Earlier this week I moderated a discussion with Stefan Bradl and Lucio Cecchinello titled Embracing Risk in the Pursuit of Victory. Bradl and Lucio were appearing as part of the Open Garage series hosted by Reilly Brennan, Executive Director of the innovative Revs Program at Stanford. Bradl is a rookie phenomenon in the MotoGP motorcycle racing series. Cecchinello, also a successful motorcycle racing champion, is an entrepreneur who is CEO of LCR Honda MotoGP, the racing team that enters a motorcycle for Bradl in MotoGP.
Live discussions are always an exercise in improvisation and serendipity. As a moderator, you can frame up a discussion, but you've got to go where the ideas take you, and weave a narrative from there. Panel discussions are jazz where as a moderator your job is to lay out the chord changes and roll with whatever comes along. Most "sage on stage" presentations are something more akin to a piano recital, less sponteaneous but beautiful in a linear way.
The point of view I brought to the discussion was that -- for racers and innovators both -- risk is not something to be avoided at all costs, but is instead a source of great opportunity. Whether you're probing the limit of adhesion on a MotoGP bike through the corkscrew at Laguna Seca, or figuring out how to design a technology to a place where it is both delightful and business viable, you're pushing for something remarkable. You can't be remarkable without taking a risk, whether that risk is financial, technological, emotional, or personal (or all of the above). Healthy opportunity, in many ways, is proportional to smart risk-taking.
I'd like express my deep thanks to Reilly for asking me to moderate this discussion, which was a big honor for me. And many thanks to all the team at LCR, who are an extremely friendly, fun, good-hearted bunch of hard-core racers.