My simple rules of life:

  • Balance in all things.
  • No matter where you go, there you are.
  • Wherever you are, it is not the "real world".
  • There is no right answer.
  • Out of sight out of mind.
  • Put like things together.
  • Assume stupidity before malice and ignorance before stupidity.
  • Everything looks like a nail to a man with a hammer.
  • You can never go back.
  • "A man's gotta know his limitations."
  • You prefer to believe the beliefs you prefer.
  • Anything can be improved.
  • Always have a backup plan.
  • Better is relative.
  • You see what you know.
  • It is easy to confuse motion with direction.
  • More isn't always better.
  • Expect symmetry.
  • Where there is one, there are more.
  • Never force anything.
  • You have to run to stay in place (Entropy always increases).
  • The closer to the source, the more the leverage.
  • Use it or lose it.
  • Retreat is an option.
  • Use the right tool for the job.
  • If you can't solve the problem, solve a related easier problem.
  • Accidents do happen.
  • Always leave your enemy a way out.
  • Let go of the outcome.
  • Seek advice. (advice is underrated)
  • Seek perspective. (perspective is underrated)
  • Unless you ask, you won't receive.
  • There are always trade offs.
  • Orthogonalize design, subdivide implementation.
  • Nothing explains like an example.
  • There is no substitute for experience.
  • Nothing is as simple as it first appears.
  • Life is too important to take seriously.
  • Avoid absolutes.
  • Without measures, you can't improve.
  • You tend to go toward what you are looking at.
  • Ritual confers safety.
  • Show up.
  • Frequently traveled roads appear shorter.
  • There is always someone faster.
  • Just having the tools does not get the work done.
  • Train in your weakness, compete in your strength.
  • Anger is tiring.
  • Fear is tiring.
  • Odds are things are normal.
  • Fix it early.
  • Keep your eyes open.
  • You might not get another chance.
  • Be skeptical.
  • Use the good china.
  • A painter will solve the problem by painting.
  • Stop to sharpen the saw.
  • Work in the shade.
  • Replace fear with knowledge.
  • Fail fast.
  • Be the rainbow in someone's cloud.
  • Make new mistakes.
  • Carpe diem.
  • Time is your most valuable asset.
  • Be relentless without being obsessive.
  • Take time to save time.

Copyright © Robert Heckendorn, All rights reserved, 1998-2021

Questions to Ask

  • But what good is it?
  • What's the punch line?
  • Better than what? by what measure? and for what purpose?
  • What is wrong with this picture?
  • Has this already been done?
  • What is the problem we are trying to solve?
  • What if we do nothing?

Mechanics Applied to Life

  • The Principle of the Flywheel -
  • The Principle of Headroom -
  • The Principle of Entropy -
  • The Principle of Leverage at a distance -
  • The Principle of Locality -

Robert's Rules of Software

  • Thou shalt not destroy the user's data.
  • Thou shalt not provide inconsistent results, data, or interface.
  • Thou shalt provide complete error messages.
  • Standard is better than better.
  • Write code as if someone else will read it.

A Dog's Advice on Life

  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • When it's in your best interest, always practice obedience.
  • Let others know when they've invaded your territory.
  • Take naps and always stretch before rising.
  • Run, romp, and play daily.
  • Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
  • Be loyal.
  • Never pretend to be something you're not.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
  • When you are happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • No matter how often you are criticized, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout. Run right back and make friends.

The Meerkat Motto

From "The Fellow Earthlings Wildlife Center"
  • Respect the Elders
  • Teach the Young
  • Cooperate with the Family
  • Play when you can
  • Work when you should
  • Rest in between
  • Share your Affection
  • Voice your Feelings
  • Leave your Mark

Chuck House's 10 Commandments for the Entrepreneur

  1. Come to work each day willing to be fired.
  2. Circumvent any orders aimed at stopping your dream.
  3. Do any job needed to make your.project work, regardless of your job description.
  4. Find people to help you.
  5. Follow your intuition about the people you chose, and work only with the best.
  6. Work underground as long as you can-- publicity triggers the corporate immune mechanism.
  7. Never bet on a race unless you are running in it.
  8. Remember, it is easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.
  9. Be true to your goals, but be realistic about the ways to achieve them.
  10. Honor your sponsors.

The 12 principles that guide programming at Google

  1. All developers work out of a ~single source depot; shared infrastructure!
  2. A developer can fix bugs anywhere in the source tree.
  3. Building a product takes 3 commands ("get, config, make")
  4. Uniform coding style guidelines across company
  5. Code reviews mandatory for all check ins
  6. Pervasive unit testing, written by developers
  7. Unit tests run continuously, email sent on failure
  8. Powerful tools, shared company-wide
  9. Rapid project cycles; developers change projects often; 20% time
  10. Peer-driven review process; flat management structure
  11. Transparency into projects, code, process, ideas, etc.
  12. Dozens of offices around world => hire best people regardless of location

First Four Lessons of Kofi Annan's Final Address to the UN

  1. we are all responsible for each other's security.
  2. we can and must give everyone the chance to benefit from global prosperity.
  3. both security and prosperity depend on human rights and the rule of law.
  4. states must be accountable to each other, and to a broad range of non-state actors, in their international conduct.

Instructions for Life in the new millennium from the Dali Lama

  • Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  • When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
  • Follow the three R's: Respect for self, respect for others, responsibility for all your actions.
  • Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  • Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
  • Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
  • When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  • Spend some time alone every day.
  • Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
  • Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  • Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
  • A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
  • In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
  • Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.
  • Be gentle with the earth.
  • Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
  • Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
  • Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
  • Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.