A growing collection of useful observations by @georgebaily
- 1. Everything can be beta tested. Everything that needs to be beta tested should be alpha tested.
- 2. Unintended consequences are guaranteed
- 3. Disruptive strategies derive from a different understanding of the world.
- 4. if you cargo cult hard enough you always reach the real thing
...and partial and halfhearted change management fails
- 5. Manually numbered laws have less logic and consistency to the numbering scheme than if done automatically
- 6. Engineer for apathy.
- 7. No need for a smarter opponent when incompetence can be patiently exploited
- 8. Always say no if offered a "smart" "upgrade"
- 9a. Don't propose plans which are simple but insane.
9b. Anything you call insane is interpreted as the messenger being insane
- 10. Irrational people never use the words "rational" or "irrational"
- 11. Change your org chart so it's what you want to ship.
"Proactive Conway's Law"
- 12. You cannot caption a picture of military hardware as just "tank"
- 13. Office people should have to pass a minimum "meeting antipatterns" recognition test...
A measurable percentage of human effort is wasted each day in "vaguely group-wondering about the reasons for a statistical fluctuation on a graph"
- 14. Every micromanager is convinced they are a person of action.
- 14b. The more maximally nitpicking a person is, the more sanctimonious they are about speed of execution.
- 14c. Micromanagers are optimising for power not for quality.
- 15. Every city has a specific cost threshold below which it is possible to eat very well but diarrhea is guaranteed.
- 16. For any weird Venn diagram of interests, not only is there a vibrant subculture, but there are at least two levels of Shanzhai manufacturing and ecommerce for it in Aliexpress
- 17. While in my car, you may not refer to the mess in my car, crappiness of vehicle, or my music choice; you may not discuss this with others, with reference to me or my vehicle.
- 18. The most important feature of voice recognition or support chatbots is to route the request "I want to speak to a human"
- 19. If you are in a situation where you do not have enough time and resources, with corresponding pressure and risk, the same people which created that situation will act to waste what small time and resources you do have.
- 20. When there aren't enough resources to manage, managers manage more.
- 21. At a certain level of resource insufficiency, any usable resource is occupied trying to deal with someone else's lack of resources.
- 22. There is no correct way to feel about tech news headlines concerning memory capacity
- 23. The Clueless clump together.
- 23b. Stupid people are very tolerant of things not making sense.
- 23c. Standards of competence tend to be consistently expressed across an organisation.
This can be used as a heuristic like a "broken window" effect.
- 24. It is surprisingly easy to gain a competitive edge in business if you are allowed to address basic operating constraints
- 25. Most things that could be in competition are not.
- 26. Learning, advantage, consistency do not even out like thermodynamics. Consistency-building takes constant effort and stops when you stop.
- 27. Every discussion of SEO with a business is a discussion of the fundamental concepts of marketing, which in turn is invariably an existential challenge to the clarity and viability of their business model
- 29. Any time you have a framework of 'n' stages/dimensions for success, there is an '(n+1)th' aspect which is the ability to understand and apply the framework.
- 30. The greater the urgency that you spend an advertising budget, the lower your ability to actually do so, and vice versa.
- 31. The first two orders of root causes for an antipattern preclude awareness of it and then addressing it
- 33. Anybody announcing they are "humbled", is not and probably never will be
- 34. Nobody may joke about weaponised robots
- 35. Every successful B2C technology company has an active but fictional narrative that it is simultaneously building B2B infrastructure to sell to the incumbents they are disrupting. Every B2B tech company similarly gets distracted by a wholly fictional B2C play.
- 36. Every successful business has an active but fictional narrative that it is currently building towards growth in the Mainland China market. Every Mainland China business similarly gets distracted by a wholly fictional "global" play.
- 37. CSS attempted-fixing accounts for the 80 in the web publishing 80/20
- 38. In B2B PR: for anything described as "game changing" you have no idea what game they are referring to, even if you slog through the press release
- 40. Any time you find yourself asking "if not this, then what?", it's rhetorical because the reason you suggested "this" is because people are not doing "this" but cannot / will not describe "what" they are doing, or frame a discussion - at all - about what to do.
- 41. When someone you're working with has to input their password, the only correct etiquette is exaggeratedly to walk away a few steps and look into the distance
- 42. If you require your users to educate themselves, you have failed.
- 43. 100% of table football sales are for cargo culting office redesigns for small businesses
- 44. Don't talk to people through a car window
- 45. Workplace culture clashes boil down to whether you consider yourself to be building something real or just improvising an illusion
- 48. Guidance on survey design or statistical bias is bland and useless... until you reverse it and employ dark arts of PR goal-seeking
- 49. There is no such thing as obvious context
- 50. Greater than 1% of all Amazon commerce is people ordering household items they have lost around the home
- 51. You cannot be a manager if you want to define what "management" is.
- 52. UI rule: anything with a number (1) or alert (!) icon must be dismissable
- 53. The biggest strategy issue is not a bad strategy but a lack of any strategy.
- 55. Non-technical people will always be keen on explainability... as a high-level concept.
- 56. Everything that can be inappropriately financialised, must be.
- 57. Closing a tab or application causes you to need it in the next couple of minutes
- 60. If someone says " blended" and it is not about healthy drinks, it is about bullshit
- 60b. The word "hybrid" means someone is trying to cheat you.
- 61. Good documentation is made by its medium, facilitating sharing and collaboration, more than the content itself.
- 62. In what is also known as the first law of Millenniodynamics, you can give USB cables to younger colleagues but the process cannot work the other way
The first law of Millenniodynamics, however, is a logical paradox because they maintain that either no cable has been given, or that it has been returned, even though you are net minus one cable, meaning there is no overall conservation of cable count.
- 63. It follows, in the third law of Millenniodynamics that your store of USB cables will trend to zero over time.
- 64. Venture Assholism moves fast into new technologies
- 65. Pricing per GB / CPU power only increases linearly (or just stays fixed due to SaaS profit incentive), so that the gap between expected performance and actual service gets wider (worse) exponentially
- 66. Whatever chauvinistic victory you learned about in your 1066-and-all-that history books, there is an equal and opposite shameful defeat that we just don't acknowledge at all
- 67. If someone uses the word "disavow", it's a trap
- 68. Everyone wants barbecue food until the food from the barbecue is available.
Via Ben Harder “Everyone wants a vaccine. Until it’s available.”
- 75. Whether businesses can be good at UX, other than by accident, depends on what it can do about the following: CX is nobody's job specifically. People able to see this context naturally are either too junior or too senior to act on it, the latter because CX is all detail, and needs empathy.
- 76. As soon as something is promoted as "2.0" you will find people talking about 3.0 through 6.0 before the hype dies out
- 77. You can't study verticals or supply chains without seeing obvious disintermediation ideas. Everyone working on disintermediation is actually reinventing intermediation layers.
- 78. Incumbent sales have peaked at least 10 years before people commonly and openly referred to them as incumbents.
- 79. Moore's Law does not generate viable compute surplus
- 80. No organisation should be permitted to go over 100 employees
- 81. If you (as an individual or organisation) are completely overwhelmed with impossible workload, the one guaranteed thing is that some new even more important and urgent workload is about to appear.
- 81b. If you are completely overwhelmed by cognitive dissonance, the one completely guaranteed thing is that a new depth of insanity is about to be unlocked.
- 82. Don't start conversations about "unpaid overtime" unless you are prepared to bomb things
- 83. The moment software sales permits even the merest millimetre of "you can change that" or "it's interesting you would like to add that", it ceases to be sales and has become solution consultancy for software development services.
- 91. IT support ticketing processes only apply to employees who joined the organisation after the process was announced
- 92. The more frequently you need to use a software feature, the greater the chance it has an "are you sure" dialog that gets in the way.
The chances of a warning dialog exponentially decrease the more damage a button or command could cause.
- 93. It is no problem for me to pick up the phone without us having an appointment: you just need to send a valid "knocking" message in advance
- 94. "Easy open" and "easy reseal" are not.
- 98. RSS people are decent people
- 99. All email containing the phrases "loop back", "touch base", "reach out", or "catch up" can be filtered directly to trash.
- 100. Websites and apps double in bloat every 18 months
- 110a. If anyone tells you "it's a journey", run.
- 110b. If anyone tells you their business is "like a family", run.
- 110c. If anyone pitches their business by invoking Uber, Amazon, or Apple, run.
- 120. Anything written about remote working is bollocks.
- 121. Everything written about interest rates is pure bollocks
Including yield curves, bonds, quantitative easing, inflation, and Japanification
- 122. Everything written about Osama Bin Laden is bollocks
- 123. All time spent reading wine tasting notes is wasted.
- 123b. Ditto all time spent reading chocolate, cheese, and coffee tasting notes.
- 130. All email and work productivity solutions boil down to broadly denying or blocking distractions and time sinks which are (a) the reason you needed a solution; but (b) cannot be 100% blocked because of the nature of work
- 131. A job ad tells you about not the job but the organisation's operational maturity level multiplied by culturally how much effort they make on talent
- 140. However spicy you think you can handle Chinese food, you haven't tried anything yet.
- 171. The more stupid you make your "memorable answer" the more likely you will need to say it out loud to a human customer support representative
Work in progress...
Other important laws
"Never ask a question to which you don't want to know the answer"