Conway's Law in Chicago

I was talking with Phil and Fenix earlier this week an the topic of "Sullivan" came up. Fenix reminded me of the words "sullivan patch" that are on one of the early sketches for Image 5.



The prevailing belief is that this is a reference to famous Chicago architect Louis Sullivan.


I did a little digging on Sullivan and came across something that was new to me. Sullivan was the architect for the Auditorium Building in Chicago. The Auditorium Building, at the northwest corner of South Michigan Avenue and Congress Street (i.e right across the street from the Bowman. statue) has been part of Roosevelt University since 1947. Roosevelt University being referenced as "R" in Verse 12 by the line "and to Congress, R is known".


To hammer it home, there is a plaque on the Auditorium Building (since 1976) that talks about Sullivan as the architect.


The compelling part here is that it gives us a strong tie from the Painting (or at least the sketch) with a reference to Sullivan, to the verse referencing "R" aka Roosevelt University, to boots on the ground: a plaque on the Roosevelt University building that speaks of Sullivan.


We get confirmation at every level: painting, verse, and boots on the ground.


In 1967, Melvin E. Conway introduced an adage, now known as Conway's Law, stating that organizations design systems that mirror their own communication structure:

Any organization that designs a system (defined broadly) will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization's communication structure

Broadly defined, a puzzle is a system: a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network. The Secret is made up of a verse, a painting, and a "little digging", which mirrors the communication structure between the painter (JJP), the author (BP), and the person who buried the casques (also BP in this case).


There's a relevant quote from JJP:

Bryon and I had worked on this for so long and had discussed so many different angles. And in fact, I think... I was still working on stuff while he was burying these things. And he'd call back and I think he would have an idea on something and then I'd say "Hey Bryon, what about this?" and he'd say "Go with that".

JJP also said:

Where the verse leaves off, the painting may begin.

The back-and-forth nature of their communication shows up as a back-and-forth between the painting and verse. Sullivan, as a clue, permeating from Painting, to Verse, to boots on the ground shows us a great example of Conway's Law applied to the Secret.




If you're skeptical about the handwriting, I brushed of my own cursive to illustrate it.


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