Apple Fifth Avenue opened in May 2006. It’s one of Apple’s flagship locations. You’ve probably seen it. The store itself is located below street level, but above the street, it’s marked by a square glass cube, transparent on all sides.

The original designers realized that the cube couldn’t be constructed out of solid glass. The sides would have to be solidified at the corners by metal joints.

As the story goes, the original designer presented the design to Steve Jobs, who responded that the steel joints would have to be smaller, less noticeable and obtrusive.

The designer responded by saying that physics wouldn’t allow it. Scientifically, his was the only design that would work. The cube would look his way, or no way at all.

Jobs sat silent for a few moments, his head bowed in thought. Then he said, “I understand you can’t make those metal joints smaller. I guess I’ll just have to find someone else who can.”

George Blankenship, a former executive at Tesla, GAP Inc., and Apple, told that story during his opening keynote at CPA.com’s 2021 Digital CPA Conference in Nashville with a simple point in mind:

Your barriers are yours alone. Dream first, and then figure out how to make those dreams reality.

“It’s not impossible. It just hasn’t been done yet,” Blankenship said. “The leading CPAs of tomorrow won’t focus on what needs to be done. They’ll focus on what’s possible.”

I think we’re asking the wrong questions. Too often, we ask, “Why won’t this work?”

A better question is, “How can we make this work?”

It’s possible. We just haven’t figured out how yet.

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