“It is sad that so many creations today are just like the rest. It is why Porsche must remain independent. Without independence, without the freedom to try new ideas, the world will not move ahead, but live in fear of its own potential. … Committees lead to creations that have no soul, no identity. This is why no Porsche will ever be created by a committee, but a handful of people inside these walls who know what a Porsche is.”
— Dr. F. Porsche
I was in a meeting where a CEO lamented that getting things through her board is difficult—can’t remember the exact characterization. Suffice to say, allowing a board to be a board is a tricky thing. Clearly there are times when a board helps vet an organization’s process, but there are other times when in the process of creation a board is best poised to allow the process to happen in the hands of the creators. A book I read called The Visionary’s Handbook suggests that even in the big company, certain divisions should be treated as if they were very small, giving entrepreneurial power to this force of creation. This type of independence is rare, even in the automotive world.
Unless you’re Porsche.
And with that I thought back to one of my most cherished quotations from what has become somewhat of a design hero for me, the patron of Porsche. I don’t know when exactly this was said, but one things for sure, anytime through the end of World War II, the amalgamation of car companies was rampant. This process saw the end of many storied brands. But for some there was the time to double down and work to come up with that next big thing.
The 356 was one such number. A roadster prelude to my favorite car, the 911, this car had the simplicity of design and a sheer level of enjoyment to see. And if driving a Karmann Ghia is half the experience—probably half the engine—then it must have really been something.
Or… Well maybe it would be.
Right now, in Maryland, a proposal in in the legislature that would make riding a bicycle without a helmet illegal. While from the outside, landlubbers might be surprised that there is opposition to a law supporting cycling, coming from some cyclists themselves, but sure enough. Some of the state’s bicycle advocacy groups are opposing the law as evidenced in the editorial section of The Baltimore Sun, published February 17, 2013.
Cycling groups have said that forcing helmets may limit the amounts of cyclists who would ride, thereby bringing less “critical mass” and thus making cycling less safe. On the other hand, a sponsor of the bill–among them, Delegate Maggie McIntosh believes that as a rider, she has witnessed the evidence of an injury that could have been prevented by use of a helmet.
Personally, I have a hard time believing that anyone who rides out on the open road, and can do anything to mitigate injury would not want to avoid such by doing anything especially, something as small as using a helmet in the prospect that it would avoid an injury to one’s head. I’ve had a fall at thirty miles an hour where I felt the helmet bounce off the ground. I got up (relatively) happy that wasn’t my noggin wasn’t getting a bouncing … Relatively… I had a driver to curse out. Seriously. Anyone riding in a hostile environment like Baltimore City or many other big cities should be keenly aware of the dangers, with eyes wide open.
Legislation may not fill all the holes in the adhesion to such values to an issue such as cycling safety. On the other hand, while a “critical mass” of cyclists is certainly an element helpful in changing the culture of drivers’ sense of entitlement to all of the road surfaces–often stoking their subsequent intolerance of cyclists–groups of cyclists can be and are sometimes are hit, and mere numbers is no guarantee of safety. In fact, it’s deceptive to feel safe in a group when the experience of getting run over or falling is very personal, no matter how many people are out there.
Focusing on more consistent enforcement of speeders(which Baltimore doesn’t do), enforcement of the three-foot “halo” around cyclists (a spanking new law that is not greatly promoted or consistently enforced), better road surfaces (hellooo?) and increased co-habitation education ($!) would be a more comprehensive way to create a safer environment for riders. In my view, if you build that they will come.
If I could get a guarantee of those elements for the small price of wearing a helmet, I’d consider it a good deal.
When I saw “Real Football”, I wonder which readers think I’m referring to… Both are “real” in their own respects.
As much as I complain about the bloat of American Football on television, with commercials that expand the actual game to more than three times the actual time that the games says it’ll be (60 Minutes), I rarely miss the scoring, timing my breaks around the commercials.
Even if not, I am becoming a big fan of condensed formats like NFL Rewind and DVR’ing games just to cut the fluff.
Watching a European football game is a study in attention. This Chelsea – Wigan game, I missed each of the scoring, doing something, whether it was getting my coffee or other stuff.
Learning about scores afterward defeats the joy of the moment or the surprise in what may have been a dull game or the shock that an exciting game had no scores.