My oldest daughter is one of the fastest learners I’ve ever met. I tried to teach her how to ride a two-wheeler. She taught herself instead. I tried to teach her addition and subtraction. She taught me instead. This morning I was watching her put on her shoes. Her Velcro shoes. I asked her if she’d like to learn how to tie shoelaces. Her response jarred me.

“Why?” she asked.

“Well, because your shoes would be more secure if you tied them,” I replied.

“But this is faster. And more efficient.” She responded.

Hearing a six-year-old use the word ‘efficient’ properly in a sentence is very heartwarming and intimidating.

I really didn’t know what to say. She was right. Velcro is faster and more efficient, and unless I plan on hittin’ the hardcourt with LBJ later, I didn’t have a solid argument for why on earth she should spend the next several weeks or, in her case, hours learning how to tie shoes. My knee-jerk reaction was that Velcro shoes were lame. But in rainbow sequins, the Velcro laces just seemed to fit. Velcro shoes are cool in 2020, especially for a first-grader. They were quick to put on, hard to come off accidentally, and cool. But I still knew it was wrong. It was wrong to wear Velcro shoes past a certain age. Just like having a soother is wrong past a certain age or wearing a diaper. And yet, her argument had merit. A lot of merits. And it made me think—I have a prejudice against Velcro shoes.

Think about it. What kind of people should wear Velcro shoes? Children and old people. Right?

But why? Why is tying your shoes a sign of intelligence, or sophistication, or maturity? In every area of my business, I strive for efficiency. Efficiency is cool. Reinventing the wheel is very uncool. Taking 20 hours to do something a contractor could do in 4 hours is very uncool. Doing something just to look good is very very lame. And yet, my daughter is trying to maintain efficiency in her own life and morning routine, and I want her to do it just like me.

Velcro was a ground-breaking innovation that came from walking a dog through a mountain field and getting burrs caught in the dog’s fur and was good enough for NASA to trust in outer space.

How many innovations do I pass by on a daily basis simply because it’s not how we do things? It’s not sophisticated enough, or it’s not cool enough, or it’s not mature enough. We don’t all walk around in comfortable stylish Velcro shoes simply because I’m old enough and smart enough to do it a harder way, even though that way produces an inferior result.

Innovation requires risk. It takes stepping out of the crowd and being a loner for a little bit. If I started wearing Velcro shoes I would probably get made fun of by those closest to me. The average person spends 973 hours in their lifetime tying their shoes. If you used Velcro shoes that number would drop to about 250.

What would you do with the 725 hours you’d save?