Your Innovation is Hard? Lessons from the Brooklyn Bridge

Yesterday was the 127th anniversary of the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, and I confess I love her.  To me The Brooklyn Bridge is the pinnacle of practical beauty brought to us by commerce and engineering crafted with the passion of a family dedicated to overcoming all obstacles to make the bridge a reality.  It inspired a generation of business people and artists.  Below is one of Joseph Stella's famous paintings of the bridge.

John Roebling designed the bridge and began the project in 1870, only to have his foot crushed by a ferry, and the subsequent treatment gave him tetanus from which he died.  His son Washington Roebling took over the project, but developed cassions disease (what we now call the bends) from nitrogen in the blood -- a sad side effect of their innovative use of pressurized cassons which allowed them to dig down underneath the East River for the bridge's footings.  Washington's wife Emily Roebling was a mathematician and she provided the written link from Roebling to the construction site which he largely supervised from his bed.

What dedication!  What persistence!  What commitment!

So, the next time I'm a bit frustrated by a setback in an initiative, I think I'll compare myself to the Roeblings and ask myself, "Is it really that tough?"

How about you?

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