Last week in my home state of Queensland we had an extreme weather event called Debbie. Cyclone Debbie to be exact. She made landfall in north Queensland, with winds of up to 260 kilometers an hour, March 28th.
Many homes were lost. Lives changed course. Heartbreak.
Then Debbie moved south and dropped an alarming amount of rain onto South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. Some areas experienced the worst flooding ever. Many homes and businesses have been lost. At least 4 people are dead. Not yet done, the flood waters are now rising in central Queensland, peaking today/tomorrow. Nearly a week after Debbie was spawned. Debbie is gone, but the taste of her lingers hard and bitter.
In Brisbane last week, 30/31st March, a big State Government funded SXSW type event was being held. Many speakers, investors, maybe 2000 tickets sold. As someone who has co-ordinated two similar events but at a fraction of the scale, I know just how much effort goes into these things. In this case a year of hard work. Commitment. All in.
And Thursday, the big Day 1 of the full program, was right on the day we were literally drenched with flooding rains.
We talk in business about disruption. About how to be a disruptive business. Disrupt the status quo. Become an Uber, or AirBNB. All the opportunities! Disruption is king. The holy grail of our Unicorn loving Silicon enhanced, Silicon entranced startup community. Disrupt disrupt disrupt!
And there was Mother Nature, in all her glory, giving us a lesson in disruption. All schools closed, businesses advised to go home at lunch time, and this big event announcing on Thursday mid morning that the remainder of the day was cancelled. Boom. Like that.
Businesses are going to continue to be disrupted by extreme weather events. This will not become a random occurrence. It will become regular. In all the world. And most of us know it. Feel it. Not just the weather, the economy, the political system, our relationships with our global neighbours. Disruption will be done to us, time and again.
We have to learn to not only plan for disruption, but become a dancing partner of disruption. To expect it. Move with it. Have reserves of resources to anticipate it. Laugh and play with it.
Myriad event crew did a great job of managing through this. They made it a story. They worked into the night to re-arrange the schedule for Friday. They featured a ‘Storm’ Stage.
The juxtaposition of an event about disruption/startups/entrepreneurialism being so thoroughly disrupted by the master disruptor of all, Nature, was worth noting.
Nature reigns supreme. Anytime we do forget, she not so gently reminds us.
Think you are the King of the World Mr Unicorn wannabe?
Sorry, the Lady has a different view. And she will humble us all. Eventually.