Maxwell's Laws

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This is an Ignite talk I did for the very first Ignite Seattle back in 2006. The video of this talk is here:

Transcript of Maxwell's Laws

  • 19 Pings Ideas that are on my radar. 1These are things Ive been thinking about. 19 disconnected, partial thoughts. Conversation starters, really. Id love it if any of these ideas sparksome further discussion over beers.
  • Every expression contains at least one percent truth. 2The value of understanding that whatever anyone says to you contains at least one percent truth is that you learn to really listen to people.Whenever you think someone is full of shit, theyre really only 99% full of shit.
  • The world is not binary. 3Be careful of your certitude. Be careful of anyones certitude. Nothing is only on or off, true or false. There is always at least a third way to thinkabout something. There are often thousands of other perspectives.
  • Dont fall in love with potential. 4Theres a lot of energy in this rock, just waiting to be released. It could happen while we watch, or it could sit there for a thousand years. Thequestion is: how much of your life are you willing to spend waiting for it?
  • Nobody who contacts you out of the blue will offer you a deal that benets you more than it benets them. 5Nobody who contacts you out of the blue will offer you a deal that benets you more than it benets them. No spammer, no door-to-doorsalesman, no telephone solicitor. That doesnt mean you may not get some value out of the deal, but you will be at the disadvantage.
  • Normal incompetence can look like conspiracy 6Were often drawn to the idea of conspiracy because its so hard to believe that tragedy is simply a part of life. Sadly, what looks like a conspiracycan as easily be explained as the emergent properties of normal human incompetence.
  • Trend lines never extend indenitely. 7This is Maxwells Law of Countervailing Forces. No matter how tempting it may be to bet your fortune on a rising (or falling) trend line, at somepoint that trend is going to reverse. The pendulum always swings the other way.
  • Maxwells Law of Personal Finance Expenses always rise to meet income 8I wish someone had told me this when I was younger. The windfall of savings you think you might get when you move into a job that pays more willnearly always disappear in a cloud of new and seemingly vital expenses.
  • Woody Allen is my hero 9Woody Allen has made 37 movies since 1970s Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You. Thats a movie a year. And whether he makes a tour de force likeMatch Point or a crime against celluloid like Celebrity, he makes another movie the next year. He keeps working on his craft.
  • Humor is like the rattlesnakes rattle. 10Humor can be like the rattlesnakes rattle. Humor is truth, and someone who can really tell the truth to you is not someone you want to fuck with;rather, you want them to be on your side. At the least, you want them to slither on by and not bite you.
  • 3 things we need for Web 3.0 Identity Inventory Permanent Personal Data Vault 11Ive heard lots of talk about identity, but these other ideas need more discussion. Tracking your personal data is needs to be automated. Andbeing able to apply multiple services to a central storehouse of personal data would be a boon for web-based businesses.
  • What do I want? 12Make sure you can answer this question. Ask it often and answer it honestly. Seems simple enough, but in our early lives what we want is oftendetermined by others. When you can truly know what you want for yourself, you will nd that getting it is a hell of a lot easier.
  • Other people experience the world differently than you do. 13Other people experience the world differently than you do. We each have our own lters, and they are somewhat predetermined by our geneticmakeup and then further shaped by our life experience. Really understanding this is hard.
  • Conservation of Energy of Large Institutions 14Any large group that shares similar skills, mindset, and a cohesive bond cannot be blinked out of existence. Such groups can be disbanded, butthe individuals will retain their skills and seek to apply them in new ways. Therefore, creating new, large institutions (e.g. homeland security) mustbe done with extraordinary consideration, because these institutions will take a long time to die.
  • Institutions are also subject to the laws of physics. 15Similarly, institutions, social or political movements, and militaries have mass and weight and are subject to laws that are analogous to the laws ofphysics: they have momentum, inertia, gravity, etc.
  • (Scott) Maxwells Rule of Thumb for Estimating How Long a Project Will Take State how long you think a project will take, double it, and increment the time unit to the next higher one. Two hours four days Three days six weeks. 16
  • Genius is no guarantee of success. Stupidity is no guarantee of failure. 17The difference between success and failure in almost every case is how much hard work and sacrice youre prepared to put in to achieve yourgoals. You will not be successful by being clever. Theres no clever way to win a marathon. You simply have to be willing to endure more.
  • Prohibition never works 18Human behavioral impulses cannot be legislated away or otherwise controlled by external forces.The only way to modify behavior is by identifying a better reward system than the one thats inplace. c.f. DRM
  • Maxwells Law of Corporate Character