“Billionaires…in outer space!” 10 years ago, this Wall Street Journal headline would probably have been followed by an article about a sci fi movie. But last week, the WSJ published this article about the recent trips to space by Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos. And while it is easy to poke fun at this billionaire businessman space race/joy ride, there is actually much more to their stories — not only did they launch a new type of tourism, but they will be launching satellites that can bring high speed internet to remote parts of the world. And as the article points out, other new technologies will likely ensue because, “surprises happen when smart people are trying to be the first to achieve some milestone.” I, for one, continue to be impressed with the achievements of all three of these men.
Back on earth, business owners do equally admirable things every day. We volunteer for organizations that counsel and provide loans to start ups and existing businesses that are in need or trying to expand. We lead local organizations that raise money for college scholarships, help fight disease, provide clean water for our communities and help local families. And businesses are always sponsoring schools, youth sports, and other afterschool programs.
One of my biggest heroes is the owner of a local real estate brokerage firm. Last year, Lydia Russo started a movement that has not only enabled dozens of restaurants and other small businesses in our town to survive the pandemic, but it fed our food insecure families and saw that our frontline workers and volunteers were appreciated and rewarded. I encourage you to read her story here and donate to her not-for-profit, One Neighborhood Foundation, which continues to support local businesses while feeding food insecure families, essential workers and volunteers.They also sent hundreds of free meals and treats to the troops that were brought in to protect the U.S. Capitol after January 6th. Lydia had the time, the leadership and communication skills, the money, the passion, and the vision to make this happen, and she leveraged her connections in the community to broaden the impact.
Cheers to the business owners who set lofty goals and make this world a better place …