I thought I would do a post that would collect the aphorisms I live by. What is an aphorism? An Aphorism is a statement of truth or opinion expressed in a concise and witty manner.
- Never ascribe to malice what you can to stupidity. Loads of things happen in life that can upset us. Sometimes they are intentional faults, sometimes just stupid or unintentional slights. I tend not to let things upset me unless there is a pervasive malice behind the acts.
- 90% of everything is presentation. I’m of the firm belief that many of the problems we run into are created not by what we are saying, but how we are saying it. We often don’t take the time to craft our words correctly, to think about the implications or the way they may hurt or be misinterpreted. Present something right the first time, and you’ll do better. A corollary is that we must sometimes look past the presentation for the underlying meaning.
- The best apology is fixing the problem so it doesn’t happen again. We’ve all been the recipients of stupids. We’ve gotten apologies, many of them meaningless. At least for me, the best apology is one that is accompanied by a correction, so that the apology doesn’t need to ever be given again. So (as an example), Office of Personnel Management — I get that you’re sorry that my information got to Chinese hackers, and thank you for the monitoring service. But what are you doing so it doesn’t happen again?
- Everyone is an expert at remembering something. I’m horrible with names and faces. Unless I meet you and see you somewhat regularly, I’ll probably take a while to recall your name. But spatial layouts? I’ve got maps in my head going back 50 years. I can remember how rooms were laid out when I was a kid, and what was where. Everyone has their skill.
- If you get a web service for free, you’re not the customer, you’re the product. Have you ever wondered how “free” websites make their money? The answer typically is: by selling you. For sites like Facebook and Google, what they sell is two-fold: they sell your eyeballs for advertising, and they sell your demographics to make that advertising smarter. Other sites, like Expedia and Kayak, sell your custom — they are paid commissions by the airlines and the hotels and the rental car companies for steering your business to them. When using a free website, you must decide if the “cost” is worth it to you.
Note: I may come back and edit this post as I realize additional aphorisms. Please feel free to comment with your own aphorisms to live by.