Editorial March 2013
Of Visions and Their Implementation
Work smarter, not harder. How many times have you heard someone say this, or said it yourself? More than once, I suspect. But how often are you actually able to do it? Working smarter, not harder. It’s a great idea, but it’s often far easier to talk about than accomplish.
To be sure, this was not how I once saw things. As a young boy, I can distinctly recall believing that the hard part of solving any problem was figuring out how to do it. Once you came up with that, the rest was busy work. As a result, I was mightily annoyed when my teachers expected me to follow through on my brilliant insights by actually doing the work required to complete the assignment. What a waste, I thought. How could they possibly think it was more important for me to finish such trivial paper work than to spend my time generating more brilliant insights that might benefit all of humanity?
Now that I am older (considerably) and wiser (a little), I see things a bit differently. To be sure, I still recognize the value of brilliant insights. Over the years, however, I have also become a firm believer in Thomas Edison’s definition of genius as “1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration”. Great ideas are one thing. Great accomplishments are another, and most great accomplishments require hard work, and a lot of it.
Consider, for example, the Brooklyn Bridge. As David McCullough’s wonderful account, The Great Bridge, makes clear, the visionary behind the initial plan for this monumental project, and the person who sold the idea to the powers that be, was John A. Roebling (1806-69). It was, however, his eldest son, Washington A. Roebling (1837-1926), who, taking over the project upon his father’s unexpected and untimely death, undertook the soul- and body-draining, 13-year effort required to translate his father’s vision into physical reality.
Without John Roebling’s vision there would have been no Brooklyn Bridge project. But without his son’s ferociously determined and equally visionary approach to the unprecedented construction challenges posed by the circumstances and environment in which this iconic structure was actually built, John Roebling’s vision would have gone unfulfilled. Who made the larger contribution? Historians continue to debate the topic, but perhaps we can all agree on one point: implementing visions sometimes takes a lot longer than coming up with them.
And so, my friends, we give you Choice Reviews Online 3.0 . Launched this past month, it’s not a Brooklyn Bridge. It has, however, been far longer in the making than either we or our partner, HighWire Press, anticipated. This is not, we believe, because of any flaws in the vision but rather a consequence of practical challenges posed by Choice’s unique data structure. And just as a successful bridge is one that ordinary folks are able to use without worrying about how it was actually built, so we hope that you will find CRO3 a functional and user-friendly collection development tool that can be employed without your having to worry about any of the issues that delayed its birth. Those, after all, were our problem.—IER