Context is Important

Context is important, but we rarely seem to consider it. This is what’s wrong with how we teach History and tell stories, for the most part. We may do a good enough job of explaining what happened and who did it, but rarely spend many calories discussing the world around an event, or the people surrounding a conflict, or the various alternatives and what each might have offered and so on. The Civil War blah-blah-blah… and President Kennedy blah-blah-blah and by the third year of production, Ford decided to blah-blah-blah and on and on. So often the details of everything else going on around an event or a person are abbreviated or are just left out completely. Most of the time this is okay. Most of the time there’s no harm. It’s expedient. Hell, if you had to back up, and back up and back up again to tell a story probably nothing would ever get passed along, I realize that. “Okay, I told you that story so I could tell you this one…” Over time, especially, a lot of those little details can probably fade some. In an age when anything can be looked up, it’s maybe not so important to know the names of all of the Abraham Lincoln conspirators, today. Maybe it’s enough to only know that […]


Ah, the GT

I love cars that should have died fifty years ago. The marketplace is cruel. When a technology obsoletes a need for something, or when even mere fashion moves from phony wood clad station wagons to SUVs and minivans, very few people are around to cry about it. When was the last time you heard someone say “Man, I sure do miss our old Vista Cruiser?” or “Boy, I wish they still made Country Squire wagons like I grew up in?” But I still love the GT; the Grand Tourer. And even though the need is gone (if there ever was one), they are still making them. The GT’s time had barely come when it was already done. The GT was born of the first evidence of prosperity, of young men with more money than sense in Europe after World War II, when what came to be known as playboys decided what they needed was a fast, efficient and semi-luxurious way to comport themselves and a paramour to the south of France in as little time as possible from some place in northern Europe. By the time the recipe was perfected the personal jet had come along and obviated the need such a carriage but since then, they have sold quite well on their styling, performance and charisma. You see, nobody […]


Technology Too

Let’s Talk About Technology Again Keeping with the idea of disruptive technology and how any of this stuff ever gets off of the ground…. A while back I had this discussion with regard to electric cars. The idea was proposed that nobody would ever buy a new electric car, because of what they are now referring to as range anxiety. The idea that Kathie and I could head off to Omaha for a little shopping, take in dinner and a movie, maybe meet for drinks with some friends of ours and then only make it back as far as Elmwood, rather than getting all of the way home to Lincoln, again. It could happen. Today. It’s rare to get more than about 200 miles out of a single charge. The Cars of Tomorrow But things are improving. Today’s electric cars are better than even the electrics of just a year ago. And there are charging stations popping all over now, too. You probably don’t notice them, and won’t if you’re not actively looking for them, but they are out there and if you have an electric, you’re taking note of these things, I’m sure. Last time we talked about how hard it must have been to sell radio commercials when nobody had radios. Can you imagine how difficult it must […]


Disruptive Technology

Last week or so I have bumped into the term Disruptive Technology a couple of times. This kind of thing has always fascinated me because it is so often the other side of the success coin. Think of all of the things that can stand in your way just trying to come up with a new way of doing something. Now imagine this new way either obsoletes an entire industry or needs to create one. Rady-Oh! I’ll give you one example. Many of you know I had a brief radio career in my twenties. In ScottsBluff, Nebraska, at one of the radio stations I worked with the second-generation of the family that started things back when there wasn’t radio, at the start of the Great Depression. The owner used to work on the air at the radio station he started all morning, then in the afternoons he would alternately go into town to meet with businesses to sell advertising—or—he would actually go door to door through the neighborhoods and out into the countryside, actually selling radios, so people could hear this new radio station. How hard must that have been? Get up in the morning and go in and present a morning radio show as if you had listeners when it might well be that it was as if you […]