Be skeptical of everything labeled as "easy"

Posted 14 years ago by Evan Tishuk

So the next time a salesperson or client or contractor or anyone says something is going to be "easy," just remember the following:

  • Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law."
  • Parkinson's Law: "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion"
  • "Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work." ~ Horace (65 BC - 8 BC)
  • "The secret of greatness is simple: do better work than any other man in your field - and keep on doing it." ~ Wilfred A. Peterson
  • "Anyone who uses the phrase 'easy as taking candy from a baby' has never tried taking candy from a baby." ~ Unknown
  • "All things are difficult before they are easy." ~ Unknown
  • "If it were easy, everyone would do it." ~ Unknown
  • "It's not supposed to be easy...That's why they call it work" ~ Unknown
  • "If it seems easy, you're probably doing it wrong." ~ Me


olivier blanchard ~ 14 years ago

Olivier's first Law of copywriting: "Marketing copy should always be kept to a strict minimum (i.e. one to five words per page is usually enough)." Think Nike's "Just do it" or Apple's "Think Different." Nobody wants to read a bunch of text. Just give people an engaging slogan that appeals to their sense of self, convey your message through cool photos and visuals, and give them little more than the basic (relevant) data about a product.

Olivier's second law of copywriting: "When blogging or writing white papers and press releases, write twice as much as you need to, and twice as fast as you should."

Olivier's third law of copywriting: "Never agree to write great copy for someone other than yourself. Only twelve people in the world can actually pull it off, and odds are that you are not one of them."

Evan Tishuk ~ 14 years ago

Good additions. I especially agree with the 3rd law. Though I think there are more than 12. Perhaps simplify with "Great copy is written for yourself."

olivier blanchard ~ 14 years ago

I'm pretty sure I got an accurate headcount.

Adam Gautsch ~ 14 years ago

My favorite is when others tell me my job is going to be easy. Sentences like, 'I've got a project for you, it should be pretty small and easy...'

Susan ~ 14 years ago

I just wrapped a major project this week and am starting to do reviews for my team. I may include Hofstadter’s Law on one or more of them.

Mad ~ 14 years ago

I told Bear last night over Mexican Monday about the recent MadLord Innovation realization: the subject doesn't really matter. It's about knowing how to write. Anyone can tell a story about their day, but only some will keep you listening for how they went to sleep.

Mad ~ 14 years ago

potboiler \POT-boi-lur\, noun:

A usually inferior literary or artistic work, produced quickly for the purpose of making money.

Evan Tishuk ~ 14 years ago

...aka, schlock

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