The Playing Field is on a Hillside


This post is the thirty-seventh part of a ramble-rant about the software business. The current posts in this series can be found on the series landing page.

This post is about fairness. It’s dedicated to the people who traveled hours to here my presentation at Regina Technology Community. Thank you!


Entropy is part of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Engineers know entropy as a thief that steals energy otherwise available for useful and productive work (sort of like meetings). Entropy remains constant or increases throughout a closed system. It tends towards an equilibrium, but the energy required to achieve equilibrium is lost for other purposes.

Entropy implies the arrow of time. It’s the property of the universe responsible for the ice melting in your beverage (and for the room temperature decreasing slightly due to an occupant’s iced beverage). It’s the reason the oxygen molecules are distributed with relative uniformity in the room you currently occupy.

Entropy giveth and entropy taketh away. Sometimes entropy works for you, sometimes it works against. You probably don’t mind so much that the room is filled with a fairly even distribution of oxygen, but it may bug you to no end that your beverage is warming up.

In short, entropy is not fair. And it ensures the universe a little lopsided as well.

No Fair!

I recently read Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art. It. was. awesome. Pressfield’s latest is called Do The Work and is published as part of Seth Godin’s The Domino Project.

The War of Art is about starting. Pressfield presents impressive arguments for the premise that starting is one of the hardest things to do. There’s a natural resistance in us that works against us at every turn. I believe resistance is entropic. And it’s not fair.

We do enough work to get us started and nothing happens. Why? We haven’t done enough work to get started. We did enough to start us out on a level playing field – enough to keep us going at a constant velocity unless and until we are acted upon by an external unbalanced force – but that’s not enough to overcome entropy. The playing field is on a hillside and not level after all.


There are a lot of cool things about SQLPeople. I admire the openness and transparency of those who have responded to my requests to be interviewed. One example (and there are many!) is the interview with Kalen Delaney (Site | Blog | @sqlqueen | SQLPeople). Kalen begins with how she was unemployed after being fired. Those who know and admire Kalen realize she’s come a long way since then. She’s overcome resistance and countered entropy.


My point? You can overcome entropy too. Kalen’s done it. I did it. A bunch of the people we all admire and envy have done it.

What are you waiting for?


Andy Leonard

Christian, husband, dad, grandpa, Data Philosopher, Data Engineer, Azure Data Factory, SSIS guy, and farmer. I was cloud before cloud was cool. :{>


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