Sunday, September 12, 2021

The Greatest Bar On Earth

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

I think that the day after an event is always more important than the actual event. Any event. All events. When you wake up the day after, and think to yourself - did that really happen? 

July 4th 2000 was the last time we had an event at Windows on the World. We would have our monthly BoD meetings there, I became very friendly with the staff of both the restaurant and the bar. The July 4th celebration in NYC that year was a big deal for me, for our company. We rented out the restaurant, and the bar that day. We invited our VIP clients and vendors to come to The Big Apple, to come to the 107th floor to celebrate with us. My boys were young, but they were old enough to realize that this event, this holiday was something special. During the day, we watched the "Tall Ships" coming into the harbor. At night, we watched the fireworks, by looking DOWN at them from The Greatest Bar On Earth. We all sang patriotic songs - words and music was supplied. 

We learned later, that the 9/11 attack was supposed to be during July 4th, 2000. It was supposed to be while we were all in NYC. They just could not pull it off, so it was "rescheduled" to 9/11/2001. 

I once asked a very good friend and mentor - what would he have done different. He is a little older than me, and very successful. Suffice it to say, he wants for nothing. I asked "what would have done different, what do you wish you said yes (or no) to in your past? He did not answer right away, he said he wanted to think about it.

For me, 20 years feels like 20 days. NYC was my playpen, or so it felt. I was selling car phones since the 80's but there were no smartphones. Monthly phone bills could be hundreds - even thousands of dollars. NO ONE used Skype, because the quality was poor. No tablets, laptops were heavy and very expensive. 

20 years ago, the Internet was very young. No podcasts, no YouTube, no TikTok. Audio conference was still around $0.10 per minute per person - and videoconferencing was for the Fortune 1000. There was no alternative currencies. 

The day after 09/11/2021 - today - is just like any other day. Every other day over the past 20 years. 

If my mother did not have cancer, I would have never met my wife - my mother's nurse. If COVID did not happen, or if COVID was only discovered earlier, quarantined earlier, if COVID did not leave China. What if we (still) had NO vaccine yet for COVID? What if our only defense was masks and social distancing, as of today? One recent vaccine used a new technology surrounding mRNA (basically gene therapy) that was completely science fiction 20 years ago. Now, today, we are using mRNA to shrink cancer tumors. 

Today, El Salvador decided to use BTC as a currency because their national currency had been massively manipulated, and they wanted something more stable, more measurable and meaningful. And now artists are using NFTs, which are creating a whole new way of collectibles for people to trade or share. 

Today, Zoom is a verb, allowing people to stay in touch with family and friends and work during a global pandemic. For years, technology was changing the way that we live, learn, work and play. But it took a global pandemic to force the entire world to rethink - well, to rethink just about everything

It is really easy to go down the rabbit hole of what ifs. What if Al Gore won, and not George Bush? What if COVID was crushed and contained? We shall have many questions about Climate Change, and AI, and Internet of Things. What if Trump was still POTUS - or what if Trump was NEVER POTUS? 

My friend and mentor did get back to me with an answer, about what he would have done differently. He said - nothing

Because changing anything would have changed everything. It is like the ultimate Butterfly Effect, that even the smallest change is actually the biggest change possible. 

Me: So, there is NOTHING that you would have done differently - nothing at all?

He: Nope. I would have made all the same decisions again. Because changing anything would change everything. Well, maybe one thing. Even though I would have done it all the same way - I might have been a little nicer while doing it. 

If my mother never got cancer, I would have never met Dianne. If my mother never got cancer, I would have stayed at PURDUE, and probably have gone to medical school, as planned. If my mother never got cancer, there would be no Tommy and Bobby Capone. 

The only lesson that I think worth teaching is this: you never know what the future holds. There are no small decisions. But kindness and empathy will always be the best way. You might not always get it right, but you can always be nice along the way. Be nice, and enjoy the journey. 

"Living in dreams of yesterday, we find
ourselves still dreaming of impossible
future conquests." ~ Charles Lindbergh

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