Friday, May 18, 2007

Seeking Simplicity

Large projects are very different from small projects. Large team dynamics work on fundamentally different rules than small team dynamics. This isn't something that would be readily apparent or appreciated in its fullness unless and until you have slogged through them both.

My recent endeavors allow me great insight into the working mindset of a variety of people around me. It is a great joy for me, that even after all this time, I still am able to find refinements in my own thinking just from watching the mental meanderings of others. It is a great sadness that reverse is so infrequently true. Alas my communication skills are just inept. Hence the blog.

As I compare and contrast the endpoints we each inevitably reach as we drag our thoughts to their logical conclusion, I am reminded of the how and why I metaphorically strive to drink the Juice of Sapho during each and every conversation. If the thoughts do not acquire speed, the sheer number of available pathways looms large and grows faster causing us invariably to become overwhelmed. It is only when thoughts acquire speed that we can indeed make progress. Much like any orbital mechanics problem, if you want to go faster, you have to slow down.

I've written often of the need for simplicity and generalization as a means to efficiency. Efficiency is often used interchangeably with speed as speed is often a side-effect or result of efficiency. When I speak of generalization (which leads to simplicity, which leads to efficiency) you will often find it described in terms of elegance. And I am not the only one who strives as such:
When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
-- Richard Buckminster Fuller
While we often search for aids that allow us to go faster, such as the Juice of Sapho, we often forget that the most direct way to increase our speed, is simply to go slower.

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