The exciting Overture Opening was brought back to reality via Tom Laskin’s Isthmus article (apparently not online) on the financial challenge that several local arts groups face as they migrate to the new facilities:
Off the record, members of the local arts community have suggested that the Rep’s problems stem from lavish spending by artistic Director Richard Corley, who joined the company in 2002. But (acting Rep managing director) Fadell says that such speculation is off the mark. Problems with the bottom line had been building for years.
This quote, surprisingly unattributed reminds me of the challenges Wisconsin faces in business as well as arts.
I remember being pleased years ago, while living in San Francisco, with the can do and risk friendly business (and arts) culture. People are willing to try, fail and try again, generally without fear.
Our local culture is not so tolerant of risk and change, despite the image we try to present. In fact, we tend to protect the status quo (Overture itself is testament to this with it’s compromised facade), rather than relish in it’s demise (and therefore let others benefit – see WARF’s biotech offices in California).
It’s the rare local banker/investor that is willing to take a risk. Better to invest in treasuries, evidently. There’s plenty of cash in Madison & Wisconsin. It just needs to be put to good use, for our children.
Jerry Frautschi and Pleasant have thrown down the gauntlet. Let’s all take advantage of that risk taking. After all, there would be no $700M had they not started Pleasant Company years ago (and Jill Barad’s willingness to write the check).
Corley has certainly stepped up the Rep’s tempo. I hope he continues to push.
We already have one Miller Park….. [All Hat No Cattle]
Evan I Schwartz:
Failure is the rule rather than the exception, and every failure contains information. One of the most misleading lessons imparted by those who have reached their goal is that the ones who win are the ones who persevere. Not always. If you keep trying without learning why you failed, you’ll probably fail again and again. Perseverance must be accompanied by the embrace of failure. Failure is what moves you forward. Listen to failure.
But there are different kinds of failure. Sometimes, failure tells you to give up and do something else entirely. Other times, it tells you to try a different approach, a new route to the top of the mountain. Or it may tell you to make a detour. Sometimes, it tells you that you need help. Sometimes, it doesn’t seem to tell you anything. Linda Stone, a former executive at both Apple Computer and Microsoft, recalls a conversation she participated in with Steve Wozniak and Dean Kamen, perhaps the two best-known living inventors.
“I’ll never forget it,” Stone says. “They just were talking about all their failures, and how they both felt like failures.”1 They were almost bragging about various laboratory fiascoes and catastrophes. Given their success, this seemed extraordinary. According to Stone, the conversation occurred just before an awards ceremony. “They were both being celebrated,” she says. So Wozniak and Kamen clearly weren’t talking about their failures as a way of feeling sorry for themselves. Rather, they were identifying with a thinking strategy they both had in common. “Every failure is a learning experience,” concludes Stone, “and it should be seen as part of progress, rather than seeing it as the enemy.”
Most don’t want to see innovations fail, yet this process is essential, as Schwartz points out.