“Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”
– Proverbs 16:27
“We must use the blazonry of the heavens as patterns to aid in the study of those realities, just as one would do who chanced upon diagrams drawn with special care and elaboration by Daedalus or some other craftsman or painter. For anyone acquainted with geometry who saw such designs would admit the beauty of the workmanship, but would think it absurd to examine them seriously in the expectation of finding in them the absolute truth.”
– Plato, Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vols. 5 & 6, 529d-e
Daedalus was an inventive chap. He was recognized as a groundbreaking artist, sculptor, creator, engineer and architect. He made tools, birthed disciplines and professions, and had kids who play big in the story. An all around creative, credited with many inventions and disciplines. One might imagine his Workshop as a place of wonder. Full of tools, plans, notes and schemes for the inventions he created or had yet to devise.
But, unfortunately for Daedalus, most of his inventions came with unexpected twists. His greatest engineering marvel, The Labyrinth, was created for a dastardly purpose, and used for ill ends. When the puzzle was solved by Theseus, Minos, King of Crete, banished Daedalus and his son Icarus to imprisonment in the maze he created. They only escaped by virtue of another of Daedalus’ clever inventions, wings crafted of feathers and wax, which they used to take flight and skedaddle out of there. However, even this invention had tragic consequences, as his son could not manage to follow the instruction manual. He flew too high, the wax melted and he plunged into the sea.
What if Daedalus had an advisor that could think outside the box, so to speak, and give him a little foresight about how his grand plans might turn out? Well, perhaps he could have avoided some real tragedies and done a lot more good with his inventions and avocations. And as we know from the biblical citation above, doing nothing is not a particularly good option either.
Articles posted to The Workshop are geared towards practicing design professionals and give advice about negotiating and drafting contracts, offer practice pointers and tips and address business issues. The hope is to share experience with similar issues and hope to prevent future harms and complications. While not every solution will fit every situation, I will do my best to reach far and wide and offer broad based options.
Expect to see specific contract language from actual contract negotiations and practical solutions to keep it fair. Look for discussion about the meaning or reason behind common contract terms, boilerplate language and custom documents. Industry form documents will occasionally be the subject of discussion. Cases interpreting specific language will be cited to give examples of how these documents get interpreted by courts.
I hope to provide a forum for practicing design professionals and their advisors to avoid pitfalls and consequences of the modern practice. Let’s get to work!