Recently, I’ve attended several events hearing divergent perspectives from both speakers and attendees on the issue of time. At the Start-Up Tech Mixer in San Francisco the energy in the air and dialogue at our booth echoed the “fail fast, fail early and fail often” philosophy we are now accustomed to hearing when discussing innovation. This enables products to be put on the market without the costly and time consuming burden of comprehensive development and inevitably leads to quick iterative changes hopefully more adeptly than the competition. What once would have been labeled as a “failure” is now considered part of the process leading to a superior end product.
At the opposite end of the “time” spectrum were Governor Jerry Brown’s comments at this week’s Summit. The Governor stated that “Tahoe teaches patience” where it takes decades rather than years to achieve desired outcomes. He described the lengthy process as one that has required breakdowns leading to breakthroughs, in order to find common ground upon which to build a future. He encouraged us to recognize and preserve the beauty of this region, but, to make it work for what we have in this era understanding that we cannot go back to an earlier era.
These perspectives led me to reflect on where the South Shore sits on this spectrum of time? Are we willing to accept “Tahoe time” and let the future escape us, because we are frozen by fear of change and end up letting perfect get in the way of better? Or are we willing to risk it all in the style of the tech start-ups? Likely neither approach will lead to a community that achieves economic vitality, sustainability with the quality of life and infrastructure that will attract and retain the bright minds we need in order to be competitive in the coming decades.
Thus I suggest that we each have a duty to strive to reach understanding of where we have common goals as suggested by the Governor and openly share those with one another. So too we must be willing to risk some course corrections understanding that every great city, company and entrepreneur has made mistakes and so too will we. This was a lesson that resonated loud and clear on our recent Chamber Trek to Park City where city leaders readily admitted that they have gone through numerous modifications.
One thing is for certain, there is no better time than now to engage in creating the future you want for your family and your community. We have seen considerable public investment over the past few years delivering new sidewalks, lighting and landscaping that give us all a reason to be proud. I envision and am working towards a future that includes sustainable businesses who are able to upgrade and maintain their exteriors and provide more living wage jobs. I envision families able to support themselves with enough time to recreate. I envision linked bike paths and transportation as well as futuristic thinking leaders to guide us through the challenges sure to impact our community such as the impending silver tsunami and climate change.
Won’t you join me by talking to your neighbors about our future to understand what they envision and where you have common goals?