Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE Menu


The Chautaugua: The Feld Men’s Trip

Feld M.D, FACP,

Two weeks ago
after I wrote “A Tribute To Jack Feld”, I received a bunch of requests to write
about the upcoming Chautaugua we had scheduled at the Aspen Institute for this
year’s Feld Men’s Trip.

The Tribe Aspen Institute 8 2012

Left to Right: Daniel, Stan, Kenny,
Jon, Brad in front and Charlie. There was no room on the rock for Brad so he
was pushed off.

Our private
Chitaugua took place August 23rd-26th. Each of the 6 of us had 2-3
hours to talk about anything we wanted. During that time there would be
discussions and reactions to the ideas each of us presented.

My brother,
Charlie Feld, requested that he go first and that I be the cleanup presenter.

I figured
that was good because I would try to pull everyone’s ideas together.

distributed statistics about the United States for the last 70 years.  There are many categories that can be compared
such as population, the unemployment rate, the national debt and the baseball

The only
thing that remained stable was that on August 23 of each decade the New York
Yankees were in first place in their league or division.

The major
point that was made was there has always been uncertainty and change in the

change has accelerated social, political and economic change.

PC’s are 30
years old. Smart phones are 12 years old. Our son’s kids don’t know what a
typewriter is. Imagine the rate of change in the next ten years.

We did a
lot of imagining.

concluded that change is not random. Technological change has stimulated innovation,
which in turn stimulated more innovation.

evolves, and initiatives are started. The ability to change and progress lies
with Americans’ individual freedom.

The U.S.
constitution gives Americans these freedoms. We must protect these freedoms.

My son,
Brad Feld, was next. Brad is in the midst of creating a “Start Up

He just
finished a book called” Start Up Communities, Building an Entrepreneurial
Ecosystem in Your City.”

Brad spoke
about the value of entrepreneurial ecosystems. He outlined how networking can increase
the efficiency of all organizations.

He stated
that society is in the process of changing from a hierarchical society to a
networked society. Hierarchical society was an invention of the industrial
revolution. The networked society is an outgrowth of the Digital society as we
progress through the  Electronic

He also
spoke about the importance of social networking to communities and the vital
need for mentees to become mentors in their community.

community should become a non-zero sum community to enhance innovation in the
community. Community meet-ups are vital to enhancing entrepreneurial

For more
details, buy his book. I think it is great even if I am his father.

The level
of the discussion of the first two sessions overwhelmed me. In fact the
discussions spilled over well into dinner.

Jon Feld
was up next. Jon talked about the mechanism for being great at something. First
you have to have a passion for the activity. Then it takes 20,000 hours of
intense practice. Sometimes putting in your 20,000 hours does not result in

Jon talking
Daniel Feld
is missing because he is taking the picture. Jon  is speaking and Charlie, Brad, Kenny and Stan  are listening.

He gave us
examples. The discussion then went to kids and their inability to be exposed to
multiple activities because of the intensity of competition.

The lack of
concentration on one activity puts them too far behind children who have perfect
one activity.

examples given were basketball, baseball, piano, orchestra playing, dancing, singing
or acting.

children of today must concentrate on becoming expert in one activity and make
the grade in middle school or high school.

I remember
being perfect in nothing but exposed to everything. I wanted my boys to have
the same exposure. It worked.

In my view
a one- dimensional exposure to activities can be stifling when a child reaches

combination of a one-dimensional child exposed to fierce competitive stress can
burn out a child rapidly. If the parent is living through the child’s success
is can affect the parent/child relationship.

 “Kids are
people too.”

I reminded
the guys that my father said to me “I could do anything I wanted as long as I
became a doctor.”

reminded us all that I said to him, “he could do anything he wanted.”  I ended the sentence there and he appreciated

discussion lasted a long while with lots of great ideas and opinions.

Kenny was
terrific. He analyzed the way he problem solves. He is very perceptive and very
optimistic. We discussed decision making in the context of reality vs. fantasy.

discussion became deeper and deeper as we progressed. This enhanced our bonding
with each other. Jon brought up the concept of the six of us being a tribe and
something special was happening here.

asked us to define the meaning of charitable giving. Of the six of us Brad’s
concepts and methodology wins the prize. He and Amy have done a lot of thinking
about the concept. They have developed a well-designed plan for giving.

There were
many meaningful ideas presented.  We all
agreed that charity was a lousy word. The common denominator should be that
giving be self-satisfying.

I was the
cleanup hitter. I started off by saying a mentor somewhere along the line gave
my brother and me the thirst for lifelong learning. I have learned from this meeting
that we have somehow transmitted this thirst to all four boys.

 I also said
we all have to be involved in our community whether national or local.

statement pressed my Repairing the Healthcare System button. My brother is a
fan of my concept.

 The boys
understand that the healthcare system is self-destructing. There is nothing
anyone can do because of the political irrationality of the day.

My point
was we should never stop trying.

This led to
the last question. Which character did each of us identify most with in “Atlas
and why?

I will leave
the answers for another time.

It was a
fascinating weekend. When I spoke to Cecelia during the weekend all I could say
was it was a phenomenal weekend as I was savoring the concepts discussed.

Wow. Same
time next year.

Charlie and Stan 8 2012 Aspen institute

 My Brother
and I discussing the progress of the Chautaugua at breakfast

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone

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    Dad – you did an awesome job of capturing the essence of The Chautauqua. Wow. Chills.

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