A visual treat for your Friday, plus a cautionary tale regarding unintended consequences. Gizmodo had the story recently of the 1986 United Way fundraiser where a record 1.5 million balloons were released over downtown Cleveland. Check the photos on that Gizmodo post, they’re mindblowing.

jre5x8ny82t229bq9hplIt’s hard to fathom someone doing something like this today:

Then the “asteroid field” of airborne debris clouded the sky, shut down a runway at a local airport, interrupted Coast Guard attempts to rescue a pair of fisherman, spooked some prize-winning horses, and generally made a mess of un-biodegradable garbage on land.

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David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


1 Thought on "Balloons, Cleveland and Chaos"

Seemed like a good idea at the time…! 🙂

In fact, it is a cautionary tale precisely for that reason. It’s not uncommon for us (all of us, any group) to get caught up in the idea, the planning, and the hard work of implementation; we have the thrill of the momentary beauty of the thing we’ve worked so hard to create – only to discover that we hadn’t really thought through how this would affect the larger social system.

And, of course, we have no control over the weather.

Granted, we can’t delay every change – every grand idea – until there is complete certainty of how it will unfold, but it’s good to have the reminder to pull back from the dazzling vision and make sure there’s a solid plan.

[insert the industry-changing idea of your choice – past or present]

Dream big – plan well.

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