From scratch genre

My talk on Getting Closure on Hooks was cited as a “first principles” talk, as is the follow-up on Concurrent React. I think all talks and blog posts in the From Scratch genre, like this on React Router, this on Redux, or this on the hardware-software interface, are great first principles fodder. There’s even an entire repo on GitHub for building your own X projects!.

You can explain everything

But of course, first principles can be applied far beyond code. The Drake Equation is a well-known first principles decomposition of the number of alien civilizations in our galaxy. You can explain everything from music to computing (to coding careers!) with first principles.

Systems Thinking

More generally, a quantifiable set of first principles for any system is now in vogue as Systems Thinking, quoting Donella Meadows:

"PLACES TO INTERVENE IN A SYSTEM (in increasing order of effectiveness):

12- Constants, parameters, numbers

11- The sizes of buffers and other stabilizing stocks, relative to their flows

10- The structure of material stocks and flows

9- The lengths of delays, relative to the rate of system change

8- The strength of negative feedback loops

7- The gain around driving positive feedback loops

6- The structure of information flows

5- The rules of the system

4- The power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure

3- The goals of the system

2- The mindset or paradigm out of which the system arises

1- The power to transcend paradigms"

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