It's always been about power, except that now it's not about "Capital" but "Ideas".

The truly powerful now become so by giving power away to others. Empowering others in an open environment automatically impels reciprocation. It's human nature. It's the reason why we return phone calls, why we feel obligated to bring gifts to those who've given to us, and in an open context it is what polices open forums like blogs and social networks to be civilized towards one another. It's not built on secrecy and succession, because the availability of open communication channels makes that quite difficult.

If it was only about capital, that would also have to mean that wealth is finite, and the concentration of wealth determine distribution. If that were true, than the idea-based empires of Microsoft, and Google would be nonexistent.

Today, we are moving from a globalization of countries to companies to now individuals.

Individuals with the right connections yield the most power relative to time and place relationships. The right ideas find the capital on their own terms to secure a powerful position. Intelligence becomes distributed and ideas become the drivers.

Capital now chases ideas and not the other way around.

Without the right ideas (like the valuation indicators of global currency), the finite capital bases (like gold) aren't really worth anything. Connectors like the written word created kingdoms, the printed word spawned modern democracies, the telephone created global economies, and now the Internet and emerging technologies that put the power back in the hands of the people to connect like never before....

The "connection economy" is not a fad; it's more powerful than all economic models that came before it. In fact, its blueprint (genotype to be more accurate) is visible in nature itself.

In such a world, does it not make more sense to have "Idea" rather than "Capital" managers at the helm of organizations?

Surviving Change

Years ago I was in Florence, Italy and I remember being amazed at the local artists that created beautiful replicas of the classic renaissance paintings in chalk on the street. These people practiced their craft knowing full well that traffic will make today’s masterpiece into tomorrows chalk dust. I’ve seen similar art in places like India, in Nepal where Buddhist monasteries create Buddha idols formed in butter that melts away in the afternoon heat, and even sand and ice sculpture imported from distant cultures into western societies.

The interesting thing about the origins of all of these types impermanent practices has always been the attitude behind it. From artists in Firenze to the monks in Kathmandu, the common thread of all of these activities has been the acceptance of change. The fact that these activities have been woven into old-world cultures is curious indeed.

They are part of peoples and cultures that have survived.

Could it be that in order to survive, we must in some way accept change as part of life? Is it any coincidence that more of such activities are visible in older cultures than more newly formed ones? Does this not also apply to the world of business?

Today, change is moving at a speed approaching constancy. In other words, soon change will be normal and permanence will be the thing you’ll notice. And it always comes with resistance…that’s always been the way… But what do you do when it gets overwhelming? When it comes in waves and controlling it is simply out of the question! The choices are either to ride it, or get swept up in it. What do we do then?

Well, that’s not just an esoteric waxing of Zen, it’s the world we live in.

Change—Resistance—Progress (eventually in the direction of adapting to the change). We’ve survived it ‘till here and if you take the time to look it’s still here. The perspective to take is nothing new. It’s just another page from the lives of survivors who can accept impermanence and are still cool with it.


Most people are more comfortable with old problems than new solutions.

That might explain why most of us seem to look for answers based on causation and correlation rather than actual cause and effect. All great designers are thinkers, but are all great thinkers designers? Bill gates dropped out of college, so if your kid drops out of college; will he become Bill Gates? Marketing communication for a global brand needs to appeal to all kinds of people, so all kinds of people should decide what the communication should be? There are literally tons of misplaced cause and effect examples of this in both business and life, but here are some of my favorites:

I don’t understand why it’s not working. Our focus groups loved it!

He’s right, after all he is (bigwig) at (huge company). Don’t you know who he is?

She’s just the receptionist, what does she know about our core audience?

It’s gotta be good, we’re spending top dollar on it!

It’s the latest thing. Everyone’s doing it.

I don’t get it and I’m pretty smart. So that guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

There’s no way this can fail, just look at my track record!

The reality is nowhere near the ideology that keeps this thinking alive. Japan kicks ass in steel manufacturing but has no source of coal or iron ore anywhere near them. Why things like these happen are not the connections you might think, because unless it’s your world and your necessity, it’ll more than likely be difficult for you to grasp.

But you can.

Master change not by going down the path of causation based on correlation but by seeing the real reasons things happen. There is no formula. Just ask better questions.

Where You From to How You Think…

There are three kinds of people in the world. Those that talk about ideas, those that talk about things and those that talk about other people! When I first heard this, it seem to be something intellectual elitists say to confirm their worldview while they gossip about their colleague’s indiscretions. But over time, the idea that brilliant people talk about ideas, average people talk about things and small people talk about other people are classifications that seems to prove true time and again.

In reality we are all of those things simultaneously, but our inclinations are clear in which perspective we base our actions on predominantly as we go through life. In fact, you can pretty accurately judge people’s aptitude by telling topics of conversation.

A person interested most in "Where you from?" or where they’re from is different from someone interested in "What do you do?" And then there are people who are more about "How do you think" regardless of your occupation. Who do you think rule the world?

My interest in this subject is not based on some elitist self-affirmation; rather it is about understanding people in the context of shifting cultural and demographic climate. When we live in a time where we can no longer be classified by our geographic proximity, our actions and even "eye tracking" technologies can’t uncover our true intent, so as marketers what indicators are we really left with?

I’ve suggested before that we focus on "being" and let the fragmented marketplace come to us on their own terms, but why they should come obviously needs more thought. Part of that "why" is understanding customers we serve, associates that work with us, and shareholders who profit from the activity we are engaged in. It’s about time we all start to ask whether or not we are dealing with people concerned with "Where you from", "What you do" or "How you think". What do you think?

© 2006 GROW |