Last week, I was returning to California from an eventful week of real estate acquisition in Texas. As I patiently waited for my late night flight, I observed a ground crew direct a Southwest aircraft to its designated gate.
After the plane had come to a complete stop, a burst of activity quickly surrounded the 137 seat vessel. Coordination of fueling trucks, baggage carts, conveyor trucks, handlers, and food trucks all synchronized in a perfectly choreographed manner. Inside the plane, I could see teams of pilots, airline attendants, staff, and contractors working quickly to usher passengers off the plane. The urgency to clean and re-stock is contrasted by gate attendants ticketing and preparing a new set of passengers for the next flight. Inside of the airport control tower are highly trained air traffic control specialists, monitoring and guiding 100’s of airplanes to and from the airport at any moment. Within the airport is a dynamic mini-city with vibrant activity. In 2015, LAX had more than 61 million travelers pass through its terminal, an annual economic impact of $60 billion, and an estimated 59,000 jobs all directly attributable to, located on, or near the airport. An additional 408,000 jobs spread throughout the region with one in 20 jobs in Southern California attributed to LAX operations. All of this activity and commerce is exclusive one airport, albeit one of the larger hubs in the country, however, there are 598 other commercially active airports in the US!
The world has quickly become dependent on the airline industry that intricately impacts every aspect of people’s lives. The miraculous production of flight has evolved into a means of transportation that is now safer than driving your car. In the history of humanity, flight was only a figment of the most creative imaginations. Many cultures experimented with various forms of aviation, such as kites and balloons, none of which carried a person. Leonardo Di Vinci thought long and hard about flight. He documented many drawings of a “flying machine” such as this bat-like drawing.
It wasn’t until the 18th Century that any “aeroplane” design carried a human. The oldest existing flying device is preserved in the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum, Vienna. It is a French built reconnaissance balloon name the L’Intrépide and dates back to 1796.
However, the first real breakthrough in aviation occurred when a French sailor and sea captain, Jean-Marie Le Bris, observed the soaring flight of albatross on his trip around the Cape Horn seemingly without movement of their wings. By December of 1856 he had built the first of two gliders named, “Artificial Albatross”. The glider had a wingspan of 50 feet, constructed of both wood and cloth, and utilized hand controls to change the pitch of the wings.
Humanity is very ingenious by nature, and once there are small amounts of achievement the overall development process goes viral. It was long after Di Vinci when Jean-Marie Le Bris fathered genuine progress in aviation. Just like breaking the four-minute mile was impossible until Roger Bannister did it in 1956, Jean-Marie achieved the unthinkable and sparked a transportation revolution. Following Jean-Marie’s first flight, many other quickly began improving his design. After 1,000’s of years of virtually no progress, it only took 58 years from Jean-Marie’s first flight for entrepreneurs to develop a commercial enterprise of flying. The first fixed wing commercial air service began on January 1, 1914, from St. Petersburg, Florida to Tampa, Florida.
The rapid development of aviation is one of many examples of how people from every religious, ethnic, and regional background have contributed to advancing their society with entrepreneurial developments. Almost every invention that materially impacted humanity was preceded by years of development, trials, failures, experiments, and capital investments. Virtually every new invention leads to an entrepreneurial opportunity of creating a product or service that people will desire. Building a successful business is no harder than being irrationally curious, identifying a need through that curiosity, and the ultimate fulfillment of that need.
I believe this extended period of global economic growth will birth the next explosion of entrepreneurialism. During this time of global economic stagnation, don’t wait for government subsidies and domestic stimulus. Be curious and find opportunities to develop something meaningful which people need and will pay to obtain, whether a service or product. As noted in our previous post, The Future of America Part 1 of 2, there are 28 million small firms in the US with 22.5 million being self-employed (non-employer firms). Small businesses generated 65% of net new jobs in America since 1995 with 543,000 new businesses starting each month! Also, 7 of out ten new employer firms survived at least two years, and 50% were still in existence after five years.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME?
If you are like most people today, you are dumbfounded by this presidential election and worried about the future of America. The best defense is a good offense, and nothing is more efficient in improving your personal economy than a solid job. The best job, in my opinion, is one you own and have the freedom to develop at scale. Yes, this election is south of goofy and regulations can be frustrating. Politicians come and go, but businesses can last a lifetime or even become a legacy. You may even have an idea that will change humanity forever like Jean-Marie Le Bris!
Drop us a note with your thoughts, we welcome your input!
*Nyle edit* for a bonus, watch this Shots of Awe video by Jason Silva regarding the wonders of flight!