Friday, May 6, 2011

The Coming Revolution

I was just talking with a coworker and good friend, and we see the world crumbling around us. The old guard, the old values are rapidly being replaced with a completely new one.

Osama bin Laden is just one example of this. Why do you need terrorists when, with a webcam and an internet connection, you can start your own revolution? When a few thousand unarmed people can overthrow a country, why do you need suicide bombers? Sure, there will always be angry wackos who want to hurt people. But terrorism as a method for regime change no longer seems necessary, or even relevant.

The same thing is happening in the corporate world. Most don't see it yet, because they're trying too hard to hold onto the old order. If the model worked ten years ago, can't we just dust it off and maybe put up a Facebook page? Tweet a little and tell people how great it is?

Nope. The old order, the one driven by research and advertising, where I know what's best for you so therefore you'll do it, is already dead. In the old model you needed scale to do anything. In the new model everyone already has access to everything and the only limitation is finding the right idea.

I can't just build and tell anymore. If the customer doesn't feel heard, there is no sale. The new model is about collaboration, whether that means overthrowing a despot or designing new software. In the new model, the customer designs the solution, the supplier or seller listens instead of telling. The new model isn't even one model. It's unlimited models. It's about putting stuff out there and seeing what happens, about not knowing what's going to happen but trusting that it will be something great.

And those who are best at trusting collaboration are going to be the revolutionaries who succeed.

I'm a big fan of Seth Godin and his book Linchpin, which just came out in paperback. Buy it. But if you want a compelling example of how he thinks, and you have an hour or so, follow this link to a four part presentation. If you have fifteen minutes and just want the big finish, go straight to part four.

The password is iboughtthebook. And again, please do if you haven't already.


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