General Thinking


Physics provides the best models to understand the physical world. But sometimes, it also provides the best models to understand the metaphysical.

Entropy refers to the rate of change that can be seen in a system. As the entropy in a system increases it becomes increasingly difficult to predict the next few moments. The more you heat a pot of water, the more bubble formation takes place and it becomes increasingly difficult to find patterns.

The only reason the earth as a planet is alive is due to its ability to hold onto heat. Heat creates entropy. Entropy creates change and that is essential to the existence of life. Mars by comparison lacks an atmosphere and hence does not have any heat in the system, the lack of entropy means nothing lives on the planet. At the other extreme you have a planet like Jupiter, where the entropy is too high, much like the boiling pot of water, making it impossible to support life.

Sorry for the long convoluted way in which this post is going, it came to me when I was watching ‘The Martian’ on the plane.

In business and in relationship entropy is important to move things forward.

If you own a startup and far too many days, you find that nothing much has changed, you know that you are already deep in trouble because the system lacks entropy. Its as if the engine has no heat in it.

Alternately, overheating is also a problem. So, it should not be a case, where things are changing much too rapidly. This removes the possibility of the system reaching any kind of stable state. The business would be in a constant state of change and there is no way to find a model that works efficiently and sustainably.

If your business depends of building relationships, the same axioms hold true. Many B2B companies start to take their accounts for granted since they are already with them. They do not make substantial changes to their products, eventually they lose the account to a more nimble and agile competitor. To the contrary if you keep suggesting too many changes to the client, eventually the client is going to grow tired and cease the relationship.

The challenge is to find balance. Is that not the problem with everything in life?