Stirring the Pot: Broadband is like owning a boat

bill fishAs originally posted in Blandin Foundation Broadband eNews

After a couple years without a fishing boat, I knew that I needed to get back out onto the water.  Like many broadband-deficient communities, I realized that life without a boat is a life incomplete.  I had tried fishing from a kayak and from shore, but it is just not the same experience.

Like broadband, there is virtually unlimited online information about boats.  Boat manufacturer, length, tiller or console, brand and size of motor, new or used, and even color – all critical choices.  Like broadband, sometimes the abundance of information only confuses.  You need to judge the expertise of vendors, sort through the criteria that you value and understand the impact of this value system on your choices.  And once you make your decision, you will need to defend it from critics, whom you may find are occasionally correct, thus requiring adjustments.

Finally, one decision only leads to more decisions.  With a boat, this includes trolling motors, electronics and fishing partners.   With broadband, technology, financing and business partners are critical choices.  In either case, selecting great partners makes future decisions easier.

Whether you are buying a boat or pursuing broadband network deployment, you will need convincing arguments to justify the investment.  For me, fishing has many benefits beyond the obvious tasty meal – beautiful scenery, bald eagles and daydreaming. Based on my usual fishing success, these joys might be the most important benefits that I receive.  As you personalize your broadband pitch, remember to include your own stories of broadband-created value remembering that not every thing that counts can be counted.

Finally, remember that implementation is critical and plans are only good until the action starts.   Without question, there will be problems.  With technology issues, I ask people if their device is plugged in.  With fishing boats, my similarly simple advice is to ask if their drain plug is in! You can see that I enjoyed my border waters opener on the St. Croix River with my “new” used boat and a nice 23-inch walleye.

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