Weekend Reading: Universal Laws, Tandem, and Computers That Can See

August 3, 2019 • #

📚 Universal Laws of the World

A list of broad laws that apply to all fields. Thoughtful stuff as always from Morgan Housel:

6. Parkinson’s Law: Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

In 1955 historian Cyril Parkinson wrote in The Economist:

IT is a commonplace observation that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Thus, an elderly lady of leisure can spend the entire day in writing and despatching a postcard to her niece at Bognor Regis. An hour will be spent in finding the postcard, another in hunting for spectacles, half-an-hour in a search for the address, an hour and a quarter in composition, and twenty minutes in deciding whether or not to take an umbrella when going to the pillar-box in the next street. The total effort which would occupy a busy man for three minutes all told may in this fashion leave another person prostrate after a day of doubt, anxiety and toil.

His point was that resources can exceed needs without people noticing. The number of employees in an organization is not necessarily related to the amount of work that needs to be done in that organization. Workers will find something to do – or the appearance of doing something – regardless of what needs to be done.

💬 Tandem

This is a neat collaboration tool for distributed teams that just launched. It’s built on Slack and has integrations built for many of the common productivity tools that modern remote teams are familiar with. I’m keen to take a look at this for doing more real-time work with my remote co-workers.

👁 Computers That Can See

As computer vision continues its advance, machines are getting better and better at converting images and video into structured data. Computers have historically had sensor data feeds through text, binary data streams, and user inputs; eventually they’ll all have visual inputs, as well.