Your Job Won’t Exist in 7 Years, Technology Will Kill Your Business.
You are basically screwed. Unless…
I have spent 15+ years marketing and crafting creative strategies, having spent $150,000, while selling $10M+. I have screwed up many business opportunities (for myself and others), been wiped off the map with others, and done extremely well on some. There is much that I have learnt.
Most importantly though is that the future is more uncertain than ever. The rapid pace of innovation is likely to leave you amongst the wreckage.
You must have a strategy to protect yourself, and prosper no matter what happens next.
And the one way I can see that can be done is to:
Create Your List
A list is your fans, your followers, your subscribers, your brand. What would be quantified in business terms as your “goodwill”.
This list is a collection of those people…
“…who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.” — Kevin Kelly
You, and your business, are only as powerful as your list.
And to dig your feet in and protect yourself from the tsunami of innovation and catastrophic changes ready to take place, you must have a list under your own personal name.
Let me tell you about James, my alter ego,
so then you’ll understand why.
James currently owns an incredibly successful financial planning business called Wamcorp. It generates enough money to have 1,500 employees on his payroll. He is extremely well off, as you can imagine, Ferrari, beach-front house and all. And he is in for the shock of his life.
Little does he know that Victor, referred to as “The Beautiful Mind” by his peers, has partnered with one of the largest banks in Australia to release an automated algorithm-based financial planning service that will 1/10th the cost of what Wamcorp and competitors charge. While 10x’ing the value of the service (better results, real-time planning, and improving the whole experience).
It is a no-brainer that Victor’s solution will be the way to go, hence the bank is invested, and ready to press the big red “launch” button.
James has done nothing wrong.
But within months, Wamcorp will have little business, as Victor Corp will be able to Uber their way into providing a better service for 90% of people out there. Wamcorp, and its taxi mates, will be left with the remaining 10%.
It is sad for James. But the real tragedy is that not many people know who James is. They all know Wamcorp. And innovation can strike at any time, and for that he was ill-prepared.
Even though James has more than enough resources to start a new venture, he doesn’t have a James list. He only has a Wamcorp list. And the Wamcorp list holds little weight.
Victor Corp list is where it is at now.
This is because Wamcorp attached itself to the word “financial planning” in the minds of consumers. Now Victor Corp will sneak in and take that position.
And the mind of the consumer only has space for one.
As a last resort, even if James decides to leverage the Wamcorp list, pleading, promoting, price-competing, and whatever else to squeeze out what he can from it. The list will fade away. He wasn’t at the forefront of innovation, and being disrupted into eventual oblivion is the price. That’s part of the game.
There is of course power in the 458,000 email subscribers that Wamcorp has. There is, however, nowhere near as much power, when fighting against disruption, as if those 458,000 were email subscribers of James.
Had James even leveraged some of those email subscribers and the Wamcorp list to simultaneously create his own. He may have been better off.
A personal list is versatile. It evolves as the person evolves.
A business however, is easily replaceable.
It is a faceless, lifeless, entity (no matter how hard businesses these days try to not make it so). It can disappear as quickly as it appeared.
The next social media will eliminate Facebook. However Mark Zuckerberg’s list will remain. As someone on his list, you and I will eagerly engage with whatever he does next. Facebook, however, we won’t have space in our minds for.
The future is littered with innovation,
disruption, and unexpected changes, at an ever-increasing rate.
The only insurance that I see is to create a list that raises you above this chaos. I see it as the stronger the list becomes, the higher your altitude, and the further cocooned you are from the battle.
Influence and power will be that much more important as the level of noise in the world is magnified.
The world will look towards influential people to show them the way. To cut through the excessive noise.
And the wand of influence is in the hands of those with their own lists.
Now, don’t confuse the influence of a list with purely the number of people on the list. That number is irrelevant.
This seems to always be the greatest source of anguish. The confusion that a list must be LARGE, the larger the better, the more people that must be captured, the less that can be lost. Pressure is on.
But remember, a list of 2,000,000 people may be much less valuable than a list of one, with say, Barrack Obama. So value, relevance, and engagement, over quantity (refer back to the earlier definition if it still isn’t clear).
And the $M question —
How do you create a list?
As far as I know — become aware of your strengths, leverage them as much as you can to bring value to others. This can only be done by speaking with an honest voice.
Anyone reading this has enough knowledge, skills, and content to create that value. And as long as you apply the litmus test of “am I saying something new”, because regurgitation is useless and ever-present (try reading the self-help top stories on Medium).
Over time your list will build and grow. As will your impact and altitude.
You may find you’re the only one with a shield in your hands, when everyone else around you is getting battered.
And for the step by step details — I’ve already put them into a mammoth post — you can read them by clicking below.