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The death of a thousand cuts

The death of a thousand cuts refers to an ancient, perhaps apocryphal, torture in which the victim suffers thousands of tiny, non-fatal cuts to the body, eventually dying of blood loss.

More recently the term has become a common one in business, where it refers to the destruction of a product or idea due to a huge number of tiny changes. It is quite common in the software industry, where many products die as their specifications are continually changes faster than the developers can implement them.

Management can create similar problems by shifting priorities between products, a problem that killed HyperCard for instance.