What Optimists Do in 2009

As an enterprise software entrepreneur, American, father, husband and optimist, here is where I’m directing my personal energies in 2009:

Innovate. There is no recession on innovation. Things like economic uncertainty, instability in our financial markets and the housing crisis are widely reported. These developments are clearly depressing but not under our immediate control. That is why I’m continuing to process the depressing information, but focusing my personal creativity, enthusiasm and industry on producing innovative products, services and solutions.

Participate in global and local communities. Web 2.0 has made the world smaller, which is great. Technology has made it easier to communicate, collaborate and transact business around the globe. We are all richer for these new connections. One of the unfortunate by-products of globalization is a “crowding out” of local activities, institutions and businesses. Global is good, but so is local. I’m participating in both spheres.

Contribute your abundance generously. The lessons of early economists remain true today. Specialize. Create value within your specialization. Trade your created value with others for personal and communal enrichment. What do you have in abundance today: time, skill, finances, ideas or something else. Figure out how to get your abundance into circulation.

Manage scarce resources carefully.
Optimism isn’t blind. It’s pragmatic. In a recent San Francisco Chronicle interview Benchmark Capital partner Bill Gurley wisely stated, “in market downturns, frugality is not only a virtue, but also it could be the difference between survival and failure.” Understand what’s scarce. Cash savings, fossil fuels and the environment are under scrutiny in our household.

Improve education. Education is America’s greatest industry. Our universities are coveted around the world and our commitment to providing K-12 education to all residents is one of the greatest public policy practices in human history. Sadly, public education is in need of a strategic overhaul, increased funding, better public relations and increased participation from parents and communities. Every investment I’ve made in education has provided a spectacular economic return and has made me happy. I want the same for my children and everyone’s children.

Comments and contributions to this discussion on optimism are encouraged!

2 thoughts on “What Optimists Do in 2009

  1. Great post. I’ll add one idea to the discussion. Be positive. Its easy to be angry with all that’s going on in 2009. As they say, “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

  2. Don’t forget this quote (especially timely in the dark dreary days of January):

    “In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”

    Albert Camus

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