I've spent the last two weeks on a beautiful Greek island of Crete, soaking in sun and marveling at four thousands years old accomplishments of Minoans. Knossos, Phaistos, and other beautiful palaces are a testament of success of Minoans at building the first European civilization which thrived for couple of centuries and brought us major advances in construction, agriculture, metallurgy, ceramics, and many other fields. The Minoan civilization came to an abrupt end 3500 years ago for reasons which are not well understood and for the next thousand years Europeans were yet again receding into dark ages which only ended when classical Greece picked up where Minoans have ended.
Learning about Minoan influence on Mycenaeans and through them on our own civilization gives some comfort that great accomplishments of the past haven't really perished but are deeply engrained in the fabric of our society. It seems that every epoch that has shown what's possible, had to be followed by an epoch defining what's sustainable. That's a valuable lesson not just for our society at large, but also to every business trying to evolve into a successful company. There will be times of great progress that will inevitably be followed by some setbacks. The great companies that survive aren't the most progressive ones, but the ones which are best able to weather the downturns.