Doing bold things

Laurence Gonzales in Deep Survival writes about “Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why”. There are some clear lessons in the study of physical survival in the wilderness.

We all operate in failure mode… all the time. All. The. Time. Most failures are small ones, a dropped bit of food, a spilled drink, extra traffic, a burned-out light, the glitches we dismiss as normal.

These system failures are the outgrowth of the tightly coupled complex nature of our lives — self-organizing complexity of astonishing proportion.

These small failures are normal, and unfortunately, so are large failures. The small things are like the temblors in an earthquake zone, the quiet harbingers of the larger collapses that must eventually happen. Large accidents or failures, while rare, are normal too. Efforts to prevent them always fail.

Failure processes happen very fast and can’t be turned off. Recovery from the initial disturbance is not possible; it will spread quickly and irretrievably for at least some time. These interactions were not designed into the system by anybody.

Doing bold things is not about engineering risk to zero. Failures happen, and if we restrict ourselves to where they can’t… we’re not going to do anything very interesting.

We’ll all have good idea of how our system behaves with it’s more frequent smaller failures. But we rarely understand how much energy is in the system… and how quickly things will go critical.

If we can’t “engineer” it out, and we can’t predict anything beyond that a failure will happen, what do we do? We trust, we risk, we embrace failure when it occurs and try to understand how it fits into the system, and like the walkers on the wire, we accept that at some point, everything may suddenly and irrevocably change. We also join and build teams of people, which are far more resilient than an individual. And from a business sense, can produce far more consistent results, with higher quality, and greater speed. And do bold things.

How much for digital?

How much for digital?: It’s important to charge something, because the act of paying fundamentally changes the dynamics of the relationship. The question is this: at the start, is your goal to maximize profit or to build a platform that scales? The fact is that the market is too small right now for the price to matter. What matters is whether you can build an audience that is in the habit of paying you, an audience that wants to hear from you, an audience that you can build a business on.

At fifty cents a rental, all desire for piracy goes out the window, replaced by convenience, ease of use and a clear conscience. More important, entire new services show up, habits are built and the studios end up with a direct relationship with consumers who want to hear from them. If they don’t get greedy at the start. [I think Seth nailed this one.]
Source: Seth’s Blog

People to People

The annual Bikes for Kids program that the Rockland Bike Club runs every year got some kudos in the local paper.

It’s January and another Santa Project has come and gone here at People to People and we would like to thank those responsible for making it a great success.

At present, we’ve estimated approximately 3,000 children received gifts through Santa Project 2007. That represents about 1,100 families, all of them your neighbors right here in Rockland. There were 750 “Dear Santa” letters adopted and enough toys, checks, clothing and food came rolling in to help approximately 350 more families. I wish I could share all the hugs and blessings I received on your behalf. You lit up the faces of children young and old and gave hope to families who have, in one way or another, felt the tides of hopelessness in 2007.

[Nice. A touch more ecumenicism on the part of People to People would be nice… but helping people is helping people. Bring on the Solstice Project! Heh.]