Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Two Things

From The Two Things

The Story of the Two Things

A few years ago, I was chatting with a stranger in a bar. When I told him I was an economist, he said, “Ah. So… what are the Two Things about economics?”

“Huh?” I cleverly replied.

“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. I also posed the Two Things question on my blog, where it elicited many responses in the comments section and on otherblogs. This page is a collection of responses to the "Two Things" question, collected from various pages on the web, with credit given when possible.

The Two Things about the Two Things

1. People love to play the Two Things game, but they rarely agree about what the Two Things are.
2. That goes double for anyone who works with computers.

These caught my eye

The Two Things about Engineering:
1) It's all about tradeoffs.
2) The tradeoffs are all about money, time, and quality.

The Two Things about Project Management:
1. The schedule will slip.
2. It's about how you manage the schedule slippage.

What are your two things?

Cross posted to Liftport.
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