The industrial era was a time where people learned a useful skill set, took a job, crafted a lifetime career, and retired on a pension. A lot of people found jobs that allowed them to coast along doing the same old stuff for decades.
Then the world discovered computers and joined them together, and created an efficient communication system, which destroyed most of the economic barriers of physical location, timezone, language, local scarcity. And connected individuals into new tribes based on interests, values, attitudes – instead of politics, race, wealth or gender.
The transition to an information economy is happening fast, will be extremely disruptive, but will also be “values-driven”. Consumers are already much more careful about who they buy from and whether they align with their values. The old gatekeepers aren’t in charge anymore, and if you have something of merit to bring to the table, the public can now judge it directly. And reward you for adding value to their lives.
Executable ideas will be the most valuable products of the 21st century.
Ideas are nice, but only executable ideas produce economic and social benefits.
The laws of impermanence now rule the marketplace.
Entrepreneurship and self-employment are the strategies most likely to succeed.
Startup companies and individual entrepreneurs are the powerhouse of the next economy.
During the industrial age, it took huge amounts of capital to set up a new company, to realise the economies of scale, and so the concept of small businesses being successful was effectively “bred out” of our way of thinking. That indoctrination is beginning to fade, because the industrial process has reached its original goal (to make stuff cheap and plentiful). Just like we don’t think about how to grow food any more, we can stop thinking about how to build physical goods.
There are tens of thousands of startups – working right now on new systems, tools, solutions, methods, all focused on solving the multi-faceted needs of fellow human beings into the near (and far) future.
They are the adventurous ones. But soon they will be joined by millions more, as the industrial companies they work in give way to the digital information economy. Family businesses, sole traders, all with an imperative to innovate or die in the global network. And the result will be an amazingly diverse ecosystem, constantly evolving and growing.
Reduce risk, increase communication, get measurable feedback, and be quick to market.
All these things can be achieved by defining the MVP (minimal viable product), and using a well-selected series of prototypes before going to the expense of building “version 1.0” for launch.
Prototypes can range from the roughest of sketches, to fully-functional mockups – but which ones are appropriate in which circumstances?
I believe that a lot of great ideas die before they reach the market, because they fail to make it through the very early stages. This is a terrible waste of time, money, and progress – and a source of pain.