A few days ago I wrote about an example from a presentation by Don Reinertsen on the benefits of small batch sizes. Nassim Taleb brings up similar ideas in Antifragile. He opens one chapter with the following rabbinical story.
A king, angry at his son, swore that he would crush him with a large stone. After he calmed down, he realized he was in trouble, as a king who breaks his oath is unfit to rule. His sage advisor came up with a solution. Have the stone cut into very small pebbles, and have the mischievous son pelted with them.
The harm done by being hit with a stone is a nonlinear function of the stone’s size. A stone half the size does less than half the harm. Cutting the stone into pebbles makes it harmless.
Related post: Appropriate scale