Hunted & Gathered
One of the most universal human truths we as a species have embraced as a defining moment in our existence as intelligent beings is that the world is round.
The concept of the world being round completely reframed the way we looked at our ability to expand both our physical existence as well as our minds and to better understand the way the world worked and worked for us.
That has all changed. The world is no longer round.
The world is now a deep, layered, ever expanding web of nodes that interconnect through billions of personal and environmental tiny data points that create a landscape of endless relationships.
This has greatly impacted our relationship with the world around us on a very primitive level.
For example, we no longer hunt and gather, we are now served endless options where we must decide to act upon or not. A flurry of options and choices that can be both confusing and dizzying.
Our basic needs are now easier to access, food delivery, on demand cleaning services, instant transportation, access to an unlimited library of knowledge and entertainment and even social interactions are more easily accessed through the simple swipe of a screen in our pocket.
We are making subconscious and conscious decisions on a constant basis and in real time. We no longer need to look for something, because now those things magically find us.
Our everyday behaviors now inform smart systems to serve us up exactly what we think or it thinks we may need at almost every step along our digitally infused lives.
So where is the challenge? What is the new form of hunting and gathering and how does it satiate the very human instinct we have to fulfill our needs in a way that leaves us with a feeling of accomplishment?
What are the new stressors in life that keep us grounded and that require the struggle needed to strengthen our gene pool?
Today’s conveniences are easier to access and more accessible to a wider population. It has created a sea of sameness that has stripped the world of authenticity. Those who manage to stand out are the ones who can intuitively find new ways to challenge the complexity of the world around them and strengthen new parts of the brain that have yet to be exercised.
I call this creativity.
We must now seek out those challenges on our own, there is not an app in the app store that can deliver this to us. The fisherman who once dreamed of easier and better ways to fish now yearns for the ability to just simply fish again.
We all yearn for authenticity.
It is authenticity that stands out from the vast ocean of options and services that has taken away our hunting and gathering ability.
We now constantly (subconsciously) mine for nuggets of authenticity that connect us back to who we are. Many simply just end up consuming themselves or others and never really find anything truly authentic to connect with.
As marketers and creative people we must focus on creating the conditions for authentic moments to happen. Brands can no longer simply rely on the product itself to satisfy a need. That product must now come with some kind of authentic way to obtain or consume it.
One cannot simply make authenticity, it is not something that can be manufactured.
However the conditions for encountering authenticity is where our efforts as creative individuals must be focused.
We must help create a path that will lead consumers to find and consume something in an authentic way, to create the conditions for an emotion to be triggered towards something we can find meaning in.
If we are hungry there are a million and one ways to satisfy that hunger.
We can easily pull up an app like Seamless and have those needs fulfilled immediately.
But we are still left with a deep hunger that still has yet to be satiated. That is the hunger we as humans have to work for the things we want and need.
By creating the conditions for consumers to access authenticity we will ultimately create a better more humanistic experience for our audiences leaving them feeling accomplished and satisfied.
The illusion of control can go only so far. But by satisfying a need with providing an authentic way to achieve it we are actually connecting on a much deeper level.
We are creating a real bond between a need state and an optimal state. Creating an experience where we as people can feel accomplished and truly satisfied with our ability to obtain the things we both need and want.
By infusing way to achieve some kind of authenticity within the conveniences we create that bring people and things closer together, we are satisfying a need that goes beyond easily obtaining an object or a service.
We are creating the conditions for allowing our audiences to walk away feeling like they themselves have accomplished the fulfillment of a need.
I have heard many stories about someone taking an Uber and serendipitously engaging in a lively conversation with the driver.
The frictionless service that Uber provides opens up the opportunity for that connection to happen. We know our driver’s name, we can contact them via the app and the financial transaction has become invisible which leaves us with an open space for authenticity.
I’ve heard stories about how easy and seamless the AirBnB experience is to find a place to stay. I myself have experienced this as well.
The service removes the anxiety of the stay and allows people who use it to enjoy someone else’s space, a slice of their lives and have an authentic moment in a far away place that doesn’t feel manufactured or pre-fabricated. Many people may stay there but each and every one of those people will connect with it in a different way.
My key takeaway is that when creating a new service or utility that takes away the challenge of hunting and gathering, make sure that there is a way to then make room for an authentic moment within that experience to occur. One that will fulfill the instinct we all have for connecting with the experinece of obtaining the things we need and want and to walk away feeling accomplished and satisfied with the experience on a human level.