“The capacity to learn is a GIFT; the ability to learn is a SKILL: the willingness to learn is a CHOICE.”

Brian Herbert

Welcome to The Adapters experience

We are here to share stories and insights from some Gutsy Genius Thinkers (GGTs) who are forging our new reality. Capturing their experiences, their successes, and their failures in their own words, we then crack the code of their revelations to decipher what characteristics and skills are required to excel, particularly in this distinct new era. 

The project actually started pre-COVID – hard to believe – in late 2019. The arrival of the pandemic forced adaption on our team. The words and wisdom of our GGTs were what we aimed to gather even before we had heard of what the scientists officially named SARS-CoV-2 and what we have all come to call the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. Compiling and analyzing such information has always been of interest to travel, tourism and hospitality (TT&H) veterans Sean and Glenn, but it seems now that the “capture, examination, and release” of experiential information is more important than ever.

The world is facing an inflection point. It’s a time rife with challenge. For many, it’s been overwhelming; for some it still is. But not for our GGTs. Well, in all honesty, they may have been overwhelmed or still struggle with instances of semi-paralysis of thought or action, but they have sucked it up and are still moving forward. Even in the fog of uncertainty that surrounds us all at this moment, this group sees unbridled opportunity and continues to adapt and innovate.

Sean and Glenn have brought some of the thoughts, passion, and purpose of these GGTs to life in The Adapters, shining a light on just how their adaptions and innovations came to be—and how they are now utilizing their experiences and their strategic methods to confront the previously unknown challenges that COVID-19 has brought.

Our team at The Adapters are lifelong learners. As a former adjunct professor at New York University, educating others and himself is in Glenn’s DNA. He keeps dialing up the energy and the scope of topics on his online show, No Vacancy. If you want the latest news from the TT&H world, Glenn’s got it and the experts who can give you the backstory, as well as what’s coming next.

Sean has taken his business acumen and travel tech skills to a new level. Lately, through his T5 Strategies business transformation and travel tech advisory firm, he’s been offering insight and practical suggestions on how to approach so many of the issues facing both start-ups and established companies alike during this time of stress.

You’re going to read a lot about the 4th Age of Change in this work. The 4th Age of Change is upon us. George Friedman’s recent book, Storm Before the Calm, offers the theory that highly disruptive institutional and socioeconomic cycles occur every fifty and eighty years, respectively, in the United States, and that other countries experience the same types of disruptions but along different timelines. The big difference today is that all this change and upheaval is happening concurrently with a global pandemic.

With all of the tumult that we have experienced since the start of 2020, it’s hard to remember that this age of change, and our turn on the change wheel, predates C-19—by a lot! Let’s reflect for a moment.

A few years back, the decision by the UK to initiate its withdrawal from the European Union (the so-called “Brexit”) raised awareness of a growing distrust in governments and institutions. The consequences of the protracted decoupling from the Eurozone have yet to be revealed, but it’s already proven to be a destabilizing and disruptive force. The election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the US upended the norms of conventional presidential behavior and the traditional interactions the US had with both its own citizens and other nations. The divide between the inhabitants of both the left and right of the political scale in countries around the world has only widened. Couple all that with C-19, economic crises, protests around the globe, concern about the environment as natural disasters become more frequent and more severe…well, you get the picture.

Now add in other drivers of change, such as the acceleration of automation, instant information (Instagram), and AI (Alexa!), and robotics (iRobot, Roomba). The 4th Age of Change may have started a relatively slow journey about 500 years ago in the time of Leonardo DaVinci, but all of these factors, and more, have certainly kicked things into high gear—and we are nowhere near the apex of this age, yet.

We expand on this topic in chapter two to contextualize why the 4th Age of Change has already begun, as the transition from one age to another is part of the process. This is the foundation upon which we will be building for many years, however murky and soft-footed it may be. After all, we homo sapiens have been adapting and innovating for epochs, evolving from caves to the three-bed semi-detached; from huddling around the accidental fire to decorative, remote-controlled fireplaces; from grunts to Shakespeare; bison bones as chisels to complex machinery; from foraging to farming; isolated groups of hut dwellers to cities of every size; from cautiously wandering off a bit on our own two feet to far-flung journeys by motorized transport for the sake of learning, experiencing, or just plain fun; from looking to the stars to exploring them. If all that incredible change and growth weren’t enough, it’s near-impossible to even come up with comparisons from the past to really highlight today’s innovations in knowledge, efficiency, and cryptocurrency.