Putt, Putt

In the mid 70’s there was a series of articles published in Research & Development magazine by Archibald Putt titled “Putt’s Law: The Successful Technocrat”. I was just a young Science Geek at the time, had been doing research on blowing holes in stuff with lasers, but wanted to develop chops as a Business and Management Geek. This became my motivation to do so. Archibald Putt was a management genius, right there with Peter Drucker, Laurence Peter, Tom Peters and Sun Tsu (who was known as “Pete” to his friends). I copied all the articles from the magazine and still have them in my files.

Most people only know Putt’s law:

“Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand.”

Archibald Putt, 1973

But there are many laws and corollaries promulgated in each of the 10 articles. In the 80s and 90s few people knew of Putt and I often quoted him in speeches and articles, the concepts were fresh to the audience. There are ten laws:

  1. Putt’s Law
  2. Three laws of crises
  3. The law of failure
  4. The S-curve law
  5. Laws governing values
  6. Three laws of advice
  7. The consultant’s law
  8. Laws of survival
  9. Five laws of decision-making
  10. Laws of reward and punishment

For thirty years no one knew who Archibald Putt really was, and then in 2006, when I suspect he realized how timeless the concepts were, he added content and republished the articles as a book. You can Buy it here.

Putt’s Laws preceded Dilbert by 15 years, and I have no idea if Scott Adams had read Putts Law before creating the successful cartoon. However, some of the points of view are remarkably similar. Putt could be Dilbert’s smarter brother.

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