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Jul 10

Technology Going Downhill

Posted by: Phil Reed        
 

Like many venture firms, we usually spend most Monday mornings in a partners meeting where we discuss a range of topics that pertain to our business – everything from how we can help the companies we’re invested in, new opportunities we’re looking at to macro trends and new technologies. However, before we dig into those heady matters, there is always some interesting banter about how we spent our weekends.

Derek practicing his craft

Derek having fun up at Bogus Basin

Last Monday Derek Keller (a terrific young man who is interning with us again this summer) told us about his weekend of serious downhill mountain biking that ended abruptly when he jumped his bike off a 5-foot boulder face, caught some “serious air” and nose-dived into the rocky slope below. Derek and his machine parted company and he hit the ground hard before skidding to a stop well down slope. Good conditioning and preparation probably saved him from sustaining maximum damage, but the accident was serious. Concussion (his helmet did its job), cracked rib, scrapes, bruises, and 2 dislocated fingers.

Now, when you’re miles up a mountain and have to get down, dislocated fingers are a problem. Here’s where the adventure takes an interesting turn for me. This ingenious young man had the presence of mind to pull out his iPhone, access the Internet, and download instructions on how to get his fingers back in their proper sockets, fix himself, and get safely down the mountain. I wasn’t sure which part of the story amazed me most – the ingenuity of the solution or the technology that made it possible.

Derek launching off a jump at Tamarack last summer

Derek launching off a jump at Tamarack last summer

I thought about Derek’s experience all day and couldn’t get it out of my mind. The real epiphany for me is was the example of exceptional ingenuity and dazzling technical advancement, was second nature to this modest young man. It’s uplifting to think about a new generation of young, smart people whose second nature will be to embrace technology to develop new and better solutions for the problems of the world. Just as uplifting is the thought that Derek will be back at his usual 110% soon.

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6 Responses to “Technology Going Downhill”

  1. Brian W says:

    Of course the flipside is that the next generation of kids doing sports out in the backcountry will quickly ride out of cellphone range and be left with no ability to take care of themselves. I suppose that fancy neoprene iphone wrap could be used for a finger splint!

    My point is that I hope technology never becomes a complete replacement for common sense.

  2. Alicia Ritter says:

    Brian, I have to agree with you. My mind leaps to the parallels in business. It is about calculated risk. When you have other people's lives on the line, sometimes, while the outrageous thing seems incredibly inviting, the reality of it all makes you pull back. Of course, I see the distinction between extreme sports and entrepreneurs pushing the envelope in the quest to be bigger, better, faster, stronger. But, I still can't get the tug of payroll and other people's livelihoods out of my mind. Hmmmmmm…………

  3. [...] Technology Going Downhill: Great story about a mountain bike crash, some dislocated fingers, an iPhone, and presence of mind. [...]

  4. Brandon says:

    Alicia, In regards to calculated risk, reading your post made me think of this. "What is the difference between genius and stupidity? Genius has limits." — Albert Einstein

    I'm an avid mtn biker too, Ride on!

  5. Brandon says:

    Alicia, In regards to calculated risk, reading your post made me think of this. "What is the difference between genius and stupidity? Genius has limits." — Albert Einstein

  6. Phil says:

    Thanks, Kirk – although I have been around technology for longer than I'd like to admit, I continue to be amazed at how easily younger generations integrate technology into their lives.

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