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Empirical Laws

Gall's Law

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.


Hanlon's Razor

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.


Gervais Principle

Sociopaths, in their own best interests, knowingly promote over-performing losers into middle-management, groom under-performing losers into sociopaths, and leave the average bare-minimum-effort losers to fend for themselves.

Note: "The Losers are not social losers (as in the opposite of “cool”), but people who have struck bad bargains economically – giving up capitalist striving for steady paychecks."


Metcalfe's Law

The effect of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system.


Moore's Law

The number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years.


Occam's Razor

Simpler solutions are more likely to be correct than complex ones.


Pareto's Principle

For many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.


Peter Principle

People in a hierarchy tend to rise to their "level of incompetence".


Spolsky's Observation

Smart companies try to commoditize their products' complements.

Note: In this context, there are 'substitutes' and 'compliments', where a substitute is a product you buy that replaces the core product and a compliment is a product you buy with the core product.


Ucaetano's Addendum to Spolsky's Observation

Create a desert of profitability around you.


Swanson's Law

The price of solar photovoltaic modules tends to drop 20 percent for every doubling of cumulative shipped volume.

Note: at present, costs halve at every 10 years.


Wagner's Law

The advent of modern industrial society will result in increasing political pressure for social progress and increased allowance for social consideration by industry.