As we charge through life, the universe often pauses us to teach us something important. Here are some insights from my path.

First lesson: Subjectivity is a lesser sin than false rigor.

Second lesson: In the absence of recurring audit, the permissions attached to an object relax toward “allow all” over time.

Third lesson: Bureaucratic processes are the aggregate result of someone asserting that “if I had signed off on process x, I could have prevented failure y” with little regard to the likelihood of the failure reoccurring.

Fourth lesson: A report is an interface between two processes, not an end point.

Fifth lesson: Abstraction (particularly generality) is powerful and expensive; be careful not to design things so powerful that you price yourself out of building them.

Sixth lesson: System stability automatically degrades when you’re running a skeleton crew (e.g. over a significant holiday).