The modem was screeching, trying to make that handshake with another modem, if I could just connect to that modem, I could get the information I need. I had a book with pages of phone numbers for most of the BBS’s out on there in the world, they published books with theme as well. You could download drivers and programs, it was great fun, but it took forever on a 300 or 2400 Baud modem. The days of dialing into a BBS (Bulletin Board System) to get information are behind us, and when the Internet came along, most of these software packages built modules / add-on’s to connect a BBS to the NET. Eventually, that call into a BBS became an Internet connection at faster speeds of a modem, the world changed in one fleeting moment. You remember don’t you, when you had to send email via FidoNet, use a program to download a package of all your messages from the week before. That’s right, it used to take days, even weeks to get a response via email on a BBS. The more games, and or information you had available on your BBS, the more attention, the more visitors. There were almost no GURUS & EXPERTS, just people with some experience, and they were willing to help you for free, for the most part.
While the BBS world was quietly doing it’s thing, TV, Radio & Newspaper’s garnered almost all the attention, in some markets they still do. You didn’t hear about GURUS & EXPERTS that much because those medium’s were closely guarded. Not open, not free. To advertise, to get the word out, the mainstream media was the most effective way. Until the Internet.
The Internet changed the game, suddenly the attention shifted, and then attention game had no rules, no watch dogs, it was wide open, it was free…..for now. Out of nowhere the GURUS & EXPERTS appeared, suddenly there were more authorities on everything than you could imagine. I’ve often said, everyone knows something about something, but no one knows everything about everything. The narcissists would argue that point.
Blogging became the mode of communication, you could write about anything, it is a writers dream, a painters favorite kind of canvas. Blogs had the attention until a bigger beast appeared, Social Networks, and the attention shifted once again. These Social Networks are shifting as I write, a new shift, they want you, all of us to Blog on their network, on their channel, because they want content. Why? They want to win the attention war. It matters not how you access the social networks, it only matters that your attention shifts.
I find it puzzling that many would rather blog on Social Networks than their own Blog. Giving away traffic to the Social Networks, when the Social Networks should be driving traffic to the Blog…..funny how it gets turned around.
Personally, I would rather be the owner a Blog, and use Social Networks as tools to drive customers, readers, viewers back to my home-base, my Blog. Most Social Networks and other mainstream media sites want you to make their site your home-base, they want to be your homepage when you open a browser, much like the Industrial Age of control. They want your attention, they want to control your attention, but so do you the Blogger.
If you give away viewers, readers, and buyers, and traffic….you lose. Big business wins again, they got you to shift your attention, and the attention of those that were paying attention to you. Giving away your followers eyeballs means they make the money, not you, defeating the purpose you ventured in to.
Guard your fans, protect your followers, they truly are valuable, to you, and most definitely to big business. Think about where you put your content, you and only you can control it. There is an attention shift taking place, no matter how easy it might seem, don’t be fooled into giving it to groups and organizations that want to take it from you. Build YOUR platform, your home-base, that’s the only way to survive this attention-getting war.
10 people who get my attention everyday. Do you know how hard it is to make a list of just 10? There are many who get my attention, but these ten can stop me in my tracks. Now I talk often about attention, it can determine your success in business, who you give your time to. But the deeper question is, why do these individuals or companies get your attention. I find, as I look down my list, it’s because they make me think…not about what they are talking about, but how the topic applies to my business, maybe even my day-to-day life. But mostly, these individuals do a number of things, they affirm me, are extremely interesting, really make me stop and go Hmmmmmm, and the bonus, they seem to be very genuine people. I’ll qualify that with, I have only met 2 from this list face-to-face, my bucket list just got longer : )
These people can disrupt my day very easily, especially when they hail me on Twitter or write a blog post. You may already know these individuals, and maybe you don’t, but I think they are worth your time. These 10 people do have one thing in common, they see the world, and want to make that world a better place, no matter how abstract and disturbing it might be. I learn much from each of them, and I know you will to if you take the time to follow their work. More importantly, they are all much smarter than I, and deserve a tip of the hat for the work they do.
Gerd Leonhard – I tell the story of how I came across Gerd and his work, I thought long and hard, wondering if I was the only one that saw the world of business the way I do, until I found Gerd. He is much smarter than I, much more connected, and he is a machine when it comes to producing content. The thing that gets me, is his desire to share what he believes, he is a like-minded friend I hope to meet one day. – http://mediafuturist.com
Chris Brogan – I have chatted, was on one of his Kitchen Table Talk Online TV Show, promoted some of his posts, and he has done so of mine, but we have never met. I don’t always agree with Chris, but most of the time I do. I’m a fan of his because he is real, he is what he preaches, a human business. – http://chrisbrogan.com
Jim Connolly – This UK marketer is not only a cool character, he is smart. I’ve know Jim for 4 years now, and he gets better each and every blog post, thought provoking, and makes you think about how you are marketing. – http://jimsmarketingblog.com
Rick Rake – Now I’m biased with this person, why? Rick is a huge promoter of my work here where I live, he was the very 1st person to attend my workshops, and he gets it. Rick & his wife Kathleen come from the older generation, but practice a lot of the new ways of doing business online. I have come to love & appreciate both of them, and can’t thank them enough for all that they do for me and the business community we live in. – http://clickmediaworks.typepad.com/click_media_works_blog/
Seth Godin – I have to admit I feel pretty stupid after listening to him, but I’ll get over that : ) Seth keeps things simple in my head, he makes me think about the world as it really is, and he teaches me far more than I can put into action at any given time. I love his keynotes, and can’t get enough of the Linchpin & Poke The Box, because those two books show you how I feel and think, without the smarts. I fly at 50,000 feet most of the time, and then Seth will bring me back down to earth for a street level view. I thank you. – http://sethgodin.typepad.com/
Brian Solis – He is much like Seth Godin to me, but different. I’m not even sure how to describe him, he just resonates with me from a business perspective. He is intelligent, and one of the best interviews I’ve ever known in this new digital world, asks some the smartest questions, and shares the answer equally as good. – http://www.briansolis.com/
Glen Hiemstra – I had the privilege of meeting Glen last year, he drove up to Vancouver for the World Futurist Society Conference I was speaking at, he attended my session. Probably wishes he could get that 90 minutes back : ) Glen does some very interesting work as a Futurist, I read his work and bookmark it regularly, he probably doesn’t know that, but he does now. Not only is he a smart man, he is so down to earth and a joy be around. I thank you Glen for being so gracious with me, and for taking the time to come my session. – http://www.futurist.com/
Olivier Blanchard – The Brand Builder – We go back a few years, but only online. Olivier has done something that no one else seems to have figured out yet, he knows how to derive an ROI out Social Media (Networks). He has gone so far as to write a book on the topic, to show you how simple and yet how hard it is to stay committed to the endeavour. Plus, he is damn funny! I cherish every opportunity to chat with Olivier, I learn so much, and I constantly challenge him on the value of a follower, a fan, and or a like. – http://thebrandbuilder.wordpress.com/
Ray Kurzweil – Probably the nuttiest person I pay attention to. I don’t mean that in a sarcastic way, or disrespectful way, he is amazing to listen to. He is very star warzy to me, and yet, scares the crap out of me at the same time. He sees technology embedded in humans, which shows him a world run by machines, but mostly to improve our ability, our way of life, and to create a healthy world. – http://www.kurzweilai.net/
Tom Peters – I have followed Tom’s work for many years, he wrote the famous book called, In Search Of Excellence, just in case you don’t know who he is. His work gets me on trouble all the time, because he talks about doing business better, shares stories and examples of businesses actually doing what he talks about. If you haven’t read any of his books, I challenge you to go out right now and do so. – http://www.tompeters.com/
An honourable mention:
John Morgan – He recently released his first book called, Brand Against The Machine, his work helps you look at how and what your up against in the marketing world. Again, keeping things simple, why? Because simple is hard enough. John has a special way of communicating his message, very direct, and very helpful. – http://johnmichaelmorgan.com/
So there’s my list, it was hard to narrow down, there are many more whom deserve to be on this list, but for the purposes of this post, I’m keeping it down to ten. Many of these people have written books, I highly recommend you read them, and better yet, follow their work here online.
I hope these individuals help you in better ways than they help me, I just wanted to share them with you, and give you some insight to who I pay attention to. After all, attention is the currency we are all trying to acquire.
Kevin Kelly is one of many Futurists I study and follow online, I like to pay attention to people far smarter than myself, Ummmm….that includes you. This video is revealing the Future Of Business as a Media, all your streams create and become one medium, what does your media look like?
Kevin touches on many topics without getting into details, he gives you a high-level look at what’s yet to come. We think we are late most of the time here on the NET, but much of what we Futurists share has yet to be developed, let alone available for public consumption.
Enjoy the video:
Attention is a funny thing, kids are masters of getting as much as they need, but how do businesses master that same art without becoming annoying? Sometimes annoying works well for advertising campaigns, but do they win friends and influence people? Do they get your attention, or just your anger?
Some people, like me, can’t walk into a room quietly, we naturally draw attention to ourselves, probably because we are insecure or some other mental issue. I don’t know why it is, but it is. I love people, and I love helping them when I can, but that doesn’t get attention the way I would like it to. It might have something to do with my opening : )
I’m going to use me as the scape goat in this post, as an example of what some of us are dealing with. I hope it stirs some emothions in you and makes you think.
People and business are not the same, they have two different personalities and yet some of the same needs. When a person fills the role of business owner, they look at the world completely differently than when they are at home. OK maybe, but usually. The business owner, if they are doing well, tend to have healthy happy relationships with staff, and the staff reflect that out to those who are dealing with them. In a perfect world that’s probably very true, but not always the norm.
Every business has the same need, they want your attention, and those who figure out what gets your attention tend to survive longer. I’m generalizing, but you get the idea. So how does a business of one get your attention the same way a business / Brand or many people do? It still comes down to need doesn’t it. There has to be a need for me to look your way, and more importantly, a compelling need for me to find out more about what you are offering. Not all businesses need my services, they do, but don’t realize they do, why? Urgency. I may show you a tidal wave, but it’s not going to get here till 2014, I’ll wait and see mentality sets in, and well, you know what happens. So how do I get your attention?
I’m not a kid any longer, so I can’t get your attention the way kids do, and I can only cry wolf so many times before you take my work seriously, so what will it take? Why do most small business have a tougher time over bigger businesses? Probably because big businesses have more resources and can buy attention at a level small businesses or individuals can’t. It’s not a level playing field by those terms is it?
If it’s that hard now, what will it be like when another 3 – 4 billion people come online? If you haven’t noticed, we are moving away from the Bricks & Mortar style of consuming, we are buying more and more through our smart phones than ever before. That is going to increase, and it’s not going away as if it was a fad like Bell Bottom Blue Jeans.
My tag line should be, I SEE DEAD BUSINESSES! Why? Because most small businesses know the tidal wave is coming, if they don’t, they aren’t listening. It’s as if they are looking the other way, hoping it won’t actually happen. Fear is an immobilizing thing most of the time, but that doesn’t mean what I’m sharing isn’t real or going to happen.
You should be doing three things in your business right now, no matter what size it is, become social, become very mobile, and be prepared to serve a portion of the 4 billion people yet to come. So I ask you, how do I get your attention? The better question might be, forget about me, how do you get the the attention of 4 billion yet to come? Attention is the currency of our future, learn how to get it.
This is a Blog Post is in part about my new book I’m currently writing called, ” The Open & Free Business Model – The Future of Business”. This Blog Posts is also a bit longer than my usual blog posts : )
In fact, I held a workshop for some local business owners and walked them through the process of figuring out what this model might look like for them and their business. One of the harder exercises was looking at their current business and asking a simple question, what is your CORE business about? If I was to ask you, what does your business do, you would most likely tell me the the easiest answer, I’m a…. the highest level snap shot what YOU do, not your business. I’m a technology company might be my answer, that doesn’t really say anything other than I’m into technology. I might ask what that means, I would volunteer a more descriptive answer but still not touching on the core. By the third or fourth time of asking what your business does, I might get to the core of what your business really is about, and what it does day in and day out.
Once I uncovered what your core business is, I might ask what your vision is for your business, and then I most likely would want to know what your mission statement is, and does your staff know it. Much of this is traditional in nature, but it is still important to your online presence as well. The next step most likely would be to ask for the results of a S.W.O.T. Analysis, I think that’s useful information. At this point we could start talking about what kind of content your Blog should consider, after all we know what your core business is now, we can start to build on something here.
Once we’ve gotten this far, we can start listening. Listening for what you might ask, well, we want to know who is talking about your business, if they are talking about your business, and what exactly are they saying. I would recommend spending a considerable amount of time here if your getting alot results in your searches. I would be listening in multiple Social Media Networks, other search engines and so on, you’ll be amazed what you find out.
Another fun project is determining revenue streams, pick the highest-margin, low-investment streams (the low hanging fruit). Then advertise your chosen stream to your captive audience, it’s important to have a captive audience, you want generate much revenue without one. In the end you’ll collect money, deliver the goods, and keep your customers happy. Advertising not @vertising, did you catch that? This topic has many levels and many more choices, but you will have to choose more than one to get attention amongst all the noise.
Distribution is key but has already been taken care of by the Internet, what about mobile apps, iPads, iPhones as a way to get your content out there. iTunes Connect is an option, apply and hold your breath, it takes awhile to get approved.
One of the stumbling blocks is, determining what content should be paid for and what should be free to download or read. I too wrestled with this question, but I found giving away good content created readership and eventually revenue and the bigger more important currency, attention. The world isn’t ready for this shift, in fact, the world hasn’t really arrived online yet! The world we know is willing to pay upfront for the most part, but the world yet to come will not be forced into paying upfront for most information and even some products. I’ve said it here on this blog many times, people will keep looking until they can find what you offer for free. If they don’t find it, then maybe they’ll come back and buy it, but they look first before making that purchase. The term PFE, Proudly Found Elsewhere, coined by Gerd Leonhard, is as real as the nose on your face, so get ready.
Another looming problem is the plethora of bad content, we will have to find better ways of filtering before the bad stuff gets out of the way. Eventually, someone will come up with a great way to filter and even curate your social network meta data, then we’ll have something to really sell. There are a couple of websites that take your Twitter stream and make a daily newspaper out of the hot stuff or trends within your stream. One is called Paper.li and another is The Twitter Tim.es, they look neat but you still can’t do much with it once it’s completed. It would be good if we could customize these newspapers a bit and make them work for us in a commerce kind of way.
The primary purpose of giving away content should be to get attention, build relationships, build trust, and then maybe you can sell something. But be careful, you might get what you wish for, it might not be the kind of attention you were hoping for. The truth is, we all want to be recognized, affirmed and we all want to generate revenue, we want to make money here online so we can do the things our hearts desire keeps searching for. We want to have freedom of choice in a more relevant way, where we get to choose, not what the industrial age has conditioned us into responding to.
The Open & Free Business Model is misunderstood for the most part, it is the future of business, most business owners are not ready for it. Being Open instead of closed is scary for business owners and people in general, we just need more practice before fully embracing it. Using Open Systems like FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on are just the beginning to being open, it’s not a place or a thing, it’s a mindset. Being open also means being transparent, willing to let users see and hear more than you have been willing to share in the past. It’s really how you view Open, it’s how you view Free, it’s about how you see what an Open & Free Business Model might look like for you and your business. You may or may not need help with it, there are many around that can help, but very few truly understand what Open & Free Business Model is.
Create compelling content, give some of it away, then look for ways to monetize around that free content. It sounds simple but it’s not, because you have to deliver the goods in such a way it’s brain dead easy for your visitors to get and or buy. If not already, in the future when the other 3 billion people get here, you’ll want to already be in a position of having they’re attention, then it will be a little easier, but just a little. That’s enough for now, go practice, give yourself away and watch your world change before you, eventually it will click with you and you will see a future you haven’t seen before, ever!
If you are doing it, I would love to chat with you and maybe even use your business as an example in my book. You can be a part of my book, go here.