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The Two Things Question

The Two Things

“You know, the Two Things. For every subject, there are really only two things you really need to know. Everything else is the application of those two things, or just not important.”

“Oh,” I said. “Okay, here are the Two Things about economics. One: Incentives matter. Two: There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

Ever since that evening, I’ve been playing the Two Things game. Whenever I meet someone who belongs to a different profession (i.e., a profession I haven’t played this game with), or who knows something about a subject I'm unfamiliar with, I pose the Two Things question.

So what are The Two Things for what you do?

For Farming I would say:

1 Farm as though you will farm forever, live as though you will die tomorrow.
2 The best manure is the Farmer's boot - (also known as management by walking about)

For a landowner I would say:

1 Be mature enough when young to plant a tree.
2 Be immature enough when old to climb it.

I look forward to hearing yours.


Learn to say "no".
Learn to say "yes".


(i) Everything is grey.
(ii) True numbers lighten the shade.

Best regards

"1 Be mature enough when young to plant a tree.
2 Be immature enough when old to climb it."

I like that.

Software development:
1. All software can be further optimised to remove at least one more line of code.

2. All software has at least one more bug in it.

By induction, it can be seen that this proves that all software can be reduced to a single line of code that doesn't work.

General mechanics:

1. If you mess with a thing long enough, it will break.

2. If you push something hard enough, it will fall over.
Corollary to #2: You can't fall off the floor.

Web design:

1. Not everyone has 20/20 vision
2. Not every visitor is using _your_ browser

The Military:
1. Train hard, fight easy.
2. Shit happens.

Theatre production

1. Never spend money until you have it, and always over budget by 25% minimum.

2. The idea is to get bums on seats, not to keep the director happy.


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