Playing The Infinite Game

Simon Sinek’s newest book is terrific.

The best things in life take time.

Relationships deepen over time— if we tend to them.

Gardens thrive with constant vigilance.

The same holds true for businesses, organizations and communities.

We have to play the long game. We have to avoid the day traders.

I recently finished a book by Simon Sinek entitled “The Infinite Game”—which implores us to take the long view.

In case study after case study Mr. Sinek shows us how businesses focused on the endless/infinite horizon succeed where those with finite or zero sum mindsets fail. Oh they may have initial success—a day trader hits every now and then—but they always peter out because the game never ends. We must always plan for the future beyond us.

This sounds logical but in a world that values the next quarter or the next election or the next big game it’s often challenging to think infinitely.

But we must. Or we will fail.

This past week, I read stories about how the insurance market in California is unable to underwrite the risk posed by wildfires.

I shared on my social media, a heartfelt video made by my daughter’s college friend who lives in wildfire ravaged Australia which has been consumed by flames that have killed perhaps a billion creatures.

Science tells us climate change is either causing or exacerbating these and other situations including sea level rise which Delray Beach City Commission candidates discussed in a forum last week.

It will never be opportune to address these issues, but it will be necessary. Chances are any investment made today won’t “solve” or “end” the issue; those tasked with voting to spend the money likely won’t be around to declare victory. It’s also likely that victory will never be declared, we will have to continually tend to Mother Earth. It’s an infinite game.

Some of you may know that I have been involved with and rooting for a local beverage company called Celsius for about 10 years now. I’ve worked directly for Celsius and now for a large investor in the brand.

We believe in the company and that’s important because it is hard to build an international brand in a crowded space.

Many entrepreneurs get into the beverage space because if you make it, the rewards can be great.

Vitamin Water sold for a few billion dollars.

But if you scratch just below the headlines of big sales, successful IPO’s etc. you’ll find that most successes were long struggles, with hits and misses, successes and setbacks. You’ll find that the best brand builders don’t start companies to flip them—they start something because they want to change the world and that passion burns deep in their souls.

They don’t cut corners, they don’t hold back, they don’t source inferior ingredients or build shoddy products.

They dare to dream, are often told they are crazy and spend lots of time wandering the desert wondering if their toil will ever pan out but also sure that their vision is spot on.

It’s a weird dichotomy.

At Celsius, we learned that success wasn’t about running one magical ad, creating a “viral video” or hiring a celebrity spokesman (we did all three) it was about building a brand brick by brick through sampling events, distribution, consumer engagement, listening to retailers and getting close to your fans and your detractors because both can teach you things you need to know.

Obviously, there’s a lot more but the mindset has to be infinite and long term.

This is especially critical in building cities and communities.

I’m an idealist, so watching politics at any level is a painful experience for me.

How can I phrase this?
The field attracts a lot of….never mind… that’s not nice.

Let’s just say, I see a lot of hacks dressed up as “leaders.”

They shout to win the day’s scrum, go to sleep and repeat.

They are day traders and they get nothing done.

We can’t afford day traders.

There’s work to be done.

We need to play the infinite game and we need big thinkers willing to do what it takes to move the big rocks.





The Climate Like The Times Are A Changin’

I saw an old friend the other day and she told me she was considering moving back to the northeast.

“Why?” I asked. “I thought you loved South Florida.”

“I do, but I just can’t take the heat anymore,” she said.

I get it. So do the lonely unworn sweaters that sit in the dark recesses of my closet. They long to be seen.

We are coming off the hottest October since record keeping began 127 years ago and temps nearing 90 degrees continued into early November.

I’ve lived here 32 years and you don’t have to be a climate scientist to understand that the weather is changing. I don’t remember worrying about King Tides or even talking about them until recently.

As for hurricanes, well we’ve always lived in fear of them but now we are told that they will be stronger, more frequent and will move more slowly in the future which means more havoc and destruction.

But let’s back up a tad.

There are those who deny climate change despite the overwhelming science and the evidence we are seeing with our own eyes. But pick up any newspaper or tune into any news station and it sure seems like the climate is making a lot of noise these days.

Freak fall snowstorms. Record droughts. Wildfires. Super storms. Heat waves and rising seas are there for all to see or I suppose deny.

Luckily, in Florida anyway, most of the public seems to get it.

A recent survey by Florida Atlantic University reveals that most Floridians are concerned about climate change but don’t feel government is doing enough to address the problem.

Two-thirds of Floridians are concerned about the well-being of future generations due to climate change and that Florida state government is not doing enough to address climate change impacts, according to the first-ever Florida Climate Resilience Survey conducted by the Florida Atlantic University Center for Environmental Studies (CES).

The statewide survey shows that 68% of Floridians either agree or strongly agree that climate change has them concerned about the well-being of future generations in Florida. Only 28% said that Florida’s government (state, county and municipal) is already doing enough to address the impacts of climate change.

Here are some of the highlights of the survey:

  • A majority of respondents support future solar energy production in Florida (51%).
  • Almost half of respondents are willing to pay $10 per month to strengthen Florida’s infrastructure (such as bridges, roads, stormwater systems) to weather hazards (47%).
  • A majority of respondents are in favor teaching climate change causes, consequences, and solutions in Florida K-12 classrooms (68%).
  • More than half of Floridians (56%) state that climate change is real and that it is largely caused by human activity, including 44% of Republicans, and 59% of Independents, and 70% of Democrats.
  • Nearly 6 in 10 Floridians (59%) believe their household to be well-prepared for climate hazards, with survival supplies such as food, water, power generators, phone chargers and radios.
  • Most Floridians are moderately or extremely concerned about hurricanes becoming stronger or more frequent (65%), temperatures rising (61%), and rising sea levels (59%).

“Florida’s prosperity is strongly influenced by its climate,” said Colin Polsky, Ph.D., director of the FAU Center for Environmental Studies and lead author of the study. “Our warm

temperatures and abundant rainfall support our top-tier tourism, agriculture and other industries. But our weather patterns also present Floridians with risks, such as flooding and high winds.

Today, the prospect of climate change adds to our risk profile in ways we are only starting to understand. The results from this first quarterly statewide survey paint a picture of how resilient

Floridians are to the climate risks we face.”

Younger Floridians ages 18-49 are more likely to agree with the scientific consensus on climate change and its attribution to human activities (60 percent) than those ages 50-64 and 65 and over (51 and 52 percent, respectively).

“Since the early 1990s, the climate change question at the national-level has become increasingly polarized along party lines,” Polsky said. “Yet in recent years a growing number of

states and cities have taken meaningful actions to recognize, study, and address climate change. These actions are largely consolidated in blue-leaning states, unlike Florida, and the national level discourse remains polarized along partisan lines.”

Yet, the business community is viewed by a large swath of the electorate (45 percent) as the group who will, through innovation and entrepreneurship, lead Floridians to successfully adapt to weather hazards.

“In my experience in southeast Florida for the past five years, the private sector leaders are, regardless of party affiliation, are not only actively concerned about challenges linked with our

changing climate, but also committed to meaningful actions,” Polsky said. “They’re even getting impatient. Now through this survey, we may be seeing similar support statewide for climate

solutions grounded in innovation and entrepreneurship.”

It’s about time.

Or maybe it’s too late. I sure hope not.

So much is riding on how we meet this challenge.

Much of our tax base sits along the coast. So much of our population is vulnerable.

We have no choice but to try and figure things out.

Awareness is important, but taking action is critical.

P.S. Sprawl like development isn’t the answer.