Better is the Enemy of Best

Recently I’ve been reading Chariots for Apollo from Charles Pellegrino and Joshua Stoff. I’m a huge geek when it comes to the Apollo space program and this is one of my favorite books on the race to the moon.

One chapter tells the story of Tommy Attridge, a Grumman test pilot assigned to the lunar module (LM) program. The Grumman Corporation received the contract to build the craft that would carry astronauts down to the lunar surface. However, the LM team kept second guessing themselves with their designs and decisions. Their line of thinking was, “This craft would put a man on the moon so it had to be perfect!”

When he arrived at the Grumman plant in 1967, Attridge focused on one question  –  “Must we build it better?” He learned very quickly that better is the enemy of best.

Enter LM-3 (lunar module-3).

An engineer finished installing the landing radar on LM-3 only to tell Attridge, “We have the best radar in the world today. But tomorrow, I can make it better because just yesterday they invented this new transistor. And if I can put the new transistor in here and add this integrated circuit. You know, now that we have integrated circuits, we can build it better.”

Attridge answered, “Sure. Why not? We can keep putting a better one in every day. Let’s see if we can’t stretch this thing out till 1990.”

Every new day brings new gadgets and gizmos. New options and ideas. Whatever project or product you’re working on, there’s probably something that will make it just a tad bit better tomorrow. And a little bit better the day after that. And a smidge better the following day. But for every thing that makes it better, it means one more day of not getting it into the hands of your customers.

Launch the new project. Start selling that new product. Stop letting slightly better control your plans.

That engineer ended up going over Attridge’s head to get the landing radar replaced. With the “better” choice came new problems as the radar kept locking up on itself, which made the new tech worthless. That choice ended up delaying LM-3 so that Apollo 8 just launched without it. That “better” choice left the Apollo teams even further behind in their race to the moon.

The Regenerative School Launch

A new educational non-profit organization has launched in Fayetteville! The Regenerative School, or Rē for short, builds on the work of Ashlei Laing and Felix ‘Skip’ Bivens who have been working in the community for several years as Empyrean Research.

“When we say regenerative, it means that together we can reconnect and build people, places and the land back up,” Bivens commented, adding:

“We’ve had a lot of success with Empyrean,” said Laing and Bivens, “but a lot of that work has been international in focus. With the Rē School, we want to focus more on issues and programs locally.”

The vision of the school is to address environmental, social and economic challenges through teaching, research and hands-on projects that build collaborative solutions to deep, persistent challenges, particularly those faced by rural communities.

“How things work now often leaves us really beat down and stretched. We want explore how to do things differently.”

Laing then discussed programs carried out earlier by Empyrean—the LOVE Micro-farm, the FLCWorks coworking spacethe Vision Teams process— all focused on adding to the health and economic vitality of the community.

Expect more such activities from Rē, said Bivens and Laing, with a greater focus on education and learning-by doing: “We are excited to be continuing this work in the community, and more widely as well.”

Visit their website to learn more about Rē or to support with a donation.

Hello FLC!

There’s a lot of us that work remotely and live here in Fayetteville / Lincoln County. Some of us work for tech companies, like I do with my job. There’s others that have a small business that needs more than a joint office and guest room space at home. Some of us don’t even have reliable, fast Internet at home. And if you’re like me, the footsteps of your kid down the hall is great until the burst into the room running with the dogs right behind them.

We all have different reasons but there’s one thing we all need – a downtown space to get work done. That’s where FLCWorks comes in.

Right now, we’ve got a space above the community garden over on North Elk. It’s on the smaller side but it’s got all the core pieces – fast, reliable Internet, space for private meetings, a full kitchen, a downtown location, and most importantly – a spot for you to get work done.

As we grow, our plans are to grow into a bigger space downtown. To do that, we’re looking for people that need a community space like this. Folks that want to get out of the house and get some work done. Or who need a place to meet with clients. Or who needs a setup to hosts groups and classes.

Longer terms, we’re hoping that this community space helps revitalize our downtown area. The work being done already by some of us is great – new restaurants, new businesses. And I think we can do even more, starting with this coworking space.

So that’s what we’re up to with FLCWorks. It’s just starting out so if you need a space to work downtown, this is a great time to get involved.

Get in touch with us and upgrade your workspace by joining ours.

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