12 Jan 2013, Posted by Jennie in Writing, No Comments.
I grew up in Northern California. Although, I was born in Seoul, Korea and moved to California with my father when I was three, I always found the Bay Area to be my home and what a special place to be–great weather, surrounded by nature’s beauty, relaxed, yet always changing. My father worked as a computer scientist at Lockheed in the early 80′s, if you’re familiar with Mountain View, it was inside the Moffett Field. And well, during the weekends, he would love to visit new places through out the Bay Area. One of the places we frequented was the Golden Gate Bridge.
What’s unique about bridges in general is its nature. A structure that joins two otherwise separate pieces of land, yet at the same time enhances their separateness. What’s also especially striking about the Golden Gate Bridge is its depth of color, a deep orange similiar to retiring sunset. Although, it’s not the longest bridge to date, its suspension is the tallest.
The first draft proposal for the bridge was made in 1916, however, it wasn’t until almost twelve years later the actual construction started to take place. One of the turning points that made it possible was through a bond measure by the residents of six member counties (SF, Marin, parts of Sonoma County, Napa and Mendocino). These counties agreed to collectively take out a bond, which back then was considerable (35M) and they put their homes, businesses and farms as collateral to support the bond. When it passed, it paved the path to build what would be one of the world’s most iconic bridges of its time.
This part of history can be an early indicator of the crowd-funding trends happening today. Every day people making accessible the realization of projects, dreams and innovations. People coming together to solve real problems as well as validating values and needs.
Even though the bridge was built almost a century ago, it’s not so different from the idea of start-ups. Someone had an idea and gained consensus around it to make it happen. Of course, there are differences like a localized community effort versus a global community that exists mainly online.
Historically, anything meaningful was also met with resistance. Jospeh Stauss experienced this early on but the reminder here for me is the wisdom that can happen in crowds to solve a problem. A good book that I read many years ago, The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki gives some interesting examples as well.
Note: Wisdom can be gained from crowds under certain circumstances ( not all crowds are wise ). So, be your own change-maker.