Are you willing to try little bets, maybe a thousand times and fail most of the time in order to succeed? I am and I have failed plenty of times. How about you? Early in my sales career, one of my mentors said No, means sell me again. The loudest NOs I hear are in my own head. Those are the ones I have to listen to first. As I continue to stretch every day as we work the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) and all the related community events that are a part of this conference, I bump up against my fear of failure daily.
This conference, it is a giant undertaking. For the last 10 years, as this event has grown and taken more of my time, I find it necessary to keep making new little bets. Little bets, little experiments help keep the fires of curiosity burning in the team. As the school year brings thousands of students and faculty to our community, event planners are in the same boat as I am. For example, the first Comic Con was held last weekend. My organization at NMSU is exhibiting at this conference for the Student Launch Program. We hope this little bet will pay off in student and parent interest in the ongoing space programs we are growing here in the Mesilla Valley.
Jason Crusan, Director of Advanced Exploration Systems at NASA Headquarters was invited to speak on a panel about the “real” science of space exploration at the San Diego Comic Con. They got thousands of people at their session. Jason, who is speaking at ISPCS on the little science instrument bets he has taken over the years, said he stayed an hour and a half after his talk to meet with people who stood in line to ask him questions. Most of the time technical conference sessions generate less than 15 questions from the audience. They are the choir we always preach to. The audience of science fiction, action hero fans is hungry for the reality that exists in parallel to their fantasy worlds. Jason develops new technologies, like flight systems for human exploration to the moon and Mars. He works with industry to help mature new systems through public private partnerships and to maximize assets NASA has to grow small industry partnership into larger companies.
The much larger bet we are making in our community is fueled by the will to grow the commercial space transportation industry in New Mexico. Each little bet adds up after a few years. While psyching myself out to keep pushing ahead into the unknown territory of this conference and the related space transportation industry, I read. I am not a risk taker, even though conferences are a high risk business. Reading helps me sustain through dips and curves in the road. Reading helps me clear my mind of doubt, and replaces uncertainty with information. Bertrand Russell wrote, “The fundamental concept in social sciences is Power, in the same sense in which Energy is the fundamental concept in Physics.”
If power is a fundamental part of society, focusing personal power for example, is a simple exercise in choice. Turning on a lamp is made possible by focusing electrons in the physical world. The angst of getting over the mountain of this conference each year is a constant series of little bets, little choices. The philosopher David Hume suggested this will to choose a path and follow through is crucial in transforming “is” to “ought”.
We have a university here, with thousands of students who want a better future than they might have without access to higher education. Transforming our New Mexico from this “is” a poor state to we “can” create prosperity through attracting industry is action worthy of little bets on the part of many of us. MVEDA President and CEO Davin Lopez recently reported growth of eight hundred and seventy seven new jobs in fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. “These are private-sector jobs that are sorely needed. We use an asset-based approach. We can’t compete with other states on incentives, and we can’t rely on them to close a deal,” Lopez explained. “So we have to highlight the unique assets we have in the area.” The will to create the best year in employment growth since 2007 is evidence we can make little bets, challenge failures, and keep succeeding.