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Occam’s razor and the Business Corollary:

I was thinking of a solution to a business problem recently when Occam’s Razor popped into my head (In Layman’s terms Occam’s Razor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor states: "All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the best one.") And that got me thinking about the opposing forces of logic and self interest in business.

In business more is better; more hours, more product features, more ideas no one ever gets told off for putting in extra effort. In Science, Mathematics and even in Art the simplicity of the solution is often as praiseworthy as the solution itself.

In Business I often come across the opposite the complexity and the input are praised often above the outcome. In a corporate environment the hours you are seen at your desk are more measurable than the simple solutions to complex problems that might even reduce your own workload. A reduced workload that might even highlight you as a non productive employee

So with that I give you:
Occam’s Business self interest Corollary: "All things being equal, the solution that improves personal self interest tends to be the implemented."

your logic is good, but disagree with conclusion...

it appears that "more" is better in business, and perhaps in short term, this will yield better business results...

but i would argue, that making things simpler in business, in every respect will yield FAR better returns from employers, employees, suppliers and clients.

google is a classic example - the paradigm was to offer more, but they turned that on it head and gave only the simpliest form...

(sure they are adding stuff now, but that is shared-price-obsession induced... and none of that has created real value - we use most of it, but would buy it.. anyway, that is tangental)

i cant think of a single example whereby "bloat" for self interest in business is better...

personally, i like employees, clients, etc. that give me what i want for the absolute least complexity...

my 2c


I read the article a toally different way. I don't think he was proposing something that was better - but rather reflecting the way that life is. My comment would be that in a large company this is largely true. The smaller the company the less likely it will be the case.

Dave Mac

davmac is correct i'm trying to show what i believe to be somewhat of a logical truth not proposing a methodology.

The small company big company comment is spot on.

Mr Morris :) thanks so much for discovering me on mybloglog - good to discover you .. and to find you're a fan of my favorite diagnostic tool>> The sharp scalpel of Occam's Razor. I did a post in jest about our human tendency to misassociate to the superstitious when something bizarre happens.

May it find popular resurgence!
[Though it would probably spell the end of religion & politics that rely on superstition & oblique compexity to afford them their plinth of power.. and who would want that?!]

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I think you're prodding at this anyway, but I'll come out and state it:

The crux of the issue is that personal self interest does not directly correspond with business success (logic).

I suppose the challenge for businesses is to keep their own and their employees' interests aligned, particularly as the business grows (and typically becomes more dogmatic).

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