From the Archives: Moving Sidewalks

Coming home from the road last week, I had the joy of riding a moving sidewalk through the airport.  I love moving sidewalks.  They make me feel like I’m finally living in the future that the Jetsons promised me.  At some point, I was struck with an analogy of moving sidewalks and Lean.

Both are a different way of getting from point A to point B.  Both are effective at moving a large group from A to B, but that only happens if everyone is moving.  We’ve all seen these things jam up when one guy wants to lounge on the walkway, usually on the left side (despite the multiple very clear signs to stand on the right).  But when everyone is working together, it’s magic.

The other similarity that struck me was stepping onto the belt.  It feels a bit wonky at first.  The speed changes, the belt isn’t quite as solid as the ground you were just on, and the handrail isn’t always moving at the same speed as the belt.  But you jump on anyway, because you’ve got places to go and the belt gets you there faster.  Once you are on, you see all the people you are passing, even the ones who are trying really hard to prove they can move just as fast on their own.  When you reach the end and step off, it’s like the entire world has slowed to a crawl, and getting from point B to point C is a whole lot more work than it should be.  Unless there is another moving sidewalk, of course.

So grab your bag and step on.  It can be a fun ride.  And if you see someone standing on the left, put your arm around them and invite them to walk with you.  Or push them over the rail.

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