A stack of random maps has been accumulating on my desk. And by random, I mean informative depictions of the hiking trails around Muir Woods, the lago di garda region of Italy, and the Brooklyn bus routes.
My intention in collecting these was to adorn my walls with them. Often when I search for writing inspiration or just when I need to clear my mind, I like to take a step back and simply stare at the walls in hopes an epiphany might arise. With the maps there, maybe the winding travel routes will somehow lead my brain somewhere new.
The maps also serve as a convenient visual metaphor for a topic that has recurred often in my recent conversations with industry members from across the spectrum of age, geographies, and occupation. They have inspired me with their passionate engagement on the subject of where we’re going next. We’ve been at a crossroads for sometime now, and people have come to accept that and are looking to forge a path forward. Yet the question remains, which way?
I think we’ve been asking that question for a while now. There are plenty of ideas too: managed services, recurring revenue, open platforms, content creation, exceptional experiences. There are pockets of success along all of these. I might argue that there’s a lack of uniformity, and that scares people.
Something else I think scares people is the potential for stumbling blocks. How do you commit to an idea, get all your people behind it, and push forward without any inkling of doubt? I for one spend a lot of time and energy ensuring that I avoid errors, having been rattled so severely by them in the past. It’s never pleasant at the time, yet it is intrinsic in the process of taking risks, creating, innovating, and ultimately, growth and progress. It was an unwitting theme I discovered throughout this issue of SCN, from the speakers at AVEC and the stories of this year’s Hall of Fame class. Success is not achieved without making mistakes.
Despite my fear of being due for a mistake, looking back on the past year as editor of SCN, the magazine is still standing; our online audience continues to grow. I feel good about all of that in a year that’s been filled with unknowns for me. Having lacked any major misstep, opening a new calendar year, I find myself staring at maps. It’s not as simple as plunging into the void—that feels too much like 2015. Instead, I’m ready to strategize, chart a new course, and prepare to face a changing landscape.