Internet rabbit holes are one of the great joys of the modern age.  In time, I’m sure they will take on the same old-timey quaintness as corn-huskings, skaldic poetry, and vaudeville – a sort of distant fuzziness of ancestral appreciation.  Surely, in time, search engines will simply take us to the product most algorithmically suited to the size of our crypto-wallets, no linking needed, but until then I take some pride in just how many pages deep I can get before I’m reading, yet again, about Gene Autry’s horse.

In this case, I somehow found myself reading – well – basically a person complaining about sidewalks near schools.  

Somewhere in that enjoyment, I keyed into the quote: “…innovation that happens from the bottom up tends to be chaotic but smart. Innovation that happens from the top down tends to be orderly but dumb.”

Fascinating.  I like it.  And this quote is Carlson’s Law?  A new search commences.

The thing is, when you search Carlson’s Law – ostensibly a commentary on how anything simple enough for a flowchart is goof-ball dumb – you actually turn up a completely different law.

“Carlson’s law, also called the “Law of homogeneous sequences,” states that interrupted work will be less effective and will take more time than if completed in a continuous manner.”

Well shoot.  He’s pegged my number.  Not only am I a middling bureaucrat too orderly to be smart and too chaotic to be dumb, I am also juggling five projects in just the last hour, at least one of which is trying to find a municipal grant for sidewalks…near a school.  

So, who is this guy who has me so dead to rights?  

I’ll save you a few tabs.  

The Law of homogeneous sequences was invented by Sune Carlson, a Swedish economist whose research focused on CEO behavior.

The law of orderly but dumb belongs to Curtis Carlson, a Silicon Valley technologist.  

Different laws, different guys.  Both of whom probably know what comes next.

Champion the Wonder Horse  - the answer to the trivia question that started this whole mess.

Respectfully yours,


Robert Drake is the Assistant Director for Technology Operations at the Nassau Library System.  Robert’s Law is in direct contradiction to Robert’s Rules.  The views and positions here expressed are his alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of NLS, Robert Drake himself, or probably anyone...