A Rose By Any Other Name

A Rose By Any Other Name


Unless that name was something like “stinkwort”? No matter. I digress.

Choosing the Antimatter Name

Many’s the occasion I’ve related my reasons for choosing the name “Antimatter Principle“. Some are listed in my post explaining the metaphor.  It seems though that I’ve never actually written down the prima facie reason.

First There Was The Golden Rule

There’s long been this thing called the Golden Rule. Which says “do unto others as you would wish to be done unto”. It has found some favour over the years as a maxim for people to live by. I find some issue with it, though – best summed up for me by George Bernard Shaw:

“Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may be different.”

~ G. B. Shaw

Then Came The Platinum Rule

Consequently I found more affinity with the Platinum Rule, beloved of Agile Coaches (amongst others):

“Treat others the way they want to be treated.”

Beyond Platinum

Yet the Platinum Rule also bothered me. From a Nonviolent Communication perspective, It’s not folks’ wants that matter. It’s their needs. I had this in mind when I was naming the thing that I’ve come to call the Antimatter Rule (a.k.a the Antimatter Principle”:

“Attend to folks’ needs.”

Why “Antimatter”?

Simply because, as Platinum is something more valuable than Gold, Antimatter is something more valuable than Platinum. The other reasons listed in the Antimatter Metaphor are mostly post-hoc justifications.

Ugly As A Virtue

Some have conveyed their dislike for the name, describing it as ugly or unhelpful. Personally, I dislike the whole notion of naming things. I remain mindful of Taiichi Ohno’s admonition: “do not codify method” (not that the Antimatter Principle is a method, really). So I see the name’s perceived ugliness as a virtue. The more people that are embarrassed or otherwise dissuaded from using the name, the less likely it is to get seized upon by the hype merchants and snake oil salesman that have so corrupted names like “Lean” and “Agile”. Maybe. If we’re lucky.


To sum up, in order of increasing effectiveness:

Golden Rule -> Platinum Rule -> Antimatter Rule

– Bob

  1. Yves said:

    Haha, well isn’t this what scrum tried also? Call someone a scrummaster, that will never attract snakeoil vendors. Now we know better. That said, I like the idea To at least try to stay away from it.

    My way of doing that, is not inventing Methods or techniques , just Reusing others …

    (Of course it helps that I’m not so smart)


  2. I think all three are good rules. In most cases all three rules would lead to the same actions.

    The reason I stick with the golden rule is I can relate it back to myself. That makes it easier to make decisions without needing to ask a lot of questions first. Is it very simplified? Of course. But that is the beauty of it.

  3. thanks Bob, I feel you’ve taken me on another step towards enlightenment!

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