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Some Aphoristic Laws

These are some observations that for fun I have dressed up as "laws". They are a set of aphorisms that I have made up during my years of coding and data work.

  • I vouch that the text herein was written by me and not consciously derived from any other sources. I declare them as © 2021 and licensed under a CC0 license (which means I'm happy for them to be re-used without attribution).

The Law of Data

In data, everything happens.

When receiving data from sources outside your control, everything that is possible to occur in the data will probably occur at some time. As the amount of data received increases, the likelihood of any given strange thing showing up will tend towards certainty.

The point of this law is to remind those implementing systems and/or analyses of the data that it is important to prepare methods for handling such things, or at the least, implement some detection for when they do occur.

The Pattern Law

If you stare at random data for long enough, you will see patterns.

The Should Law

Using the word "should" in making an argument or observation is only an expression of hope and not something that actually supports a position.

The Diligence Law

Any system that relies on human diligence to remain functional will inevitably fail.

The Law of Inverse Appreciation

A solution into which you put a great deal of effort, skill and experience will receive only minor thanks; but a simple tip that you provide which solves a major headache for someone will garner impassioned gratitude and be praised as incredible work.

The Walnut Law

When all you have to eat is a walnut and all you have to open it is a sledgehammer, then you use a sledgehammer to crack a walnut.

The Grammar Law

If phrasing is unambiguous then it is good enough to use.

The Law of Life

Every minute spent thinking about money is a minute not lived.

Three Laws of Information Technology Management

  • Competent IT Management is invisible;
  • Often, IT Management decisions are indistinguishable from random decisions;
  • Inept IT management is indistinguishable from sabotage.

The background formulation for this law is the following thought experiment. Consider contriving all IT management decisions into binary choices. These might be to do A versus B; they might be to do C or not to do C. Then try to work out how things would have turned out if all those decisions had been settled by the toss of a coin. I would rank "good" IT management to be those that have had outcomes clearly better than would have come from random decisions. So this "Law" is the answer to the question of how to describe IT management where the outcomes seem to be worse than would have come from random choices.

Top comments (1)

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Patty Black

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