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The World’s Fastest Elevator

Here I am in San Diego attending DistribuTECH, North America’s Largest utility-focused summit. Here, I will meet a lot of people and see all the new things vendors are offering. If you know me, then you know I get more than a little excited about everything new. This is going to be a great week.

Today my morning started on the “World’s Fastest Elevator.” I’m staying at the grand old Ramada, built in 1912. The elevator was installed in 1913. It got me to the third floor in a record-breaking 60 seconds. Okay, not lightning fast, but something about this wonder of an elevator intrigued me.

New is always welcomed. Humans invent, innovate, imitate, or improve. It’s as natural as night and day and we should keep this appetite alive. Every attempt to build something new should be encouraged. The natural drive to innovate is what helps businesses grow and sustain.

The super speedy 1913 elevator is admittedly not very awe inspiring today. But then neither are many of the inventions that we encounter and take for granted in our daily lives. We don’t stare in amazement every time we switch on a lightbulb. But, oh how that light bulb changed our world.

From a customer standpoint, I felt the hotel had nothing more to offer today beyond the grand legacy of an elevator that once was. 100 years later, the elevator is the only thing that stood out at the hotel. Not the service. Not the rooms. (Don’t even get me started about the coffee). The plaque bolted to the wall of the elevator was my only indication of the greatness that once defined the hotel.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s good to celebrate historical accomplishments. When you achieve something great, a lifetime of bragging rights is yours for the taking. It’s not good, though, to ignore the present. Every business needs to have its story. Fine if that story starts 100 years ago, but a better story is one that connects to the present and helps build the future.

The elevator taught me something today. Every great innovation will become ubiquitous very soon. New only lasts for a moment. The value of a legacy lies in connecting that brilliance to the present and future. The value lies in connecting with needs and experiences and moving customers forward.

 

Author:

Chaitanya Challa
CO-Founder & Director.

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