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Monday, June 13, 2011

Occam's Razor and Business Communications | A NOTE FROM THE FOUNDER

Occam's Razor and Business Communications

by Adam J. Kovitz

One of the concepts I learned back in engineering school was that of "Occam's Razor", named after Franciscan friar William of Ockham and his idea that one must apply a figurative knife (or "razor") when distinguishing two individual theories by removing extraneous assumptions.  Many of us have come to adapt this concept into one much more easy to understand:  K.I.S.S. - keep it simple, stupid.

This certainly applies to your business communications, as it is desirable to be as parsimonious as possible in detailing your business concepts, models and strategies - less is more...

...or is it?

Occam's Razor, while used by many members of the scientific, business, academic and legal communities (amongst others) is not meant to be a hard and steadfast law, but rather a "rule of thumb".

Case in point...Herman Cain...2012 Republican Presidential Hopeful and CEO of Godfather's Pizza recently pronounced that, as president, he would veto any bill longer than three pages.

"Don’t try to pass a 2,700-page bill," Cain said to a responsive audience in Pella, Iowa, on Monday.  
"You and I didn’t have time to read it. We’re too busy trying to live — send our kids to school. That’s why I am only going to allow small bills — three pages. You’ll have time to read that one over the dinner table," Cain said.

Of course, if this were the true law of the land, as Marie Diamond of Think Progress, in her coverage of Mr. Cain's statement, went on to state:
Cain wouldn't have signed such landmark pieces of legislation as the Civil Rights Act, the Social Security Act, or the PATRIOT Act. In fact, he wouldn’t have even been able to sign the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, which ran 114 and 18 pages, respectively.
(Please note that I am not advocating any political standpoint one way or another, but just using it to make my own point).

So, while it is one thing to remove extraneous assumptions and/or verbose language from one's communications to prospective investors, contributors, vendors, partners, etc., we must also be careful as to omit any important points and lose face with those we wish to build profitable relationships.  There is such a thing as keeping things too simple.

I recommend that to avoid the "close shaves" of doing business, that you have your business partners, spouse, confidants or others in your support network carefully review your important communiques before sending them onward.  It always helps to have an extra set of eyes to help you navigate the fine line of Occam's Razor.   If the razor and K.I.S.S. concepts are implemented judiciously, we can certainly minimize getting "cut" ourselves.

All my best,


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The Emergence of The Relationship Economy

The Emergence of The Relationship Economy
The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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