There is an old saying in business,
No deal is done until it is done.
This aphorism reflects the observation that any economic transaction is at its highest risk of failure at the time it ought to conclude. The moment of “closing” is the point at which all relevant information—good or bad—ought be known to all participants. Of course the information most likely to sink a deal will most likely come to the fore at precisely the last minute, or as close to the last minute as possible.
In my quest to develop a unifying description of the transaction metaphor, I find this phenomenon both fascinating and useful. This is similar to the idea in project cost estimation where the only time the true cost of a project can be known is when the project has been completed. In other words, in the immortal words of Marcus M. Rommer,
It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future.
Among her other failings, the inability (or unwillingness) to internalize this notion of transaction risk is what made one of my old business partners particularly dangerous.