The Right to Repair

"If today was your last day and
tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?"
(Nickelback - If Today Was Your Last Day)


More I think about the reasons for the pandemic, I think it's about seizing the incredible opportunities that arise from being the change needed to thrive in the new, sustainable post-Covid world.   

Some of the changes will be difficult. But it will be worth the struggle. Some have said, as difficult as it is, 2020 may be the most important year in human history.

"What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for?
A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw – that it finally forces us to grow.
A year that screams so loud, finally awakening us from our igorant slumber.
A year we finally accept the need for change.
Declare change. Work for change. Become the change.
A year we finally band together, instead of pushing each other further apart.
2020 isn’t cancelled, but rather the most important year of them all."

I believe virtually everyone would like to believe this is true! More importantly, I think many people are convinced they must be part of the change to help make it happen! I invite all those who embrace the tremendous potential of this way of thinking to join us at the Timber House Resort.

We're the first of a new kind of recreational resort. We're entirely focused on the new normal. Our resort is built on the brand new Net Zero Resorts business platform. With Net Zero Resorts we offer exciting new options for tourists and vacationers, including resort-owned Waterfront Hotel Trailers, Fractional Ownership, and our locally-themed hotel rooms. Our guests enjoy a uniquely authentic connection to our local culture and cuisine, freely mixing with our seasonal trailer owners and other guests while enjoying exciting new resort amenities including improved spa pools, waterfront recreation/dining, and super-fast broadband, movies and television. 

I think making sure 2020 isn't 'canceled' requires a very particular type of struggle. It must be approached constructively and collectively by the 'like-minded' banding together. I see it as a 'right to repair' struggle.

What's that? Right to repair is normally associated with consumer products like smartphones and kitchen appliances. I think it has much to say about how we take the next steps to our new normal here at the Timber House Resort. Let me present some examples to explain it and show how it applies.

As electronic devices have become ever-more sophisticated, consumers often discover they have no control over the decision to repair or replace a device. They're often at the mercy of the manufacturer's whim as to the options they have.

It's hard to fix an iPhone without taking it back to Apple. Apple determines the fix or replace answer to a very large degree. Apple controls by limiting information disclosures and replacement part availability that would otherwise allow the device to be repaired at the discretion of the purchaser.

Courts and governments are involved, public awareness is mounting and responsible vendors like Apple may be starting to awaken. This issue runs deep and is central to many problems we face. Perhaps history will remember the right to repair movement as the birth-moment of a new post-consumer era.

Let's take government and public policy as another example. There are so many inequities in the world it's hard to imagine where to begin to resolve them. While governments have done their best to respond to the pandemic crisis, they were unable to proactively avoid such a crisis in the first place.

While it's good to hope, it's very clear how unreasonable it is to expect government to deliver real change before the fact. It's obviously not happening for climate change and wealth inequality. For humanity to continue to flourish, we must get much better at solving the types of problems that will overwhelm us if left too long. 

This is where the right to repair arises. We have a product called ‘government’. We see it not working adequately, but, much like the smartphone or the dish-washer, we can’t seem to fix it ourselves. We seem only to be able to go to the government (ie; elect a new one) to fix the government ‘product’. What seems clear is to a large extent, we must be the change and to a large extent, government must follow!

This issue occurs repeatedly across many other dimensions of modern life. In business, in the environment, in technology, and within our personal lives and relationships. Here are some more important examples:

There's the case of the ‘yellow light’ problem. Let's say you rush through a yellow traffic light, and are charged with running a red light. But let's say you are convinced you had no choice for your own safety, but to rush through the yellow light. It could be that you are correct, but what can you do?

This was the case for a physics professor at a university in the United States whose wife was charged with running a yellow light. They fought the ticket on the grounds that, given the weight of the vehicle, the sight-lines to the intersection, and the nature of the maneuver, which was a left-turn in the face of oncoming traffic, that, while fully complying with all other rules of the road, it was physically dangerous to stop safely within the time allowed by the yellow light.

When they fought the ticket on that basis, further charges were made against the husband for practicing engineering without a license. Ultimately the case went to the Supreme Court of the United States, where the couple won their case and the charges were overturned. And finally, as a result, highway traffic codes were changed to reflect the engineering work done by the couple.

They successfully asserted their right to repair.

Now let's zero in on the pandemic and the recovery we're all seeking. 

We have to find a way to repair the damage Covid has done and move towards a sustainable new normal. This has to be worked out. It can’t be handed down without dialogue and development. We must assert our right to repair. Without doing so, many new yellow light problems are on the horizon.

We can see government moving forward, but needing assistance to get to clarity on how to proceed. They are slammed with a tsunami of difficult trade-offs, contradictory regulations and conflicting demands while mustering limited resources with little time to deliberate.

We are in the midst of a massive wealth transfer from small businesses to large, from gig workers, service industry workers, tourism sector workers and all others who are struggling. Who knows where this wealth will end up exactly, but it will mainly accrue to investors with patient capital.

This is in no one’s interest in a world already teetering on the brink from inequality, and division. But one thing is clear: There is an incredible need and opportunity to create the tools to alter this outcome and arrive in a new more sustainable world as a result.

To ensure 2020 is not 'canceled', we have to see the changes, make the changes and be the changes. We must work with authorities and governments and help to light the path. We can succeed by joining together, overcoming differences and seeking common cause wherever possible with all stakeholder, especially the disadvantaged, to work together to seek our 'right to repair'.

We need to struggle productively for it by developing and offering solutions; conducting research and development; by seeking collaboration; sharing results and success; and by injecting leadership in voice and action, when we can; by sharing and giving as best we can, in support of community, and in support of our collective recovery.

We must do so to strike a viable balance of these myriad concerns. We must assert our right to repair under these terms. This is Net Zero Resorts' mission for rural resorts and the communities where they operate. One way we're helping is with our free* Net Zero Resorts platform offering! (*limited, unbranded base model - 3rd party software costs and other conditions apply.)

Net Zero Resorts' primary focus is creating strong recreational resort offerings by encouraging partnerships between trailer owners, resort owners and the surrounding community for the betterment of all. 

Our offering reimagines the trailer parks and resorts of old, operating in a fashion where interests are better aligned between resort owners and their customers, by sharing the benefits of attracting tourists and vacationers to stay in specially prepared waterfront trailer hotel units.

To ensure these offerings are extremely compelling, Net Zero Resorts invites entrepreneurs to establish Net Zero Resorts businesses that offer amenities, experiences, products and services to our Net Zero Resorts guests. These businesses can rapidly scale up with the potential to operate at many physical resort locations. They market, present and sell their offerings on our Net Zero Resorts platform and operate under our #SafeStay protocols to give guests maximum peace of mind while they enjoy our collective offerings and experiences.

In our new-normal vision, we see a wave of entrepreneurs joining us to exercise their right to repair in building this new vision. We offer a path for them to be on the right side of the wealth transfer and to create a new, safe and secure future for themselves in doing so.

Let's take the example of Connor and Victoria. Previously, this young married couple operated a hair salon in Ottawa. At 29, Connor is already a successful veteran of the service industry. He has worked as an entrepreneur in the restaurant, entertainment and beauty industries. Victoria is younger at 23 and has already built a great career as a stylist and a business partner with Connor.

When the pandemic shuttered their business, rather than sit at home, they left Ottawa for Brighton, to be front-line support to Donna, Connor's grandmother, who had just lost her husband (my father, Jack). Donna is at elevated risk from Covid, so it's great they're able to help her isolate.

Although restrictions are starting to loosen, Connor and Victoria are uncertain when they will be allowed to resume work. What should they do? Should they wait to see what government program will be revealed to sustain them? How long should they wait? Similarly, they need to assert control over their future. They need the right to repair.

In a later post, Connor and Victoria will tell how Net Zero Resorts is opening up a new world of possibility for them. Stay tuned!

So that's what we're doing at the Timber House Resort, with our new Net Zero Resorts business model. We're all about the right to repair on so many levels. We're a new kind of resort. Inviting like-minded people to join us in offering exciting new sustainable tourism options to our new local customer base. By making progress on this path we'll create a much more fulfilling resort experience for everyone and we'll be in a much better position to help our community, including our current trailer owner customers, to recover as well.