Today's post is all about practical (and creative!) applications for empirical concepts.

These ideas aren't meant to literally apply 1:1 to your projects - however I hope you find these to be suitable lenses with which to view and critique your work. 

Let's dive in.

 

1. Parkinson's Law

The amount of time that one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete the task.

This one is so incredibly simple, but holds some pretty serious implications. 

The original intent of the law's origin was to examine the effectiveness of bureaucratic institutions - they found that institutions with 5 to 8 members held the most power, and with each additional bureaucratic subordinate the overall power of the institution fell both externally and internally.

Yeah, so?

There is always an ideal amount of time or resources in which to complete a task, and it's usually less time than you think.

Similarly, allocating too much time or too many resources can create more roadblocks, not solutions, and only serve to inflate the process.

 

2. Zipf's Law

Given some corpus of natural language utterances, the frequency of any word is inversely proportional to its rank in the frequency table.

This one requires a good example to understand: let's take a look at the most commonly used words in the English language: 

the, be, to, of, and

The accounts for about 7% of all words, and is the 1/171,476th most common word. 

Be accounts for about 3% of all words, making it not only 2/171,476, but occurring 1/2 as much as "the".

To accounts for about 2.2% and thus 1/3 as much as "the", and so on and so forth, forever. 

This doesn't just apply to books. 

Zipf's Law can accurately predict wealth dispersion, city population growth, and water routes on our planet's surface. It's quite literally an underlying principle in how any group works, of any size.

Take any set of data, and the 551st most occurring thing with occur about 1/551st as much as the most occurring. 

 

 

...WTF?

Zipf's Law gives us insight into how we create and consume, and thus is an incredible measurement tool for conceptual development.

What is your main idea? Do you have too many ideas going on? Is there a clear pattern to the work that you're making?

Now go forth and make stuff!

 

 

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