Ignorantia Juris Non Excusat

I am a business analyst, by day. It’s a tricky title, since the job isn’t really the same from company to company, much less industry to industry. Essentially, I spend most of my time thinking about huge amounts of numbers, data elements, patterns, and scenarios. I then form some useful-yet-easy-to-understand generalization, formula, or simplification about said stuff and write a one-page summary document about it. This summary goes on top of another 100 to 150-page document that contains all of my expositions, tables, use cases, examples, proofs, diagrams, and recommendations. Nobody ever reads all of this, of course – except other business analysis. Generally, the more important you are, the less you even read of the one-pager. Middle management skims through most of it; a vice-president or marketing executive reads the first two paragraphs of the one-pager, tops; a CEO, I’m lucky if they get through the two-sentence “Executive Summary” that condenses down the one-pager.

Directly disproportional to the amount of the document you read is the amount Klout you will gain from blogging about my idea as if it were your own, and money you will make presenting my idea at a keynote speech at some conference in Maui or Bermuda – obviously using a PowerPowerpoint slide deck you made (complete with cool transition effects) based on an outline of key points you had me draw up separate from the document. Plagiarize my words, take credit for my ideas, make me write you a speech on short notice on a Friday afternoon, fine, but I categorically refuse to perpetuate the crime against intelligence that is Microsoft PowerPoint.

But, I digress. The point of this post is to introduce you my application of the Law of the Iron Triangle, first proposed, I believe, by John Storck – who may or may not have been affiliated with either the Illuminati or the Freemasons. Some of you may have heard this in the context of software development, as follows:

it_sd

This is otherwise known as the illustration of the aphorism “You Can’t Have Everything.” If you want it done correctly and quickly, it will cost you extra. If you want it done quickly and cheaply, quality will suffer. If you want it done correctly and cheaply, then you’re gonna have to wait in line. Now, in twenty years of this, I’ve only had one or two customers who didn’t try to argue this immutable axiom of the universe with me. Everyone thinks they have the shortcut (fellow geeks, stop me if you’ve heard these): “Oh, you’ve already written 80% of this, so it should be quick.” (*snicker*) “Well, if you do it cheap/free I will bring you all kinds of business from my contacts over the next year.” (*guffaw*) “I’ll do all the testing, that way it saves you time and we’re sure everything works right.” (*chortle*) And my personal favorite, “Well, let’s just do something very basic and simple with the budget I have, but write it so that I can adapt and change things when I come up with new ideas as we go along.” (*thud*) Trust me, folks, there is no workaround. This is truth. I’ve got 120 pages of analysis to prove it. In fact, I’ve now been able to adapt this to other aspects of existence that were probably not very rigidly defined before.

For example, let’s start with … women! Now, to some extent this applies to all women, but for the sake of alienating ones I’ve actually had substantial relationships with, let us apply it to that subset of women whom I met when I was stupid enough to think that there was anything to be gained from putting a profile on an Internet dating site, shall we?

it_id

I think that one needs no explanation. Next, let’s examine the world of music. Did you ever seem to notice how the popular music out there is complete crap, the music you love is never popular, and the more you love a certain band, the quicker they seem to break up? Yes, it’s the old Iron Triangle again.

it_ma

And finally, let’s look at our dreams. Yes, I know just about every one of you has aspirations to be doing something other than your chosen career. We’ve all got a hobby or interest that we secretly think, “Man, I could do this for a living. Then, life would never be boring, and I would always be happy, and people would think I was a cool guy.” Call me cynical, but I see our three-sided friend at work here, too.

it_hd

So, you can spend time and brainpower trying to find a loophole in this fundamental law of the universe … or reading my extensive research and proof that it doesn’t exist … but you will merely be wasting your life and hastening entropy. I’ve done the research. It’s game over. I think we’ll all be a lot happier when you just give in and admit that I know what I’m talking about here.

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