Under Construction.

Rola Staff
February 2022

Written by Tyler Gebhart

Rola CEO Tyler Sells and I have been working out of a single, 50-square-foot office in San Diego for the last week. 

As a part of our acceptance to the Blackstone Accelerator Program, the Rola team has access to a beautiful, state-of-the-art space on the UCSD Campus. It's called the Design and Innovation Building, and it's been inspiring us to design and innovate like crazy.

Both Tyler and I have been spending a lot of time in this room recently. From roughly 9am to 10pm we can be found in Office 454 writing, typing, brainstorming, and occasionally screaming.

454 has an interesting layout. There are two wooden tables thrown against each other, parallel to the door, and on either side of the tables there are two yellow chairs that face each other. When sitting at these chairs, turning your head to the left reveals a long whiteboard, while a swivel to the right unveils our favorite part of the office: the TV and camera system. We'll get to this camera at another time...

Interestingly enough, this post is not about Office 454, and it's not about the yellow chairs, whiteboard, or TV. It's about what's directly outside of this room.

When you look out of our window, you can see a massive construction site. UCSD is building a sprawling outdoor amphitheater with a colossal stage and a capacity of 3,000 people. Needless to say, it's a huge project, and Tyler and I have often found ourselves mesmerized by the bee-like tendencies of the construction workers.

Specifically, we were captivated by the way that the workers moved dirt from one end of the site to another. Amidst all of the tumult of construction, dump trucks would saunter down the hill, fill up their box, and then head right back up. Here, they would deposit the excess dirt in case it needed to be used in the future.

From our vantage point, Tyler and I thought that this was ridiculous. Why spend thousand of dollars simply to move the dirt 100 feet? Why not finish the job and deposit it off-site somewhere? It seemed like the dump truck was not being used to its fullest potential.

However, as I was thinking about it later, I realized why this is a crucial step to the construction process. While Tyler and I were thinking about wasted resources and lack of optimization, we overlooked a profound realization: the dirt isn't a liability, it's an asset!

Sometimes it's easy to want to optimize everything and embrace total minimalism. It's easier to feel in control when you only have a few things to worry about. However, it's dangerously easy to "throw the baby out with the bathwater" (to put it colloquially). Oftentimes, the issues that are messiest, and the problems that just won't fit conveniently into your plan, are the things that save you in the long run.

Tyler and I have no idea what that excess dirt will be used for, but my guess is that it'll come in handy soon.

So, don't limit your resources to one purpose. The odds are they'll be useful down the road.