Edit: Monash’s First Law is special case of Monash’s Third Law of Commercial Semantics: No market categorization is ever precise.
Below is a three-year-old post of mine from a long-dormant blog, quoted in its entirety:
Maria Winslow notes that “Open Source” is an example of
Monash’s First Law of Commercial Semantics:
Bad jargon drowns out good.
Now, I won’t pretend that’s really original with me — but then, it’s based on Gresham’s Law, for which Sir Thomas Gresham apparently doesn’t deserve the credit he gets either.
The idea behind the “Law” is this: If a term connotes some kind of goodness, marketers scarf it up and apply it to products that don’t really deserve it., making it fairly useless to the products that really do qualify for the more restrictive meaning.
“Predictive analytics” sounded cool, and now covers a fairly broad range of statistical analyses, most of which don’t involve any kind of explicit prediction. Some “native” XML data stores are dressed-up tourists from either the relational or object-oriented worlds, while a lot of “thin clients” actually do their shopping at Lane Bryant. “Transparent” connectivity layers tend to be cloudy, and “portablilty” commonly involves considerable heavy lifting.
By the way, Monash’s Second Law of Commercial Semantics is much more technologically oriented: Where there are ontologies, there is consulting. I first said that at the Text Mining Summit, and it seemed to win immediate, widespread agreement.