Anti-Sturgeon’s Rule?

Thor’s day. Gym almost vacant. Wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!! Listened to two episodes of the Ubuntu England podcast which is quite kulturny but almost void of usefulness. Excellent diversion. They were doing a bit of listing the most important things about the podcast and I immediately thought that the best parts are those that have been discontinued, such as the Wing Commander sketches.

But this also led me to think about situations that obey (?) an opposite (sorta) of Sturgeon’s Rule. The latter states that 0.9 of everything is crap. The opposite would seem to state that 0.9 is good and this is indeed a mantra of management. I can remember a time when we said that we wanted to drive away the bottom 0.1 of our work force each year to improve the organization.

But then I got to thinking about whether there are situations where the bottom 0.1 is what’s important. A couple of examples spring to mind. The first is maths. While maths – pure maths, not the applied stuff – is very hierarchical, a critical component of maths as a value to society is how the applied portions get passed on to the rest of society. As maths oriented as physicists and some other STEMs are, they are NOT maths wonks. 

And what is critical is 0.9 of the applied maths pass on is done by the bottom 0.1 of maths wonks. 

The other example is rubbish collectors, septic tank and sewage workers and such like. The position is lowly and the work often oderous but these 0.1 of the work force are absolutely necessary to keep the rest of us from rotting in our own waste.

So sometimes it IS the bottom 0.1 that is most important.

Perhaps we should call that Shad’s rule? After all Sturgeon’s rule is named for Theodore Sturgeon but a sturgeon is a rather high level fish while a shad is a trash fish.

I am open to alternative suggestions.

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