe 10 times, until he’s just like “Okay, there is no randomness in the universe, hell no”.

I may be rambling or confusing here, but you know what I mean right, like statistically, there have to be tons of people who run into dozens of extremely weird coincidences all the time. And I am pretty sure that at some point, a person would have to be illogical to actually believe the universe is random. I’m not going to do any math or invoke Bayes theorem, but there has to be some point where enough 1-in-a-million things have happened to a specific person, where they’d actually be irrational to say “The universe is random and there is no master plan” versus “All the people who say the universe is random are lying/wrong/conspiring”. You know?

I feel like I went off on too much of a tangent there and the first half of this post is straightforward, and the second half is too rambling. I appreciate you reading the whole thing, but if you feel that way, I guess my only explanation is: Tough shit, I’m not editing this.

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