Published on: July 14, 2015by Michael Sansolo
Sometimes the confluence of events reminds us of how much things are really changing and how powerful new realities are for business.
In other words, we need consider the intersection of Donald Trump and "Sesame Street" and not because the latter actually has a character named “Donald Grump.”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the past few weeks you have heard of both the speech Trump made in launching his presidential campaign and the blowback to his businesses for his comments about Mexican immigrants. (For a second here, put aside your political beliefs, whether pro or con when it comes to Trump and his statements, which I know some of you might support. Let’s talk business, not politics.)
In contrast you might have missed the story that Sonia Manzano is retiring from "Sesame Street." For the past 44 years Manzano played Maria, one of the human residents of "Sesame Street" and was, as one article called her, possibly the most loved character on television.
During her long career, "Sesame Street" viewers saw Maria age, get married, have children and battle endlessly with Oscar the Grouch. Truly, she had one great - and meaningful - career.
Yet consider this: when she debuted on the show in the early 1970s, Maria was, for some viewers, the first Hispanic person they ever met.
Forty-four years ago, Hispanics were a far smaller part of the American mosaic and they were largely prevalent in just a few regions. Today, they are the largest minority, remain one of the fastest growing parts of our population. Today they are a highly sought after demographic for marketers and politicians.
Donald Trump is always must-watch television, but the frenzy following his comments is a powerful reminder of how much clout this demographic now has. Like it or not, that’s the result of a powerful change.
Our world is constantly changing and somehow it seems to be happening at an accelerating pace. Technologies that we couldn’t have imagined a year ago suddenly dominate our lives. Tastes and fashion shift at breakneck speed giving incredible rise to everything from kale to quinoa. Taylor Swift gets near universal praise for a stand against free music downloads.
Two weeks ago I doubt any of us would have imagined the overwhelming vote and support for lowering the Confederate flag in South Carolina. Things change really, really fast these days.
One more thought about this...
A few weeks back, while moderating NCR’s Synergy Conference, I had the opportunity to talk with guest speaker Mario Andretti, one of the most accomplished race car drivers in US history. One of Andretti’s stories offered a powerful, yet simple metaphor for all of us dazzled by the speed and constancy of change.
Andretti said in racing drivers love to feel in control of their car, the track and the competition. However, it’s a false feeling. As he reminded the group at the conference, when you are in control, you are comfortable. When that happens there is another driver pushing the limits of control who is getting set to speed by you.
That’s change and it moves ever faster whether in business, politics or even on "Sesame Street." And in truth, none of us are every in control.
Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available on Amazon by clicking here. And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon by clicking here.
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