Use Paper in The Bathroom, Not in Business

I’m sure you’re aware of the Infinite Monkey theorem: a monkey hitting keys on a typewriter will, in due course, almost surely type the complete works of William Shakespeare.

Yes, that’s correct: a solitary, dim-witted primate can produce the same quality of document as The Bard. That should tell you everything you need to know about the value of documents in business: they’re monkey drivel.

It’s not just the written word, either: diagrams are equally gratuitous. The Boundless Wolf theorem states that if you give a wolf a Moleskine and a Sharpie it will eventually recreate Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man.

The only writing you should ever do is for your next best-selling business book, and even then it should only be the minimum amount necessary to officially call it a book rather than a pamphlet.

Without documentation, how do you communicate design decisions about your software? I’ll let you in on our secret weapon: Play-Doh. It’s completely malleable, so can adapt to changes in requirements. It comes in a range of pretty colors, which can be used for different parts of the interface. Most importantly, the attractive scent helps people engage with the task and encourages them to continually refer back to the design. A document, with no discerning smell, would have sat unused in a dusty drawer.

See this character: ? It prevents any chimp with a discarded typewriter from re-creating this article. Even if it happens upon a top-of-the-range iMac, there’s no power in the jungle to use it. That ape can bash away on those beautiful backlit keys as much as it wants – it will never plagiarize my intellectual property.

Didn’t think of that now, did we Billy-boy? Sonfried 1, Shakespeare 0.

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