Where Idealism Meets Reality

Jason has a very idealistic view of the world.. It’s positive, contagious, and very much needed today. My experience and background are that of a realist, but these two things complement each other and allow great work to happen.

I grew up in a small family business. It’s an interesting dichotomy to grow up understanding the bottom line, learning how to work hard for people, and then, in some cases, end up managing those people. It is really where idealism meets reality. I was always aware that there was a cost to doing business, that mom and dad got paid last, and that we had to be wise in our work. But in a small business, we knew our employees well. We visited them at home, and they came to ours. We helped each other with projects, knew each others’ families. So the cold realities of business were always, for me, tempered with relational experiences that transcended numbers and schedules.

But between the Jason and myself, I’m definitely the realist.

He’s ready to change the world, to get excited about what we can do in the next ten years. I like his ideas, but I’m much more concerned with what our activity will be this year that creates the possibilities for the next nine. That works out pretty well, because we’ll need to know certain things:

What is the end goal, and how do our activities today build toward that?

Do we have enough data to support our ideas and plans?

Who is this for, and will they listen? This is only a good idea if it works.

How sustainable is this plan?

When it’s time to grow, will this scale up or crumble?

Does it make sense in a macro view as well as a relational setting?

I’m the guy asking if we know enough about what we’re doing, looking for more research, insisting on steady user feedback so that we can keep improving. I want to review the big picture to make sure that people are following the pathway through the story that we’ve created. This probably makes me sound like a terrible guy at parties, but I swear I’m the first to derail a meeting with a joke. Still, this stuff is important.

It’s important because there are great ideas out there. People are doing really good work that is changing little parts of the world. And when those little parts all change, the whole world is better. For this world to be a better, cleaner, more just place to live, these things have to work. So in a sense, I’m still idealistic. I’m just a little OCD about it.

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