Are there certain quotes, passages, pictures, ideas that have stuck with you over time? Perhaps they’ve informed, influenced or validated your work? Either immediately, or after lingering in your background processing? I certainly do.
The immediate impact ones you might expect for someone with a development and architecture background:
“There is no single development, in either technology or management technique, which by itself promises even one order-of-magnitude improvement within a decade in productivity, in reliability, in simplicity.” –Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., No Silver Bullet
“The people can shape buildings for themselves, and have done it for centuries, by using languages which I call pattern languages. A pattern language gives each person who uses it the power to create an infinite variety of new and unique building, just as his ordinary language gives him the power to create an infinite variety of sentences.” –Christopher Alexander, The Timeless Way of Building
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius–and a lot of courage–to move in the opposite direction.” —E.F. Schumacher
The I’m more right than left-brained one:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge”. —Albert Einstein
And many background lingerers. Lately, the two pushing to the forefront as I work on my ‘active information tier’ concept are:
“Now when we speak of an information-rich world, we may expect, analogically, that the wealth of information means a dearth of something else — a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.” —Herbert Simon, Designing Organizations for an Information-Rich World (pdf)
“If killer apps will indeed emerge in nonobvious ways, the process can only be enhanced if applications are deployed in a context that provides more information than is actually needed for the application. This will create opportunities to discover more important uses for the app than were originally intended…
It may soon no longer be possible for even gifted visionaries to imagine the next killer app. Extrapolation of the present will follow lines less straight and more recombinant than can be deciphered. In that case, we will need processes and technologies that will allow us to intelligently stumble upon the future.” — Robert D. Austin and Richard L. Nolan, MIT Sloan Review, Summer 2005
And yes, some of these ideas are in conflict. That, depending on your point of view, is either the frustrating or the interesting part.
Anyway, how about you? What are your sticky quotes? Leave a comment, post with a trackback, and/or tweet yours.