Thursday, July 5, 2007

One pizza at a time

A feeling of helplessness is a huge problem facing us all today. The sense that nothing you do will make a difference, so why try. Many people give up at the immense scale of the task of making the world a better place. There is a saying I love: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time". And I’d add – you have to get started. For inspiration as to how it works, let’s turn to the creativity and speed of the market.

One of the most successful immigrants to the United States has to be Neapolitan street food. Pizza. In the 1940s, pizza was slow to catch on, but a decade later it was taking over America, one pizza oven at a time. Today 93 percent of Americans eat pizza at least once a month! So don’t ever give up on the idea of a step-by-step revolution. There are few problems that can’t be solved if enough people commit themselves and get started. We saw it happen with Band Aid. Person by person, song by song. We see it with the removal of landmines in Africa. Not all at once, but step by dangerous step, one landmine at a time.

8 comments:

Susan956 said...

Landmines..now that creates a dual sword poignancy. I am wondering if memories and reminders of Diana pinged this.

I absolutely concur that one step at a time is how we turn and address issues and resolve them; with the caveat that if a person is capable of taking more than one step they (perhaps) should so step. For some, taking one step is soft option and I'm not always sure that suffices.

This is not about $ per se, it may be able willingness to be personally uncomfortable - to face sights, sounds, smells, experiences that fall outside one's usual comfort zone.

Away from charity I have generally found that is is easier, significantly easier, to bring about revolution for another - in other words to advocate for another party - than advocating for self. I advocate and I would sometimes appreciate similar. In a simple example, I do know that my son and I have swapped estate agents entirely in terms of advocacy. I seem to achieve things for him that he cannot and vice versa. Either there are opposing personalities here or, again, one can achieve via advocacy what one struggles with independently.

Then again Cirque de Soleil pulled dreams off the horizon into their laps.

*wistful sigh*

Must be one of those days for me.
I shall work to take succour from the thrust of the post.

Susan956 said...

Kevin wrote.. "so don't ever give up"

One of the most evocative expressions of these same words (or so close the mild difference is nothing) can be heard in the Peter Gabriel track "Don't Give Up" on the album "Secret World Live".

'Her' voice is... sublime...to borrow a term from Consul. The emotion of a partner encouraging her man..beautiful.

"Don't give up...we don't need much of anything....we're proud of who you are".

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kevin, you put me back on track today.

- ex-Saatchi employee who wishes he were back there!

CONSUL said...

Landmines and Pizzas? What a total impossible and uncompatible combination, ...or not?

“PizzaHUT presents the exclusive and explosive “ PIZZA DIANA”: the topping includes pesto, bbq-sauce, mozzarella cheese, bacon and the surprise...an APL(antipersonnel-landmine) inside the crust”..

An exclusive Pizza for all those barbarous foetus of monsters producing landmines, selling landmines, and placing landmines.

Pizza comes from the latin word Pissa and is for flat bread. Curiously Pisa is the spanish expression for Step-On-It. Step on the landmine, Pizza & Explode..

Both Pizza and Landmines are mayor businesses. Pizza&Landmines gain market share step by step, Pizza figuratively, APL literally.

I`m not so optimistic as Kevin concerning the step by step dismantling. An APL is a too low-technology,a too inexpensive weapon.

An estimated 100 million APls are burried worldwide and another 250 million are stocked in many arsenals.

In 1997, 122 countries signed the Ottawa Convention, banning APL. Right after that a Committee on Alternative Technologies to Replace Antipersonnel Landmines was created for the purpose of identifying and examining possible alternative tactics, technologies, and operational concepts that could provide tactical advantages similar to those provided by APL by 2006. Hypocrites!
CONSUL

Piotr Jakubowski said...

In my lifetime I have experienced 2 revolutions across 2 cultures. The fall of communism in my native Poland in the late 80's (I was young, but it was still an experience), and the fall of Soeharto in Indonesia during the 90's.

Under each regime, there was an unfathomable amount of stress and pressuer placed onto the people of the two societies. Whether it was the one person who stepped forward to lead the Solidarity movement, or one person who proclaimed to the Trisakti University that they were going to protest against the President, it all starts at one.

This also reflects on the heartwarming story of the girl and the starfish washed up on the shore. We need to realize that as one person, we may think we're not doing as much. But one person and one person make two, and so forth.

MTV Switch has come up with a great collection of spots in its effort to inform people about the environmental benefits of saving energy. One of the spots plays off the idea that one person can't change the world, but two can. I thought they were brilliant and relayed the message quite well.

Susan956 said...

Consul..(as you obviously know) the ruthlessness of war tends to suspend ethics, fair play and the willingness to turn away from power choices.

And of course fear plays a role also.

Susan956 said...

piotr.. I think it also the case that people who say, express or act individually make an impression (of course this then means the door opens for those intent on taking advantage of others, as much as it suggests positive evolution).

I was fascinated by a corner apartment block not to far away that had plastic bags tied to each second fence primary post. One day I had to park near there and watched several with alcohol cans in brown paper and so on, stop, finish their drink and put the empty container in the bags.

I am actually intrigued by this. The apartment block has found a solution to people just throwing rubbish in their grounds. They seem to have figured out the correct ratio and placement of bags. But the most intriguing aspect is that people are using them and not just hurling their rubbish into the yard anyway. I wonder if the receptacles were some formal council provision whether they would be used as well.

Again, I think it fascinating that people respect the provision of the bags and use them.

And so we have a window of and into information from the activity of one to resolve a problem.

Kempton said...

Hello Kevin,

I finally found this quote in response to your posting. I would love to share it with you and your readers.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead

Best Regards,
Kempton

P.S. I first read it from Bill Buxton (from his article and again in his new wonderfully insightful book, "Sketching User Experience - getting the design right and the right design". Highly recommended book.