Mark Blasini

Concepts Toolbox

The entropy-control cycle


A cycle that describes the ever-evolving relationship between an organism or group of organisms (especially humans) and its environment. The cycle is especially observable in competitive situations (probably due to their dramatic nature). The cycle goes like this:

  1. An increase in entropy typically leads to (an increase in) disorder or randomness.
  2. (An increase in) disorder/randomness (eventually) leads to a certain degree of order.
  3. A degree of order leads to a degree of predictability.
  4. A degree of predictability leads to a degree of control.
  5. A degree of control (eventually) leads to an increase in entropy.
We can express the cycle as such: Entropy > Randomness > Order > Predictability > Control > Entropy.


  1. A cool new technology company opens up a new niche (entropy), a space for many people to use and interact with their platform (randomness).
  2. More people using it (randomness) eventually leads to a distribution of data, typically assimilating a bell curve (order).
  3. The bell curve (order) allows one to predict how certain people will use the technology (predictability).
  4. Being able to predict how certain people are and will use the technology (predictability) allows developers to control how much time people will spend using specific features of the technology (thus allowing them to influence people's use).
  5. Such control or influence over people's use eventually leads to the opportunity for a new niche (entropy) to develop (e.g. by a competitor).
Another example, one where there is a clear set of rules already in place:
  1. A boxer defeats the current boxing champion (entropy), thus taking the champion's title and leading to a shift in the competitive arena (disorder).
  2. The change (disorder), however, also leads to a new order, one in which there is a new champion (order).
  3. This order allows for predictability: the champion must defend his title.
  4. In defending his title (predictability), there is a degree of control or influence for both the champion and any other contender (both can prepare for the match).
  5. One element of control or influence is the possibility of winning for the contender (that is, of upsetting the current order, and thus increasing the entropy via change), or winning for the champion (by which his record increases, thus increasing the chances of him losing in the next match).
The entropy-control cycle is useful for understanding where one is in the cycle and developing a strong strategy that does not try to resist the cycle, but finds a way to go smoothly along with it. This, in many ways, is the aim of strategic living.

tags: strategy