Of all of Dave's regrets, cowardice and inaction are often to blame.
How to fail well? That's a question entrepreneurs and chief executives increasingly want to answer. For this issue, we highlight that topic in our corporate leadership special section, with a story (“In Praise of Failure,” P. 44) that features community and business leaders sharing lessons they've learned from their “best mistakes.”
I had the pleasure of compiling this article, which is based upon an ongoing video series we launched in January 2017. Naturally, the experience made me think about my own best mistakes: nearly flunking out of school my first semester in college (a wake-up call that turned around my academic career), a near-drowning in Lake Erie (a harrowing experience that inspired me to propose to my wife, the best decision I've ever made) and my failure to save enough money to buy parachute pants in seventh grade (my generation's sartorial Vietnam).
The exercise also got me thinking in the opposite direction: What were my worst mistakes? These were easier to identify. I'll refrain from sharing all the gory details of a lifetime of poor choices and embarrassing behavior—I need to protect the innocent—but I realized many of my biggest regrets were moments of cowardice and inaction: Not seizing an opportunity, not saying what I believed, not standing up for what was right.
Which brings me to our cover story (“The Power of Positive Thinking,” P. 10). For this month's issue, Columbus CEO contributor Steve Wartenberg profiled David Glimcher, the man behind the spectacularly ambitious, $2 billion Planet Oasis mega project. Glimcher is the son of Herb Glimcher, the longtime mall developer, and he worked with his father to turn Glimcher Realty Trust into one of the largest mall companies in the country. David Glimcher is already an accomplished man, with Polaris and other shopping centers on his resume. But he wants more, and in late June, he announced plans for Planet Oasis—a 350-acre entertainment and shopping complex with hotels, rollercoasters, a butterfly museum and a $10 million e-sports arena, among other amenities.
The size, scope and expense of the project have created a lot of buzz, including national media attention. It seems like no one has attempted to build anything quite like this before, and as I've talked to friends, colleagues and others about Planet Oasis, the question on everybody's mind seems to be: Is this thing really going to happen? Glimcher sure seems to think he can do it, as our story documents. But it's hard not to wonder if something this ambitious—it's four times the size of Disneyland—could really rise in rural Delaware County.
Regardless, I commend Glimcher for his audacity. Even if I never swim in Planet Oasis's 20-acre artificial salt-water lake, I admire him for trying something new, for sticking his neck out, for going for it. Columbus needs more fearless, true believers like Glimcher—the kind of people who are ridding the city of its longtime inferiority complex. Big dreams are never a mistake.