121 T H E P O W E R O F P O S S I B I L I T Y AFTERWORD AFutureBuiltonTrust Many tech companies yearn to become a unicorn. That’s the term for a startup that rises to brilliance, reachingvaluationsof$1billionormore.ThinkofUberandAirbnb,PinterestandSnapchat.Oneday,they are quirky newcomers. Overnight, they create a new reality. Meanwhile, the tech landscape is littered with the ghosts of promising companies that flamed out. Information technology is a volatile industry, one that soared in the late 1990s and then crashed and lost a trillion dollars of stock value in a matter of a few weeks in 2000. In 2017, tech stocks were booming again, while market watchers predicted another correction. So where does NISC fit into this context — a tech cooperative that has served electric and telecommunications Members for the past 50 years? It is a creature rarer than a unicorn, a company that answers to its Members and not shareholders, fueled by shared values of integrity and teamwork, not pursuit of profit. NISC’s story of success is a story of the cooperative model and its focus on relationships. It’s a story of how a mission to serve Members produces steady growth and builds trust. It’s a story of how innovation and collaboration can create solutions that enable NISC Members to adapt to changing market demands and deliver high-quality, competitive services to their customers. What will the next 50 years bring? Will some undeveloped wireless solution completely replace the need for a wired fiber connection? Possibly. Will consumers purchase a “utility-in-a-box” — a small solar panel and battery that’s easy to install and can power an entire home? Potentially. As technology continues to evolve rapidly and transforms the industries NISC serves, the cornerstones of innovation and service that NISC has fostered over its first 50 years and instills in employees today will be foundational for its future success. NISC will need to continue to anticipate the challenges and problems of the future — even before they occur — to ensure each of its Members thrives. At its cooperative core, every Member is a stakeholder. An owner. And NISC treats them as such, knowing it exists for the sole purpose to serve them. As CEO Vern Dosch expressed in appreciation to employees for their service and support to Members, “I hope each of you understand the importance and far-reaching positive effect of your work,” he said. “You are truly servant leaders in a high-tech world.” Certainly, a rarity.