“Entropy requires no maintenance.”— Robert Anton Wilson


I saw a sign that read, “if you don’t schedule time for maintenance, downtime will be scheduled for you.”

This phrase had such ancient wisdom it made me wonder if Socrates said it first. Here are some of the thoughts the sign brought up for me.

  • I had a relative who didn’t think to do oil changes in his car. His car scheduled the downtime for him.
  • I often see barns in disrepair, some leaning toward collapse. 
  • The more features you develop in a product, the more critical maintenance becomes.
  • If you don’t do maintenance on a product you are building, more and more technical debt will accumulate. The more crud accumulates, the slower the work will go until you are forced to do something.
  • It is so easy for a user of apps to see which ones are not maintained. We probably all have favorites that no longer work because they have succumbed to too much technical debt.  

Later that same day, I went outside, planning to run a couple of miles. However, by the time I got to the trail, it had started raining. I gave up the plan and quickly came back inside.

When I came back in, a family member said to me, “If you don’t take time for maintenance, it will be scheduled for you.”

I went back outside for a nice, albeit wet, run.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,

Alan Willett

Photo by Marc St on Unsplash

You may also like:

Endurance Is Not Always a Virtue

I have seen leaders show great endurance in leading marathon projects. They are putting in marathon hours. The sweat sheen on them and their teams is obvious, even heroic.

Do You Need a Win?

A client wrote to me recently with a note that said simply “I need a win.” Have you been there, where it feels like you have faced a sudden losing streak and quite simply there is a need for a win? I have. I expect Elon Musk is looking for one with Tesla.

The Reader’s Edge

The exceptional leaders are voracious consumers of information. They listen to audio books, they read books, they seek out others to hear their stories. The things they read spans multiple genres, time periods, and cultures.


"Ritual is important to us as human beings. It ties us to our traditions and our histories." — Miller Williams, Poet My wife and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Even though real work of building a life together happens in the minutes and hours between...


"Welcome to Sherwood!" — Robin Hood Father's Day was a delight for me. My family treated me a number of fun things. I was served breakfast in a hammock. I was treated to a delicious cold milkshake at a local ice-cream shop. My daughter and I have a plan to go buy some...


"I have never had to face anything that could overwhelm the native optimism and stubborn perseverance I was blessed with. " — Sonia Sotomayor One of my best clients and I were enjoying the start of our day at a local coffee cafe. We covered a range of topics and one...


"Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery. " — Mark Amidon The Washington DC zoo has this very interesting roulette-style wheel located just past the cheetah exhibit. You spin the wheel to find out if you caught your prey, your...


"A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. that change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end." — Andrew Grover There are a wave of...


"Even though it is not always easy… being a planetary scientist is one of the coolest jobs on the planet!" — Elizabeth (Zibi) Turtle   Imagine exploring Titan! And to be clear, I am not referring to the planet Titan of Thanos (Avengers), I am referring to a...

Making the Leap

Paradigm leaps take need, courage, and sweat. You will notice a different look and feel to the newsletter this week. Earlier this year, I became unsatisfied with a few key things and decided to make some changes.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This