Once upon a time simple forms of industry knowledge were a significant competitive advantage. The little things we knew about our industry from working in it mattered. We had to earn expertise over long periods, and the release of that expertise to prospective customers. We traded in trade secrets. But now those days are coming to a close.
In a market where anyone can know anything about an industry (from the worlds experts) with just a few key strokes, then we need change our view on what creates an advantage. Knowledge of products, prices, places, who does what and who owns what are all knowable. We are quickly approaching a market of perfect information. And when everyone can know everything, and prices quickly level out, the only thing left is trust. And a great way to build trust is by sharing trade secrets. By being generous with our knowledge well before we want to do business with anyone. We need to share what we know so others can navigate the market and reduce their risk.
When it finally comes down to doing business, customers have a much higher probability of trusting those who gave them the most trust first.
I happened upon 5 things in the past few days – all of which had a certain something. Most of these came from Dan Groch over lunch on Thursday. They inspired some thoughts. So here’s the 5 pieces & the thoughts they each inspired for me:
1. WorryDream – I can’t really explain this other than saying this guy is a genius with genius ideas. Have a wonder through it.
2. Bobby McFerrin plays the audience – Yes, that Bobby McFerrin. He does something so amazing and shows the power of non verbal communications. Wisdom of crowds and the importance of music. Very enjoyable to watch indeed.
3. The inner game of tennis – An amazing visual of how to remove complexity. The simplicity of instruction without thought. How we can actually let our body do the learning once we avoid over intellectualising everything. I’ll be using this technique while surfing and doing anything physical.
4. Digital feudalism and how to avoid it – This in my view is an incredible risk to our species. Shiny things and big brother control from brands we actually love. They’ve already teamed up with the NSA, and we are letting it happen. HT to Josh McDonald for this one.
5. Powerful ideas about ideas – Alan Kay demonstrates some new teaching methods.
Again another reminder that a cheap laptop and the internet are all we need to know all we desire. And I’ll leave you with this simple fact: Anyone who has access to the internet, has more information at their disposal than the US President did just 10 years ago.
Junk mail is not named correctly. It should be called Research Mail, Zeitgeist Mail or something much more complementary.
Here’s a list of great things it does:
- It tells us what people think they can sell
- It tells us the price of things, probably our competitors
- It tells us who can afford to advertise
- It tells us the economic conditions of the day via the discounts made
- It display the advances in technology
- It tells us what’s hot
- It keeps us in touch with the business environment more than the Wall Street Journal does
It’s an entrepreneurs best friend. Startup blog says read your junk mail.
When our genes could not store all the information necessary for our survival, we slowly invented brains. But then the time came, maybe tens of thousands of years ago, that we needed to know more than could be conveniently stored in brains. So we learned to stockpile enormous amounts of information outside our bodies. We are the only species as far as we know to have developed a communal memory, and the warehouse of that memory is called the library.
Something extraordinary has been happening on the planet earth. Rich information from distant lands and peoples , has become routinely available. Computers can now store and process enormous amounts of information extremely rapidly. In our time a revolution has begun. A revolution perhaps as significant as the evolution of DNA and nervous systems and the invention of writing. Direct communication among billions of human beings is now made possible by computers and satellites. The potential for a global intelligence is emerging, linking all the brains on earth into a planetary consciousness.
The above words were spoken 29 years ago by Carl Sagan (in Cosmos 1980). Well before the personal computer revolution, the graphical user interface, before the internet had left military installations and Universities. Carl was a prophet, with great insight. He’s just described our world so poignantly, well before it arrived.
It makes me excited to be able to share my thoughts so easily, like Carl said we would all this time ago. It makes me want to ensure my digital contribution is positive and leaves a valuable legacy. It makes me want to make sure we all know how important this gift of omnipresent communication is, at a time when our species needs to collaborate so strongly for our survival.
Now that we can so quickly enter the minds of others, we should all make sure our contributions are positive, that we add something of value to this collective consciousness.
If we added up all the men, and all the women on our planet, we’d find that, on average, the typical adult human being had exactly one breast and one testicle. Yet how many people actually fit that description?
Statistics are used the create meaning. Yet, very often they create the opposite. In a world for of numbers, statistics and analytics (yes, even the Google kind) we are better off deciding what we want to find out, than we are looking at the available statistics and asking what they mean.
Startup Blog says: First decide what you want to find out, then devise a way to measure it.
There is nothing less valuable in startup world than people telling you what to do, while they are doing very little themselves.
Traffic Directors I call them.
These days information and ideas are cheap. The thing of great value is when people start and finish projects. It’s so valuable simply because it’s so rare. In fact that’s true leadership.
This is the difference between traditional and social media in one simple chart (albeit a little fuzzy). Forget all the crap you have read on how social media differs to traditional media. This is it summarized right here on startup blog in terms which matter for business:
I’ve made some notes above. Don’t believe what you’ve heard – old media isn’t dead – sure it’s more expensive for the return, but it still kicks but. When rentoid was featured on a nightly news TV show as a positive story, we had more hits that one day than we did for the entire year. And we had been and are investing a tremendous amount of time on new and social media. It’s been a two year effort.
If you want a few other qualitative ideas to take with you then here’s a few:
- They work better together
- Social media is incredibly slow but has a compound effect
- If I had endless funds available for media, I’d still prefer traditional media (for now)
These comments are based on fact and real experience in Australia from my business rentoid.com which has had heavy exposure in both.