Ravaged or rebuilt?

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Just when we think a tradition has been ravaged it’s often time to look at what might come from its rebuilding: Landlines to cell phones. Trains to airplanes. Horses to cars.

In May of 2011, my son, Lon, sent me an email. “Your friend Seth Godin’s speaking in Seattle. Wanna go?” in 2011 I had never seen Seth speak and knew him only as an email friend. Sure. Why not.

His speech changed my life and the direction of our company forever. I cannot remember his exact words, but I certainly retain their message. He spoke of the internet and the massive changes that it brought to the world not as a disruptive threat, but as an amazing opportunity for those willing to take another viewpoint. This was completely new to me and I hungrily consumed his every word. Instead of running away from the changes in retail distribution brought on by the internet—perceived by most in the industry as a pure disaster unfolding before our very eyes—Seth put forth the idea the internet was the single biggest opportunity of all time—on par with the advent of the printing press. The World Wide Web was a democratized opportunity for a small voice to be heard over the din of millions.

At the end of his talk he looked the crowd in the eye and asked a haunting question. “What are you doing with this golden opportunity?” As I flew back to Boulder his question haunted me. What was I doing with the opportunity the web brought? The answer frightened me. I was running away from it. Terrified of a world I didn’t understand and a marketplace that looked to be collapsing, what else could I do? Seth’s talk showed the way. The ideas he expressed on that day in 2011 shone a light on a darkening problem and proved to me it was not an oncoming train.

One week later I launched what you’re reading now. Paul’s Post. But we didn’t stop there. Last year we launched our online magazine Copper, then our daily podcasts, and our YouTube channel. All means of connecting a growing community with something they love. High end audio.

Change is tough, but there’s little in life worth doing that’s more satisfying than reaching out to community with generosity and kindness, growing with people who enjoy what you do.