Social media and blogging are perfect complements – one for the ability to communicate en-masse, the other for offering a portal to expanded thoughts – voice for the masses….with a simple web link in between. For those who follow #letsblogoff you’ll know what I mean, for those unfamiliar with it…do yourself a favor and tune in.
I awoke recently (truthfully it was few months ago but I am just now jotting down some thoughts), delighted with the latest topic from, originator of #letsblogoff, entitled . Having tried alternatives, I choose optimism. With time and experience I learned that realism has purpose, pessimism is depressing and in my opinion cowardly, and that optimists, easy targets for criticism, are largely responsible for improvements in our world. I hope to be part of this latter crowd. Thick skin and courage required. Do I get down? Yes, of course, but never for long.
I write this post at the invitation of Twitter and learned more through his writings here on The Homeowners & Trades Resource Center and activity with . Sean has a zest for knowledge of all things home and energy and boundless aptitude for connecting people. Go-getter comes to mind when I envision Mr. Lintow and I had the good fortune to meet him over a burger and fries in New Jersey this past summer while he was getting some training in the field. Recently Sean asked me to write about how I fill my days and what has kept me from being more active on Twitter.., author of this blog and a fellow I’m honored to call a friend. I stumbled across Sean by way of
Sean knows me as an inventor of the eXapath® in-wall cable pathway system from Homepath Products LLC. He also knows I have a full-time career in fiber optics that has me traveling often. Hectic and exhausting are many of my days, the price paid for the exhilarating and enlightening work that I do. I work hard, enjoy the pace, and love to learn about people and technology around the world. I am a student of sustainability and optimistic for a better future on this globe, the place we are entrusted to care for, a spot we bequeath to coming generations.
This brings me to the core of this essay. Travel. Not long ago I returned from a mind-altering trip to the far east. I feel better for having gone. With trepidation I made the first of what I hope are many visits to China. This trip was to attend an international wind power trade event. Fear, not of visiting China per se, but for what I would encounter after having been raised and educated during the cold war. Strange emotions. I’ve read of astounding progress in China from afar while feeling frustration as my own country languishes. Seeking to understand.
Utility scale wind turbines are conceptually simple, using the free power of nature to spin their blades, turning a generator, and converting wind to usable electricity without emitting greenhouse gases. These things are massive when you get up close and the turbines themselves are loaded with technology for controlling and optimizing energy capture. That’s where fiber optics come in. To me they hold certain beauty and elegance. Not a panacea, they promise significant contribution to our insatiable need for electricity…plus creation of jobs in manufacturing, installation, and ongoing maintenance. One cog in the wheel of a more comprehensive solution. Displaying their wares at the show were many firms you may know, namely GE, Siemens, Vestas, and Gamesa – plus roughly eighty major turbine producers from mainland China. Yes, eighty.
What I feared, sheer scale and pace of growth, is precisely what I found. I was fortunate to tour a wind turbine manufacturing plant where my preconceptions were quickly dismantled. The plant that I visited was a good sized campus, modern in every way, and spotless, complete with soccer field, exercise courtyard and climbing wall for the health and well being of the employees. No smoke belching from power plants, not dark and gloomy, not remotely close to what I envisioned. Safety programs were in place and actively being used, lean manufacturing principles employed, schedules being kept, tidy, efficient with pride and professionalism everywhere. What emerged for me were people, like you and me, with pride, energy, enthusiasm, goals and the drive to reach them.
So, what does this have to do with Optimism?
During the visit I witnessed “can do” in earnest and on grand scale. Individuals tasked by their organizations to be creative, to take risks, to make mistakes, to fail and then prevail with improvements and course corrections. Ideals that we aspire to here in the US. Inspirational and frightening all at once.
It reminded me of periods in America, similar to today, with political gridlock dominating the press while commerce soldiered on pulling the economy out of its funk. At the core of the resurgence were the lemonade makers, entrepreneurs seeing the silver lining in ominous clouds, identifying opportunity in adversity…optimists making a go of it.
Opportunity exists but often takes optimism to be unearthed. Progress requires enormous grit and effort to achieve and determined individuals are the driving force. Throughout 2010, while scouring news sources for hints of economic progress, I was pleased to see kernels of entrepreneurism emerge – mainly through social media and interaction. It’s heartwarming to witness many taking their “at-bats”, striking out on occasion, making contact more often than not – in some cases hitting it out of the park. Seeds, sewn during tough times, growing and providing strength for our collective economic future. Making things happen.
An optimist among us
The author of this blog offers a case in point. On first glance a builder of homes – like many others. It’s only with time that Sean’s actions reveal how deeply concerned he is with safety and efficiency, how he rises above many through diligence and study, and how he adds tremendous value to customers lucky enough to hire him.
If you’ve been following the news and find a dearth of good news, follow these folks for a glimpse of optimism – a partial list of individuals stepping to the plate, mastering the economy in their own unique ways.
As I wrote this piece my wife reminded me of a insightful quote by Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t — you’re right.” Consider this in the weeks and months to come.