Vail Valley Partnership forum focused on the future |

Vail Valley Partnership forum focused on the future

Michael Kurz
Vail, CO, Colorado

Tiparillo, DeSoto, hi-fi, three on the tree, vacuum tubes…

Know what I’m talking about? Probably not, unless you’re more than 50 years old. The only use for this stuff today is as museum pieces. But back in the day the above-mentioned stuff was some of the best technology available.

We still see products come and go, change seems to be coming faster than ever. You can be assured that many of today’s gadgets, no matter how well-conceived, will eventually become footnotes in history.

Shall we reminisce? I’m not old enough ” yet ” that I’m going to spend much time lamenting the loss of an arcane widget. Nor am I the type to surf the Web looking for the first signs of the debut of the practical jet pack or the transporter of Star Trek fame (although I admit that there are days when a hand “phaser” with a stun setting might come in handy). Nope, I’m pretty much committed to working with today’s reality. The operative word here is “reality.”

I think a lot of us today, not abnormally, look around at what’s happening with the economy or the government, or mass media, or the real estate market and long for the good old days ” a time when we thought we knew (maybe naively) what to expect or how things would play out. That’s not the case today. Things change so quickly now that even the trends gurus and futurists seem to have fallen out of favor. Whatever happened to the regular missives from Faith Popcorn and John Nesbitt? So, while some call this period of trend-forecasting “mediocre” or a “breathing period” what are we to do? I have a suggestion: Let’s work with what we’ve got right here, right now.

I was at a meeting some weeks ago when one of the panelists, obviously weary of questions about what’s coming, said plainly. “I don’t know,” adding “our experts don’t know, either.” So, what he decided to do was to put a little less emphasis on the forecasting and work with what was in front of him.

An analogy might be this: Suppose you’re a professional dancer and you’ve been asked to perform in a week. Trouble is, you don’t know what dance you’re going to be asked to perform. Impossible to prepare for such an event, you say? Not if you’re a pro. A professional would practice all the dances in his repertoire, have all the appropriate costumes ready to go, get as physically fit as possible and be ready to perform at a moment’s notice. After all, a gig is a gig. That’s kind of what we’re suggesting at the Vail Valley Partnership. So, we’ve built a theme for the Vail Valley Business Forum July 30 to address just that issue: “Enough Guesswork, Here’s the Plan.”

I invite you to save that date. Rob Katz, Chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts, will keynote the event. Panelists kicking this inspired idea around will be Don Elliman, director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade; Dave Murphy, Chief Revenue Officer, Denver Newspaper Agency; John Ikard, President/CEO FirstBank Holding Company and James Kauffman, Executive Vice President, Western Region, Marriott International, Inc.

I think this will be a great place to find out what executives with a lot of responsibility for their organizations’ success are doing now to lead the way forward, even if they don’t know which way the path might turn. So, for now, fire up your Kindle, plug in your iPod and sip your acai berry cocktail. In a few years, I’m sure they’ll be nothing more than answers to trivia questions.

Michael Kurz is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.

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