Saturday, March 27, 2010

Playing by the rules....but which set?

First let me say, I grew up in a science household. My father is a Physicist, and my mother a Microbiologist. Growing up around parents that spent their whole lives using the scientific method, I learned to discover the world in a very unique way, which was to experiment and question everything. You will often hear me say "question everything", because that is the single most important thing that I do that is different than %99.9 of the population. People find it annoying at times because I'll even admit, it will take away from a conversation or whatever we're doing because I'll just blurt it out. For instance, when the elevators in my apartment building were acting flaky, while everyone was sitting around asking why they couldn't get the elevators to work, I asked the group of angry residents....what do you suppose would be the most efficient way for the elevators to respond to calls? I was thinking perhaps the poor elevators were just confused, and they just needed someone to straighten out their thinking ;) Well, considering this was after waiting 10 minutes for the broken elevators, most of the crowd was pretty unresponsive, but the longer I thought about it, the more I realized that this was actually a really difficult problem. In fact, I did some research, and there are many ways to design an elevator in an effort to solve this exact problem! In fact, depending on what type of application you're using the elevator for, there are different ways the system can be setup for efficiency

Anyways, I've again gone off course, but you get my point, while everyone else was complaining about how easy it must be to fix, and why couldn't they fix it, I asked the REAL question which is WHY IS IT SO HARD TO FIX?

Similarly, I long ago recognized that rules were more like "suggestions". Here's what I've found:

1. Some rules have actual consequences, which I would consider REAL rules
2. Some rules have consequences which may not be fair, ethical, or right, and thus might be worked around in some way. These are sometimes the rules I like to break in order to bring this to light (especially if I can have fun proving it :)) To be fair, I have broken rules, then been told why they were there, and felt bad about do try to think about why the rules are there before deciding if they are "good". Some rules are in place to protect others who are not as smart, fast, young, old, etc as you, so try to make sure you're helping to look out for those who may not have all the same advantages as you too.
3. Some rules which are arbitrary, and really can't possibly have any consequences because either the consequence would hurt the enforcer more than the punished, or there is really no way to enforce it.

So to summarize, I'm suggesting we "break" the rules in order to find the REAL rules because I think this helps innovative people find the envelope (aviation term referring to the maximum stresses an aircraft can withstand, which is why fighter pilots PUSH THE ENVELOPE). If you don't know where the envelope is, you'll either exclude solutions because there are solutions in a space you think doesn't exist, or you'll go flying right past it because you didn't take the time to do the experimentation before (good test pilots also have experience and know about where the envelope should be so start small until you have that experience).