Monthly Aphorism: On Being Square

  • If you can’t be smart, be square

Father Vaughn spent many years in IBM’s semiconductor biz, where he realized that the proper shape for a silicon chip was not long and skinny.

His engineers would argue that they could lay out the logic much more easily on a rectangle. While that was true, he knew something they didn’t: high aspect ratio shapes snap much more easily during processing. An optimum layout doesn’t matter when you can’t build the chips.

His aphorism also applies to human behavior: you’re rarely as smart as you think you are. Being square, in the stodgy, conventional, risk-averse sense, may save your bacon.