Mike Slinn
Mike Slinn

Pigs Can Fly

Published 2011-09-30.

This article is categorized under Business
Flying pig

Details matter. If all you read are headlines and subtitles then it is likely that you are horribly misinformed. Let’s imagine that the text of an article was something like this:

Pigs Can Fly

Outfitted with 3D goggles and haptic feedback mechanisms customized for a pig’s extremities, porcine subjects showed that they quickly adapted to visual stimulus that suggested to them that their movements caused them to fly. With training, pigs demonstrated that they could control the flight of simulated cargo planes, stunt triplanes, jet fighters and paper planes.

So, does the passage say that pigs can actually fly unassisted? Does it say that pigs might think they can fly? Does it discuss the possibility that pigs might be able to be trained as pilots? You would have to read the passage carefully to be able to answer those questions. If you just skim headlines then you would have no idea what the passage was about, or even if it was just humor.

Details matter a lot when you are working with technologists. If you are easily put off by even the slightest techno-speak, then you have no business managing technologists. Specialized vocabulary summarizes complex thoughts succinctly; learn it, don’t ask for the baby-talk version.

  • You can’t
  • Summarize complex interactions
  • Into a few bullet points
  • Without getting it wrong

This is true for reading and writing. If the best that a manager can grunt via a keyboard is “you know what I mean” then it is probable that the recipient of the email has at best only a vague idea of what the lazy, inarticulate writer meant. In truth, the writer has probably not thought through their ideas properly, and they are not clear what they meant either.

Pick your information sources and sinks with discretion, and strive to communicate in complete thoughts.

Here is some related science.