Published on: June 6, 2019
This commentary is available as both text and video; enjoy both or either ... they are similar, but not exactly the same. To see past FaceTime commentaries, go to the MNB Channel on YouTube.
Hi, Kevin Coupe here and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.
I recorded this week’s FaceTime video from a bridge overlooking I-95, on the outskirts of Stamford, Connecticut. A hundred or so yards away, you could see another bridge, which seemed cut in half, very much a bridge to nowhere … and in that bridge, there’s a good business lesson.
Some context. Next to that bridge to nowhere is another bridge that carries on in the Boston Post Road. In what now seems to be the great American tradition, that bridge is in terrible shape. It needs to be replaced, before it falls down on its own.
The people in charge of fixing such things had a choice. Replace it the usual way, and create traffic problems that could last months or maybe years. (We all are familiar with those road repair projects that never seem to end.) That seemed like a lousy alternative, considering that the traffic on this stretch of I-95 is generally awful to begin with.
Or, they could take another approach - build a replacement bridge next to the road, and then close everything down for two successive weekends to dismantle the old bridge and lift the new one into place using hydraulics.
That’s the approach they chose - two weekends of potential nightmares for people traveling I-95 and the streets of surrounding towns. But then, if all goes well, it’ll be over.
My friend Tom Furphy often has said, here on MNB and elsewhere, that almost every business that wants to compete these days has to endure pain - financial, infrastructural and often cultural - if they want to keep up. That’s just the way it is. But, Tom says, it is far better to move fast and endure short term pain than to drag it out … if you take the latter approach, it ends up being more painful, and when it’s over, you find out it really isn’t, because the competition moved forward, too, and if they moved faster, you may be even further behind.
There’s very little about the way Connecticut’s infrastructure works in which I normally might be able to find positive examples or metaphors. But in that bridge to nowhere, which shortly will be a bridge to somewhere, there is one - the argument that it is better to fast and aggressive and nimble than to be caught in slow and heavy traffic that never seems to get anywhere.
That’s what is on my mind this morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: