I used to sit on the 21st floor. Now I am retired

Thursday, August 24, 2006

It depends

One of my philosophies in life this year is "It depends".

It's a pithy comment, it's a brief answer, it's a statement filled with possibilities, it's a statement the layman and the technical expert can use with equal confidence.

It's a cry which rallies MBAs together when it comes to take a decision or answer a real question. It's the favourite excuse used by Professors. It's a surreal but cheery photograph taken on a misty night. It's a discussion board on ethics.

It is what I say when I am asked a question with a gun to my head. Like, "Who do you think will win the Matunga by-election?" Or "Who is the prettiest assistant in office?"

If the only tool you have is the hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail. Well, it actually may not depend. Or it really may. "I know that people would really, really like me to give them a straight answer, without once saying 'it depends' (actually, I usually say 'context is really important there' which is just as bad as 'it depends'). This happens in part because the world is complex, and designing for a complex world is hard."

It's also as I discovered an appropriate answer to any question. For example, which are the best acne treatments? Or what is a planet? Or how many dead in Iraq? Or Is the Internet delivering on its promise? Or anything else.

While answers like "I don't know" are also omnipotent, they have a tendency to make you look like a fool. An ignoramus. "It depends" can only make you look wise, without putting the other person down.

It also is an omnipotence paradox.
"Can every question can answered by "It depends?" ... "Hmmm... It depends."
It really does. Hence, I have decided that I will answer every question by "It depends". For today. Protective Head Device says that another one of these omnipotent answers is, "Hmmm... interesting". That's for tomorrow.


Blogger maverick said...

Hehehe...I was wondering when someone would come out with this post.

Thursday, August 24, 2006 9:31:00 AM

Blogger ggop said...

You can be Rummy's spokesman if you use this for How many are dead in Iraq?

Thursday, August 24, 2006 2:10:00 PM

Anonymous Protective Head Device said...

Hmmm... interesting.

Or something else.

Friday, August 25, 2006 3:07:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Maverick, hmmm... interesting

Ggop, it depends.

Friday, August 25, 2006 4:26:00 AM

Blogger corporate whore said...

One day every line in your entire post will be linked to something else.

Friday, August 25, 2006 10:53:00 AM

Blogger sunshine said...

really good post.. whatever the context!

Friday, August 25, 2006 2:00:00 PM


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