Rinaldo's Laws

Paul Rinaldo, W4RI, published Rinaldo's Laws way back in the April 1983 issue of the AMRAD Newsletter. Having definitely withstood the test of time, I felt they should be made available on the web. So here they are:

First Law. Choreography is its own reward.

Some things are done only for the sake of form. Don't fight it by looking for substance in everything. Do it long enough and you'll find enjoyment in an elephant dance.

Second Law. He who does the work shapes it.

As applied to computers, he who writes the code rules (the Codin' Rule).

In meetings, he who writes the minutes determines the outcome.

Third Law. The less the knowledge, the more jealously it is preserved.

Societies with only a few precious facts make their people memorize them and pledge to faithfully abide by them.

In contrast, highly developed disciplines quit worrying about losing knowledge (unless that computer crashes and there is no backup.)

Fourth Law. Excellence increases demands.

Critics gather to spot tinier flaws as work nears perfection.

Promptness invites impatience. In correspondence, the faster you answer a letter, the faster your correspondent will answer giving you something with a shorter deadline. This reaches a fever pitch with electronic mail.

Fifth Law. Skills diminish professionalism.

Engineers who admit to drafting skills are vulnerable to assignment of drafting work, just to help out.

Similarly, female professionals should hide any clerical skills lest they be asked to pinch hit for one of the secretaries in the event of illness.

Sixth Law. What separates the competent from the incompetent is the ability to cover up mistakes.

Many successful sales demonstrations have been made with defective products in the hands of competent persons who avoid demonstrating the features which don't work. Beautiful Xerox copies can be made from originals riddled with correction fluid. Recovery from some grievous errors can be attained by simply announcing, "No problem. We'll just put it back in the word processor!" The computer software profession seems to be the exception; who else is so blatant as to have a term such as "debugging" to let the world know that they need extra time funded by the customer to correct their own errors.

Seventh Law. Silence is not acquiescence.

Contrary to what you may have heard, silence of those present is not necessarily consent, even the reluctant variety. They simply may sit in stunned silence and figure ways of sabotaging the plan after they regain their composure.

Eighth Law. Quick-reaction and slow-reaction facilities rotate.

Once people discover that there is a quick-reaction facility (QRF), they will try to get all their work done there, bogging it down in work and leaving the slow-reaction facility (SRF) nothing to do, thus becoming the faster of the two.

Ninth Law. Complexity attracts brilliance.

The KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principle is no fun and certainly not a professional approach. If you want brilliant people to work for you make it complex and demanding.

The true professional will spend 20 hours at the computer writing a one-time-use program that will replace 10 hours of clerical work. Anyway, 20 hours at professional rates pays more than 10 hours at clerical rates. Also, it's more intellectually rewarding. The greatest achievement is to use one's finest professional talents to accomplish something that didn't need to be done.

Tenth Law. Bad guys are replaced.

Did you ever rejoice over the departure of someone you couldn't get along with only to find that a replica has shown up?

When you are trying to make a U-turn and you have someone tailgating you, have you pulled off on a sidestreet, then into an alley only to find that two other cars are right behind you?