Favourite Quotes

I’ve added anchor links to these quotes so you can link to them from elsewhere, if you like.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
— Arthur C. Clarke

A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
— John Augustus Shedd

Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.
— H. L. Mencken

Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.
— George E. P. Box

The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is past the ocean is flat again.
— John Maynard Keynes

There is no harm in being sometimes wrong — especially if one is promptly found out.
— John Maynard Keynes

When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?
— John Maynard Keynes

Dans les champs de l’observation le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés.
In the fields of observation, chance favours only the prepared mind.

— Lois Pasteur

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”
— Peter Drucker

On two occasions I have been asked,—”Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?” In one case a member of the Upper, and in the other a member of the Lower, House put this question. I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
— Charles Babbage

Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all.
— Charles Babbage

Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.
— Richard Feynman

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.
— Richard Feynman

[The] truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it, malice may distort it, but there it is.
— Winston Churchill

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
— Aldous Huxley

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.
— Aldous Huxley

No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.
— François de La Rochefoucauld

The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.
— Ernest Hemingway

Love truth, but pardon error.
— Voltaire

Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.
— Ben Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack

Patience is also a form of action.
— Auguste Rodin

You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.
— Harlan Ellison

Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
— John F. Kennedy

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a thumb.
— Anon

Never teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.
— Anon

Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.
— Niels Bohr

Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.
— J. Robert Oppenheimer, after the Bhagavad Gita

We are as gods and might as well get good at it.
— Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalog

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
— Robert J. Hanlon (Hanlon’s razor)

Scale up by giving fewer fucks.
— Laurie Voss Solving Imaginary Scaling Issues, At Scale

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.
— Upton Sinclair

Consumers often behave as if they haven’t read the marketing plans for the brands they buy.
— Byron Sharp

Just because you have all your poo in one sock does not mean you have your shit together.
— Anonymous

Any measure used for control is unreliable.
— C.A.E Goodhart, also known as Goodhart’s Law

Someone who says they have nothing to hide cannot be trusted to keep your secrets.
— Mikko Hypponen

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
— John Kenneth Galbraith

The purpose of a system is what it does.
— Stafford Beer

Find out who you are, and do it on purpose.
— Dolly Parton

Things I’ve Said

A little bit vain, but some stuff I’ve said that people seem to like.

“Words mean things.”

“Doing it wrong is often faster and cheaper than doing it right. At first.”

“AWS is cheap to fail in, but expensive to succeed.”

“Humans: Ruining Everything Since Forever.” Now available as merchandise!

“80% of writing software is creating bugs. The other 80% is taking them out again.”

“Being an ITIL expert is like being an expert at hitting yourself in the face because you can do it faster and with greater accuracy.”

“So much data, so little knowledge.”

“If you can’t restore, you don’t have backups. You have a slow and expensive implementation of /dev/null.”

“Design for abuse cases, not just use cases.”

“Beware those with fancy suits and fancier words.”

“Idiots doing stupid things often die.”

“It’s called show business, not tell business.”

“It’s not a skills shortage. It’s a cheapskate surplus.”

“The easiest way to succeed is to measure it wrong.”

“‘Common sense’ means ‘No, not that’.”

“If success depends on human nature suddenly changing, you’re going to have a bad time.”

“Hope is not a strategy.”

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.”

“Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.” [Update: Apparently I’m not the first to think of this formulation, though there’s no citation for where this came from originally. The search continues!]

“You don’t solve problems by using more and bigger hammers.”

“The future is scale-out micro-hammers.”

“Sometimes people have to burn their hand on something before they’ll believe that it is hot.”

“The mediocre is the enemy of the actually good.”

“Powerpoint is the hammer that lots of people use to paint their house.”

“Let’s connect fire to the Internet. What could possibly go wrong?”

“Every human being is an intelligence that has been trained on biased data.”


One Comment

  1. Pingback: SKMurphy, Inc. Quotes For Entrepreneurs May 2016 - SKMurphy, Inc.

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