The 8th law of Internet Search; The Law of Environment

Posted on Jul 15, 2009

Steven Covey published The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People and it was a great book.

When Dr. Covey came out with a new book, The 8th Habit, I was skeptical.Why didn’t he think up the 8th habit right from the start?

Now I understand it.Ideas evolve. We are the sum total of your experiences at any point in time. You create a set of rules that you believe are universal. In my case, I am the author of The Seven Laws of Internet Search.

It has been about a year and a half and now, guess what? I came up with another Law of Internet Search.The 8th law could not have been created by me…unless I was able to observe people learning and implementing the first seven laws in their Internet search activity.

Here is what I observed:The Internet is “non-homogeneous”.The idea of homogeneity also resonated with me as I wrote the original seven laws.I played with the idea of a Law of Non-homogeneity.This means that the Internet exists in many different formats and there is no way to query everything, with a single method or game plan.

“Non-Homogeneous” sounds ugly.To define something with “non” in front of it…it would be like cheating.Each of the seven laws of Internet Search is meant to be a simple axiom of advice.I failed to get my concept of Homogeneity into the laws.

Why did I fail?It is simple.  Each of the seven laws is a solution.Whereas “non-homogeneous” or “non-homogeneity” was talking about a problem.

What was I trying to get at?It is also simple.The Internet is not homogeneous, therefore, many different methods are needed to search it.It is those very search mechanisms that the 8th Law takes into account.The 8th law is The Law of Environment.

In fact, the 8th Law is so important, I have moved it the top spot in The Laws of Internet Search.It is now The 1st Law of Internet Search.

To understand the Law of Environment.  Get your mind around the concept of the Internet having many modalities. Many sites, each with it’s own set of rules or search environment.

Next.  There are some simple questions to ask.   What is the access method?  What are the sites restrictions?  Etc

In addition to the simple questions about the environment, the more advanced Internet search may want to dive into further understand the full capabilities of the search environment.

Once the simple questions about the environment are answered, the Internet search can proceed with quantifiable expectations on what to expect from their chosen search medium.

For example, it is important to understand that Google will only give you a maximum of 1000 results from any search.  Even if Google reports that their are 2450 results, you only have access to the first 1000.  Understanding this is understanding the limitation of the environment.

Here are the The Laws of Internet Search, Reloaded

1.  Environment 2. Permutation 3. Completeness 4. Iteration 5. Frequency 6. Process 7. Taxonomy 8. Measurable Results

Dr. Steven Covey, now I understand. Looking forward to the ninth law.