What’s your Giant Leap for Mankind?
The famous words uttered by Neil Armstrong “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind”. Those words got me to thinking deeply about the small dent that we at Contacts+ are trying to make for mankind. And more so, what small dent each individual customer of Contacts+ is trying to make for mankind. And I respectfully say “small dent” because let’s get real – how many opportunities are there to place the first footprint ever on the surface of the moon?
I’ve reflected a lot about some of the more amazing accomplishments that our species has undertaken with our time here on Earth. And I started pondering, what is the greatest engineering feat that has ever been pulled off by our species? Taking into account the technology, level of education, obstacles encountered, and tools available at the time of the accomplishment. We’ve built islands, great walls, spectacular buildings, long bridges, and pyramids. We’ve placed a space station into orbit 248 miles above the earth’s surface – and for some reason, private industry has jettisoned a car through space to loop around the sun for the rest of time.
While all of those are extraordinary accomplishments, I struggle to find something more amazing than the Apollo program and putting man on the moon in 1969 (twice), 1971 (twice) and 1972 (twice). This is a mere 66 years after Orville and Wilbur made the first flight by mankind – which lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet.
To me, there are a few things that make this accomplishment incredible. The first thing is the number of obstacles that had to be overcome, in and of themselves amazing engineering feats, as the spacecraft traveled nearly half of a million miles to and from the moon entering and exiting each respective orbit. All in accordance with the approximate 350 page flight plan that detailed each step along the way. And that was done, as many people like to point out, with computers that pale in comparison to the ability of our phones, watches, and smart toasters of today.
The second thing is that when you push the bounds on engineering and manufacturing, or in undertaking bold endeavors, the unexpected can happen. The Apollo program lost four astronauts, three in a tragic incident caused by an electrical fire while testing Apollo 1 as it sat on Earth and a fourth in an incident where an astronaut crashed a training jet. Without taking anything away from the tragedy of each individual loss, which can never be quantified or remedied, when you stack this up against some of the other great accomplishments and how many people likely died building the pyramids, great walls, or suspension bridges, I suspect on the human-life scale few if any of the other great accomplishments had such a small (numerical) toll.
Finally, there was the impact that it had back on Earth. An estimated ⅕ of the world’s population tuned in live to watch the landing – at a time when television sets had not yet densely populated the world’s households. And while I wasn’t around to see the event, the many people that I talk to about it recall it with great emotion, and the everlasting impact it had upon them. We seem to live in a time where social media and politics tend to divide us as people, but the moon landing was an event that brought us, the world, together in a way that has rarely if ever happened before or since.
So again, what is the giant leap that you or your company are trying to make for mankind? Our customers at Contacts+ tend to be business executives and entrepreneurs, each of which undoubtedly trying to make the world a little bit better than they found it.
Our customers are building companies, funding companies, buying and selling real estate, providing legal services, along with a host of other wildly ranging industries. And our mission at Contacts+, our dent if you will, is to help our customers in making their dent.
As we believe that relationships, the people in your address book help define the success in your flight plan, or more aptly, your business plan. As the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing comes and passes I encourage you to think about the dent you are trying to make.