Edwards Air Force Base, 1949. Captain Edward A. Murphy works furiously on Air Force Project MX981, which tested the human’s capability to withstand rapid deceleration in a crash. One fateful day, he exclaimed after finding a wrongly wired transducer, “If there is any way to do it wrong, he’ll find it.” The idea wasn’t new, but its documentation and association with Captain Murphy gave it a name, and thus, Murphy’s Law was cemented in the dictionary of American idioms.
In the spirit of recent discussions around natural disasters, it seemed pertinent to examine this concept on which many blame disasters. After understanding the background of Murphy’s Law, it is valuable to look at the iterations of this law. In fact, the CEO of This Life, a complete cloud solution catering to photos and videos, wrote an article in Forbes discussing the disasters that occur in any business.
If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it.
According to many, this is the truest form of Murphy’s Law. Someone will make a mistake.
If anything can go wrong — it will.
It will rain when you forget your umbrella. Nature always seems to side and illuminate the hidden flaw.
Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
Doing something is better than doing nothing.
Everything goes wrong all at once.
As in Northern Virginia earlier this summer, not only did their 911 system go down, but one of their backup generators failed. When your connecting flight is running late, the gate for your next flight will be on the opposite end of the terminal.
Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value.
The more important something is, the more likely it will be damaged.
If there is a bad time for something to go wrong, that’s when it will happen.
If your PowerPoint won’t work, it will be right before your major presentation to an important client.
Some enthusiasts of this law have compiled a list of Murphy’s Law in technology. As a data center, which is heavily integrated in the technology industry, we found these humorous (and often true):
- Technology is dominated by those who manage what they do not understand.
- The attention span of a computer is only as long as its electrical cord.
- Tell a man there are 300 billion stars, and he’ll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint on it, and he’ll have to touch it to be sure. Great discoveries are made by mistake.
- A computer can make as many mistakes in two second as 20 men working 20 years.
- To spot an expert, pick the one who predicts the job will take the longest and cost the most.
- Any instrument when dropped will roll into the least accessible corner.
- It is never wise to let a piece of electronic equipment know you are in a hurry.
- It is simple to make something complex, it is difficult to make something complex, simple.
Where has Murphy’s Law crept up on you? (let us know in the comments!)