Carlos Leyva

Silicon Stories

Chapter 2: Competitive Advantage

Decisions in Progress

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The following equation, from Ludwig Boltzmann, a top gun physicist of German descent, who lived in the 1880’s, is engraved on his memorial stone in Vienna. And although amazingly simple, it lays the theoretical foundation for the rest of the chapter:

S = k log W

When starting development of any complex system, the number of possible ways that the system could be arranged probably approaches infinity (i.e. it is a really fucking big number). The “W” is quite large; therefore, the system is in a state of maximum entropy. Order is imposed, and entropy is reduced, by reducing the number of decisions in progress (DIP). By making intelligent, methodical and relentless decisions, constraints are imposed. As constraints are imposed, the number of possible arrangements are reduced, order increases, and entropy decreases.

Competitive advantage, derived from applied information technologies, will be achieved by increasing the velocity by which the DIP yields to order. Process Patterns, or the lack of them, affect the DIP and have a powerful impact on whether your current project will actually contribute significantly to the end game (i.e. competitive advantage).

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