Trading magic for stability

May 8, 2018 by
our bar newest

Just in case you missed it – Seth Godin blows my mind – not all the time, but when I really need him to.

In the early days of business, when every night had a 3AM panic attack, he’d nurse me to sleep with some well played words about something. Creativity, resilience, endurance… it was all the valium I needed to keep going.

And today, as I wrestle with the next steps for Wandering Cooks, he offers me up another twist to my thinking; a whiff of orange over my Old Fashioned.

My tousle? Where to concentrate my attention. Wandering Cooks has so much potential at a larger scale. Think of the impact we could have if we took our model to other places in Brisbane, other regions, other cities…

I don’t just entertain this tousle because it’s possible. I have to because… well… our home here is not secure.

It’s true. This beautiful warehouse on Fish Lane won’t be ours forever. It’s destined by land tax decree to go to a developer capable of truly capitalising on the density prescribed for South Brisbane. 30 storeys mofo. Nothin less. In a spreadsheet of what this suburb is worth to the State, Wandering Cooks doesn’t rate a decimal point. We are collateral detail. Down the track? Sure! There might be interesting things going on right where our lovely warehouse stands right now. Interesting,  but not us, or our gardens and kitchens. We’re too unwieldy (I’m told) to be zoned for and there’s no way we’d be able to pay $600,000 a year for the ground floor once it’s ‘fully capitalised’ or whatever the jargon is.

So I try to be positive and imagine that when whoever buys our block does call in our demolition clause, and the 2 years notice starts ticking away, we’ll already be on our way to world domination.

It’s just then that Seth Godin hits me where it counts:

Bigger to feel safer

Creative institutions get bigger so that they can avoid doing things that feel risky.

They may rationalize this as leverage, as creating more impact. But it’s a coin with two sides, and the other side is that they do proportionally more things that are reliable and fewer things that feel like they might fail.

There he blows.

Don’t get big, dig in, I hear. Which is truly what I want to do anyway. I love digging in. We need to find a permanent home for Wandering Cooks, detail out all its potential within a predetermined footprint. Not get bigger, not traverse the country, but build in more detail. More relationships, more resources, more opportunities, more networks, more events, more makers, more plants. Layer upon layer, living projects intersecting the ones that didn’t make it but were still worth it anyway.

I don’t know how to keep up the beauty of such a diggin into adventure while at the same time duplicating our efforts elsewhere… and now Seth Godin tells me that maybe that’s because you can’t. You must trade in some of the magic for stability.

hmmm… how about fuck that.

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