The only ten things you need to know to be a great leader
21st century moms
A: “I think my daughter is dieting”
B: “Does she look thin or pale?”
A: “No, she looks fine”
B: “Then why do you feel that way?”
A: “She hasn’t posted any food pictures on Instagram lately”
Though the above is a fictional conversation i came up with, i don’t think we’re too far away from the day when parents use apps that do sentiment analysis on your childs post to find out how they feel, instead of talking to them.
Happenings in heavily networked worlds
Two themes that emerge when i thought about how being a highly interconnected and networked world changes things for us.
1. Companies are now communities
People don’t just use or buy a product, they see it as a gateway to a lifestyle.
Apple doesn’t just sell computing devices, as famously noted, it sells a lifestyle of thinking different and breaking the mould.
Instagram may be popular now with people sharing photos of everything from the magical to the mundane but the core community that drives it is a group of artsy folks who express themselves through photography. Creative and artsy is also how Instagram itself portrays it own identity, by frequently sharing the work of people using Instagram in funky ways on their blog.
GoPro is more than just a portable camera that you can comfortably carry into places never imagined before, it’s now the medium of self-expression for people involved in adventure sports, wildlife, etc. People who couldn’t afford to stop and snap a picture. It’s utilized to the maximum by adventure sports enthusiasts who’ve found a new way to share their experiences. Again, sharing adventurous experiences is how GoPro sees itself, evidenced by prominently featuring everything from skiing to motocross to wildlife photography in its IPO video.
Outside the technology space, sports retail chain Decathlon goes beyond being a place where you buy sports equipment by organizing tournaments and meetups to allow sports lovers to get together.
Highly networked environments allow people to come together faster and more efficiently, enabling people to collaborate with others, learn from each other and a myriad of other things.
Rather than just being a product that people adopt, thanks to the highly networked environments that these products exist in, people collaborate extensively around the these products, sometimes on their own, sometimes with a little ushering by the company.
Thus products transform from being something that you just bring to the market into something you participate actively and build a core group of enthusiasts around. Fostering communities is something consumer-facing companies should definitely have on their agenda as networking explodes and technology makes collaborating easier.
2. Network influence as tangible social capital:
Influence in the real world has been known since ages, whether you call it having “contacts” or whether it’s sports stars prominently displaying logos of sports brands, influence is acknowledged and used widely.
How does this influence play out in social networks and the digital economy.
Content producers have it easier in terms of creation
Technology has broken all the barriers for creation and sharing; in a bygone era to get your music accessible to everyone, you had try hard and sign up with a record label. Today, you can post your music online for everyone to see, no talent agents, no deal brokers, nothing; just click upload and you’re done.
Platforms give everyone a voice but this creates a discovery problem.
It literally takes just one click to create a tumblr blog (like the one you’re reading right now), but with millions of blog out there, not every voice gets heard.
We end in a up place where only a small fraction of the creators have any sort of reach or influence in these networks.
Remove barriers between people and your (digital/digitizable) creations
When the cost of creating and distributing your work is approaching zero, there’s no point in putting any barriers between people and your creations.
People can and will copy
People can and will copy your work, hack your DRM and post it for free. So digital intellectual property cannot rely on the old mindset of protecting and locking down on things.
Aim for influence
Instead creators in a digital era should not worry about piracy because it is inevitable. Instead, they should use to get themselves loaded with the currency of the connected world – influence.
Influence isn’t just a number
Influence is people buying your story, falling in love with the your creations and talking about it all the time.
Just like real world influence, it gets people to do things!
Though frequently measured by metrics likes followers, likes, etc., online influence is still too nascent to be defined by one metric.
You may have heard of celebrities getting paid to tweet but that is just people extending their real word influence in a digital sphere. What about the other way round?
Well, we’re seeing a growing trend in that too.
My favorite example: Ray William Johnson. He is famous for the YouTube channel “Equal Three” where he reviews 3 viral videos once a week. He doesn’t make them, he just finds them and reviews them but in totally fun manner with a running commentary, interspersing the videos with puns and jokes (mostly black comedy)
This channel went to get 10 million subscribers on Youtube, making it amongst the most subscribed channels on YouTube.
Ray went to subsequently a launch a virtual band called “YourFavoriteMartian” via a Youtube channel of the same name, the channel went on to garner 2 millions+ subscriners went on to sell more than 1 million units on iTunes. He also subsequently launched “Riley Rewind”, a web series that has gone on to garner more than a million views per episode.
A facebook page called “I fucking love science” that posts interesting facts related to science in a meme-like fashion has gone on to get more than 16 millions ‘likes’ on facebook. The page has already spun off multiple television series on the same theme.
These are but a few examples of where network influence, a seemingly intangible quantity can translate to something tangible.
How else does being in a highly connected world change things for us? Got some ideas? Let me know in the comments.