Choose Any Two

You may have seen the posters:

Three words are arranged in a triangle: Cheap, Fast, and Good. Below them is written a phrase: Choose Any Two.

As a rigorous rule, it’s not much use, but as a general model for the trade-offs you must make in a constructive process, it’s astoundingly useful, most especially because of its simplicity and brevity.

I think there are others. Most especially: Creation, Preservation, and Destruction.

I sometimes think that my two are Preservation and Destruction. I strive to preserve what is worthy of preservation, and destroy what is worthy of destruction. But despite countless tear-filled hours of trying, I cannot create worth a damn. I really don’t make anything of my own, and while I can sometimes do a great deal to improve the works of others, I cannot do as they do and create things myself.

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2 Responses to “Choose Any Two”

  1. The first thing that came to my head was Krugman triangle.

  2. I would agree with that.

    It reminds me of Arrow’s Theorem, too.

    There are probably lots of cases in politics and society in general where the desired attributes of a thing are at least partially mutually exclusive.

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