20 Dec 2015

Creative Destruction and Other Fun Things To Do

0 Comment

As a child, I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time at my grandmother’s house. My grandmother who was born and raised on an Amish farm was named Jinx. While this isn’t the name she was given by my great grandparents, all those who love her call her by that name. Fast forward, to make an awesome, but long story short. In 1947, as a young woman, Jinx wound up in Las Vegas and never left. By the time I made my way into the world she had a home on the Desert Inn Hotel and Golf Course. Her house was straight out of a 1960’s James Bond film, and I’m sure “Dr. No” tried to buy it. There was no doubt it was the cool hip bad guy house. The décor was Jacqueline Kennedysque, elegant, sophisticated and stylish. For me, I found this amazing, when you consider Jinx came from a life that had no electricity, running water or indoor plumbing. I remember grandma’s home always being immaculate. Hospital lab clean…immaculate. But, there was one tiny room, off of the kitchen. It was tinier than the cupboard under the stairs that “Harry Potter” slept in. My tiny room had a box of tinker toys and wooden building blocks. This room wasn’t immaculate. And it was mine, all mine! This is where I first learned to build, to destroy and to build again.

Needless to say, as I took my place in the business world I quickly recognized the cycle of building, destroying and or replacing and building again to be the core ideology of capitalism. What drives this cyclic construction and deconstruction is the constant desire for evolution and improvement delivering, through the marketplace, greater value to us all. I believe in this process. And I’m convinced that the best way for me to contribute to the prosperity of the world, is to create a business that serves a bigger purpose, and through the success of my business enable others to be successful too. And all this will be accomplished through the process of creative construction and creative destruction.

I recently read, “Good Profit,” by Charles Koch, where he writes, “In a society with rules of just conduct, in order to benefit ourselves we must benefit others. I believe in charity and giving and I am truly grateful to those who are called to give so much of their time to non-profit organizations. However for me Adam Smith summed up the process when he wrote, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

It is when the butcher, the brewer, the baker, or the spaceship maker decides that what we have can be made better, or must be destroyed to make room for what is coming next. This choice that compels us to be more and want more, enables others to express their talents and energy in a system that is only supported by capitalism. Joseph Schumpeter, said that, “this process of creative destruction is the essential fact of capitalism.” While the word destruction may sound harsh and for many feel that way, we must embrace and celebrate changing technologies, no matter what the short term costs are. We cannot protect old businesses, old processes and anything that impedes progress and growth. Growth comes from risk. Risk must be rewarded. This principle, the underpinning of capitalism, within The United States must be protected and nurtured in our Citizens.

In life we are promised nothing, except opportunities and or possibilities. It is our responsibility to wake up every morning and work on how to become a better version of ourselves; how to develop new capabilities, both personally and professionally. To figure out how to deliver more value to our customers and to ourselves.

Just as the farmer must plant seeds to get food, he tends to his crops, every day, there is no time off. An individual, whether they are an elementary school teacher or the CEO of Apple must plow, plant, tend and harvest, forever. Or go hungry. We reap what we sow. There is no rest, ever, maybe half a day on Sunday, but that’s it. Perhaps this is the lesson all adults should relearn and what we should be teaching students.

My hometown of Las Vegas, may be the best modern example of blowing stuff up to make way for what is next. Creative destruction and creative construction at its finest. Ironically, my grandmother’s home on Desert Inn Road where I had my first experience with capitalism was razed along with the Desert Inn Hotel to make way, for Steve Wynn’s new vision for Las Vegas. While, I loved that house and what it represented to me, what I love even more is that people like Mr. Wynn, wake up every day with a fire in their belly to create something new.

I’ll end this with a quote from Dead Poets Society, “Because we’re food for worms, lads! Because we’re only going to experience a limited number of springs, summers, and falls. One day, hard as it is to believe, each and every one of us is going to stop breathing, turn cold, and die!” Seize the day! What needs to be deconstructed and or constructed in your life? You see, how we live, is totally up to us.