The last Einstein quote that I’ve selected for this series (pardon the one week break) is this:
A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.
I have been busy being clever. Very clever in fact. And I used to think clever was good, until I read this quote on @AlbertE_Quotes on Twitter.
I have made my living for the past 18 years running a strategic consulting firm known as Solutionz. We solve problems for people. And after nearly two decades the light now comes on. I should have been helping them avoid problems, not solving them.
When you are simply a problem solver, people come to you, get their problem solved and then they are gone, off to the next thing. That is, until something else breaks, and then they call you again.
While lucrative, this could be why I finally decided to focus on building things (companies, technologies) for myself. While it can be a tad painful to self-fund your dreams, it is way more satisfying.
The rest of my industry [the travel industry] is trying to figure out how to keep making money in a very crowded, commoditized space. They are trying to solve the problem of how to have a sustainable business where each day more and more companies are entering their space and at the same time, the product suppliers (airlines and hotels as the prime vendors) are trying to sell directly to the customer, the traveler.
I recently discovered this clever cartoonist, Reza Farazmand, who takes simple concepts and puts them into humor. Sort of a happier version of Dilbert (if you can ignore the uncensored language in some of his work).
I had to actually look at this cartoon, entitled Jetpack, a few times. The first time, I was in the “head” of the girl, thinking he needed to stay and work things out. Since I am a girl, that was the natural thing to do.
Then, I thought about it from a business perspective and thought of the dialogue that goes on every day in my industry about the status quo.
Let me give you a tangible example. After 34 years of automation in the travel industry, the largest companies in the industry, known as Global Distribution System companies (or GDS), are still focused on air travel. I had to laugh in a recent move by Travelport to “rebrand”, they decided to make a change from calling their hotel, car and ancillary products group “non-air” to “beyond air”. If they were really moving beyond air, they would change their product focus from the air traveler to those that drive (who make up 85 percent of all trips in this country). It is this kind of thinking that 34 years into it, still has them 90% dependent on airlines for their revenues.
So back to Reza’s cartoon. In that dialogue, I am the boy with the jetpack.
Stay tuned for the launch of our new product on the 1st of July that will take us not only way “beyond air” but will actually help travelers plan their trips to where they really need to be.
I totally can and it will in fact be AWESOME!! Thanks @