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The digital future

March 19, 2013

 

We can’t wait to meet Mammoth’s new director of community development, whoever that is.

Judging by the job description, he or she will, ideally, possess superhuman powers, with an ability to juggle a minimum of 19 specific job duties and about a dozen peripheral duties.

He or she also must leap tall buildings in a single bound, and demonstrate superhuman strength, speed, stamina, invulnerability, freezing breath, super hearing, multiple extrasensory and vision powers, longevity, flight, intelligence, and regeneration.

Even all that won’t get the new director far, because the new director is going to have to work alongside people who are hopelessly mired in 20th Century thinking.

If Mammoth is lucky, the town might break free of the old thinking and move forward in ways we haven’t actually considered yet.

At the forefront of new economic opportunity is increased Internet bandwidth as a consequence of the Digital 395 project, currently scheduled to go live this coming summer.

We have no idea what might result when the engineers flick the switch, but we know enough to say that there are plenty of ’net-based businesses that will not exactly be in a rush to come to Mammoth.

 Traditionally, that is because we have not had reliable high-speed Internet connectivity, nor have the local providers even offered service to new customers.

But we see another kind of economic leader.

That person is the one who, at this very moment, is building very cool digital components over in Silicon Valley. All he or she needs is a small office, a computer, blazing bandwidth, and an amazing idea.

What’s more, the aforesaid entrepreneur would just love to get out of the clogged, expensive Santa Clara Valley. He wants to move to someplace that is remote, beautiful, and has the necessary bandwidth to complete complex computations, create intriguing algorithms, and so on.

So far, it has been a bit deflating to hear the silence with which the Digital 395 project is associated. Rather, we’ve heard a lot of the same old stuff regarding economic development.

Ever since the Digital 395 project came into focus, we have randomly polled people as to how they are going to use all that buried optic cable. Alarmingly, most people haven’t the foggiest, to use the name of one of our favorite ski runs on Mammoth Mountain.

The fact is, Mammoth is four square miles of stunning beauty, protected by federal land, living in a kind of Dark Age.

But with the advent of fast bandwidth, all kinds of things are possible, and we hope the new director of community development is up to speed.

We have a sinking feeling, though.

In the job description for the new director of community development, there is nothing we can see that would require a cutting-edge mentality; there is nothing that speaks to a digital future, and there is much that urges a kind of conservatism, in line with economic stagnation of the past.

Here’s hoping that the new director of economic development has the agility to leapfrog over the heads of most of our current leaders, and forge a role that speaks to the future.

We’re starting from behind, and we need to catch up fast.

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