The village is back. With a vengeance.
This was originally posted on my now offline blog in 2010. Thought I’d repost as it still rings true.
Imagine you live in a village sometime in the end of the 19th century.
You buy your bread from the village baker every day. You know it to be good, tasty and healthy and you know he won’t overcharge you for it. Why? Because you are close to him. You know him. His reputation in the community is linked to the quality of his bread. And if he would try to make a better profit by cutting back on the quality of his ingredients and raising his prices while still claiming that his bread is “the best in the village” the community would call his bluff immediately and he would be out of business (and out of friends).
Enter the age of mass production and mass communications. Suddenly the baker can make more bread and sell it to more people than ever before. He also realizes It’s no longer his personal reputation that is on the line. It’s the brand, the company that gives the promise of good quality bread to it’s customers. Not him.
The baker also realizes that in is new global village the people can’t share experiences as they did in that small village where everyone knew each other. Instead what he says in his advertisements passes for the truth.
This is when greed (some also call it human nature) takes over and the baker cuts back on the quality of his ingredients in the hope of better profit.
And so it goes that it works (really well actually) and the baker makes it big with the help of his friend mass media and an industry of creatives and artists helping him craft his new truth. This goes on for quite a while and they get really good at it. They get so good at it that everyone actually forgets what it was like to live in that little village.
But then…along comes a thing called the Internet.
At first the baker and his friends try their best to ignore it. Then they try to use it as a new means of distributing their truth. What they don’t realise is that while they are busy trying to exploit this new “media” the villagers start using it to connect and share the real truth about the bakers bread….just like they did back in the day.
And before the baker can say “oh shit guys, I think we’re f**ked” the village is back. And it’s back with a vengeance.
So what is the lesson of my story, you ask?
For the bakers
It’s time to focus all your energy on listening to your villagers, being a part of your community and baking the best bread possible. You can’t fake it to make it anymore, sorry.
For the villagers
Make you voice heard. You have the tools and the right to do it. Don’t settle for ok.
For the bakers merry men (Yep Madmen. That’s you.)
Figure out how you can help your baker embrace the Village Values. Help him listen, react, learn and develop his bread. And once the bread truly is great then help him get the truth out there.