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Andy Leonard

Andy Leonard is an author and engineer who enjoys building and automating data integration solutions. Andy is co-host of the Data Driven podcast. Andy is no longer updating this blog. His current blog is

Push The Pebble


This post is the fifty-fifth 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 starting something.

Today is the First Day…

… of something. Somewhere, someone is starting something that will become big. It will impact lives. It will change things, forever. Somewhere else, someone is improving the thing they started recently. They are tweaking, tinkering, thinking, and doing.

Is either of these people you?

If not, why not?

Dams and Avalanches

Obstacles occur. They are as natural as gravity; they are part of entropy. They block. But they also support. It really depends upon which side of the avalanche or dam you find yourself, and your response to it.

For example, if you are leading a convoy or group of travelers and you need to get from Snowy Point A to Snowy Point B, the banked snow between those points may create a stable bridge that allows you to cross safely and quickly. If you enjoy the lake (or power or fresh water capacity) created by the dam, it is a good thing. But if you find yourself beneath an impending avalanche or in a water-restricted area downstream from the dam, you may feel altogether different about them.

From a physics standpoint, both dams and avalanches represent something called potential. Potential is stored energy. It is ready to be unleashed for good or harm and is being held back by some force or combination of forces.

One Pebble

Do you see metaphors for dams and avalanches in life and work? Is there something that needs to happen? Some energy that could be released for good? How does such energy get released?

Someone, somewhere, starts something.

Avalanches begin when the smallest bit of snow begins moving. Dams fail, beginning with a tiny crack; or with one small pebble becoming dislodged. Once started, all that potential – all that stored energy – begins to work together. If stones and snow were conscious, I doubt the first to move – the starters – would realize what they were starting.

Kick the Pebble

Be a Starter.

“Awesome idea, Andy. But where?” Where are you right now? Start there. Something needs to get done right where you are. Jeremiah Peschka (Blog | @peschkaj | SQLPeople) said it best in the Linchpin session at PASS last October: “If you cannot change where you work, change where you work.” Quit waiting for someone to do something. You do it.

And please hurry. The world is waiting.


Published Monday, April 2, 2012 8:00 AM by andyleonard

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Greg Lucas said:


This is so true - and for me also very timely.

I dug my heels on on the best approach to a peice of work last week and this week management are talking about getting more of the team to use the same approach.  Great oks from little acorns grow.

Stay well.


April 2, 2012 8:06 AM

eccentricDBA said:

It is amazing the power one person has.  Using your pebble for an example.  Think of the power of one pebble thrown into a calm lake and the ripple of change it creates from it.

I had picked up a book last year that had a similar theme.  It was called The Book of the Shepherd: The Story of One Simple Prayer, and How It Changed the World by Joann Davis ( ).  It's a nice short read and to quote one of the amazon comments, "Although Davis sets the tale in centuries past the story is still timeless and relevant. The Book of the Shepherd will leave you with a sense of peace and purpose."

April 2, 2012 8:38 AM

RichB said:


Sure, the right pebble thrown at the right target can make a huge difference, as you say.

Chuck it into the middle of an empty car park (parking lot for the other side of the pond) and the results are less spectacular.

Equally, if the car park is in front of a luxury car sales room, and is full of their stock, it may have a profound impact on your immediate prospects.

So I guess it's important to figure out what pebble you want to chuck, and where you want to do it!

April 3, 2012 5:27 AM

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