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I recently heard an interview that challenged me, in fact, I would say it changed my life. It changed my attitude towards my work and how I go about doing it. What is my work you ask? I’m a Futurist, a Thought-leader, I help you understand a new business model that forces all of us to leave the Industrial Age way of doing work & business behind. I teach & preach the Open & Free Business Model, where the 90/10 rule is the new equation, you give away 90%, and charge for 10%, it in effect, turns business upside down. More importantly, my work is a freedom message, it’s a mindset, and mindset trumps skill set everytime.

It’s possible you haven’t heard about it, you probably don’t know what it means, and what it stands for, but that alone makes it interesting. How can it possibly help you, how can it generate revenues, and how do you implement the model. Each and everyone of us knows something isn’t working, we’re just to resistant to change it. We must change it, in fact we don’t have a choice anymore. The Open & Free Business Model is a new way to disrupt your industrial age thinking. What’s interesting is, the level of resistance to it, resistance to accepting the truth about business, resistance to admitting the industrial age way of organizing and delivering work is dead, it just doesn’t work anymore!

The Heart Of The Open & Free Business Model

– Do something
– Make something
– Give it away
– Do work that matters
– Connect with people
– Lead people
– Deliver
– Make a difference in the world

Answer the question, how many people are better off because you lived?

The list above doesn’t work by itself, you truly have to change the way you think, unlearn, and learn new ways of getting things done, to disrupt your default patterns. It takes work. The how to(s) are the easy part, changing the way you think is more difficult. The biggest hurdle, the fear of loss, this fear is at the very core of the open & free business model. It’s to become a minimalist to delivering products & services, to simply do something, and you will find your place in a community. These communities are made up of two camps, they decide whether it happens and if it’s useful.


1. You

2. Your Fans

You must learn to embrace and trust both camps.

For the first time in history, you get to decide, you get to do the work you’ve dreamed about, all we need is for you to do it, to do something. The cost of doing nothing, is far greater than the cost of failing, it’s a paradigm shift, only you can  “Flick The Switch”!

Your Fans decide whether what you do is useful, whether it’s valuable, they will tell you who they are, and if they will be a true fan.

If any of this resonates with you, then you’ve been convicted, you can no longer ignore the voice inside of you, you have to do something about it. Flick The Switch!

This is the first in a series, to help you understand a new way of thinking, and the Open & Free Business Model, feel free to leave questions in the comments, and lets change the world together.



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The past few weeks I have spent considerable time looking forward, what does the business of the future look like? I’ve repeatedly told you it’s primarily two things, Social & Mobile. That would be the description equal to a hundred years ago, if I said Social & Mobile are the bricks & mortar of the future business, the mechanics if you will. But what will be happening within these two massive worlds, it simple really, commerce.

I wrote a year ago (August 11th, 2011) that everyone will be an affiliate of something, imagine that, you an Internet Marketer! The term congers up all kinds of emotions deep from within, but try to get past it, the world of commerce is going there at a rapid pace.

I’ve shared with you time and time again that OB3 Networks is connecting the world by putting up dishes in space that will provide Internet access to the third world countries, it’s being rolled out as we speak. Now add every smartphone developer going into a frenzy trying to beat everyone to the new marketplace. Once this endeavor is done, the other 3 Billion people will have Internet access, and soon they will have a smartphone loaded with things to buy, will it be your products & services? Imagine, over 5 Billion people on the Internet buying goods & services on a hand-held device!

So now the term Internet Marketer has a different ring to it, a smartphone ring. But there is a lot to learn about who they are and how to reach them, it’s called market research. Internet Markers of yesterday like to withhold some of the secrets, oh sure you can get the secrets for a price, but they almost always hold something back. It’s the nature of the business. All the power to them, but soon, the secrets will change, and you will won’t have to pay for some of them, it will be integrated into the new commerce landscape.

I challenge you to learn more about market research, in fact, start with your business, find out how the digital world sees your business, you will be shocked. What does Google think about you, have wondered what people use to search for your site, what keywords they use in that search. Do those keywords describe your business the way you want to be perceived? I thought this site would be one bring keywords like Futurist, foresight, building a better business and so on. I was wrong!


Try this quick exercise:

Open up Google in a browser, type Google keyword tool, click on the 1st or second link, the Adwords links.

Then, on the left hand side, uncheck Broad, and then check Exact.

In the second dialog box on the right, put your sites URL

Then hit SEARCH!

You will find below a list of keywords that people have been using to find your site, are they keywords that describe your site? You will be surprised that the keywords do not match how you feel about your site, or what you thought they should be. You will now be able to target your keywords better knowing what Google thinks about your site.

The Internet is a weird and yet predictable family member, your business will use the game changer on some level, you won’t be able to avoid it. You will find your business being drawn to the dark side called Affiliate Marketing, you will either sell your products through the many ad networks or you will sell someone’s products & services for a commission. There it is, we will all become commission sales people / businesses, from out office, from out patio, on our vacations, we will do business wherever we happen to be. This isn’t news, not NEW news, many have been doing this for years, we merely mocked them, looked down on them, we avoided them, we avoided the business model.

You can run but you can’t hide, this open & free business model will catchup to you, and you will find yourself trying to figure out how to adopt it. I truly believe this business model will be the most common one used in the future, once we get passed old ways of thinking, once we accept the truth…..the Industrial Age is DEAD!

I’m not advocating or putting down Internet Marketers, like most businesses, there are good people, and you will always here about the bad ones. It’s almost always people that are the problem, motive tends to speak louder than anything you can say. Affiliate Marketing is one major player in the business of the future, we won’t be able to rely on just revenue source here online, there’s too many people.

How do you feel about business going in this direction, how will your business leverage it? Eventually, you will be an Affiliate of something, it will become part of your DNA in every online business.

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For as long as I can remember, nothing ever stays the same, and yet we fight tooth and nail to keep things in their rightful place so we know where to find it. Most of us even call ourselves change agents, that really only applies to everyone else right? We don’t mind walking others through change as long as it doesn’t impact our own little worlds. The truth is, when it comes to our businesses, we had better embrace change.

You would have to be in complete denial or not have a pulse to see that it’s not business as usual, just look around you, people are behaving differently more today than any other time in history. Hell, younger generations own a phone but don’t know how to speak on it, they only communicate via some flavour of text messaging. What happened, my sister used to live on the phone when she was a teenager, now it’s a mobile device in hand and we’ll text all day long.

If there’s one thing you should be learning here at, it’s change. The world of business is not what we are comfortable with, we have to move with it or be ignored, especially in the digital realm. One of the first things to consider here is this, the same problem will always confront you, and that is how to get attention. We have been struggling with that one problem for some time, back in the day we thought Radio, TV, and Newspaper were the best ways to get that done, not anymore.

Enter in the Internet and it’s soon to be 5 Billion eyeballs, the playing field has changed (there’s that word), now reaching the world is much cheaper, and anyone can talk to anyone at any given time. But here’s the bigger problem, even though we can spread the word faster and cheaper, how do we actually get the masses attention? Well, now you have to change the way you look at your business, you have to change the way you think, because you no longer have control over it. That’s right, the consumer of tomorrow will not tolerate being manipulated into a sale, in fact, if they sense it, they’re gone. Today you have to be transparent, you can’t lie, mislead or trick and get away with it, that’s a problem for most big businesses because they have considered consumers as not that smart to figure things out. Today you have to give away something before consumers actually notice you. I’m generalizing of course, but you get the point, because you ARE smart people.

You’re probably wondering why I’m even talking about this, well, for some reason business owners are struggling with the change that needs to take place. Big business has to give up control, they have to learn how to trust the people formerly known as consumers. You’ve read that here many times before, but what’s the problem? Big business doesn’t know what to do, still, even after 5 years of heavy Social Media integration.

Let’s be honest here, Social Media has passed the I’m a new fad phase, Social is changing, it’s a natural process now in many circles, except small to medium businesses. Most of the smaller operations still want to do things the old way, they don’t understand the changes happening around them. Why? For the most part they aren’t paying attention, and attention is everything! What happens when over 60% of commerce is done on a handheld devices, when everything goes mobile, what will small to medium sized business do then? Play catchup, it will be too late. They can’t hide behind a lack of knowledge, there’s so much of it out here, so there’s a deeper reason, there has to be.

The funny thing about business owners and entrepreneurs is, they only have one vision for that business, they tend to only see how they can sell their product or service based on what they know and were taught. That’s usually old industrial age process and thinking, it’s not right or wrong, we must think differently today to see a bigger picture. Smart, well intentioned people struggle the most. Looking beyond the transaction, think more on the lines of interaction, it’s relationship building, it’s building trust, and that takes an investment and time. Mostly, it takes change. You will have to give more of your business away, put it consumers hands before the transaction will take place.

We are about to enter a world so mobile and social, we’ll think it was invented 15 years from now, a quantum leap is about to take place in the next 3 – 5 years, and I hope to reach as many business owners as possible before it happens. Social is no longer a platform, it’s a feature. We won’t even think Social Media anymore, it will be a natural DNA of everything we do, it will be everything mobile.

So build for mobile and let social be the tide or current if you will, those who get attention will have built their businesses future on smartphones, and above all, give consumers access and a seamless way to buy.

Use Nine Inch Nails business model, CWF + RTB = $$$$ it’s the 90 /10 rule.

I’m a little long winded today I know, but I can’t help it, I run into far too many business owners fighting the change, change happens every second of our lives, don’t fight it, embrace it. Change is coming, and lots of it. Are you prepared, if not, I’m available to help.


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The Nine Inch Nails Open Core Business Model is not new, in fact it’s been well documented. So why is it that few are using the model? As I have stated here over and over again, the future of business is not a bunch of steps, a list to execute, or a set of action items, it’s how you and I think about business, how we provide what customers and follower’s want. Our view of business in the world must change, we can’t keep applying old rules to a new model. Here is a short snippet of Trent Reznor’s Open Core Business Model.

The band (NIN) merely saw something better than the record labels channels of distribution, and more importantly, it’s control over the bands music. So here’s Trent Reznor’s Business Model:

CwF + RtB = $$$$

Do you get it? Probably not, unless you have already read the case study.

This is the Open & Free Business Model working, this is really a precursor to the future of music, so what does the equation stand for or mean.

CwF is Connect With Fans, simple enough right? RtB stands for Reason To Buy. So how did they do it?

After NIN left their record label, released 36 tracks on the Internet, they were put under the Creative Commons License, and then made the first 9 tracks of those 36 available to fans, FREE! How did that help them make money, stay with me.

Nine Inch Nails – Trent Reznor, packaged their music along with other great things you couldn’t get anywhere else, that couldn’t be copied. They made two packages giving you the fans an experience to be relived over and over again, one a deluxe package at $75 and another Ultra Deluxe Package at $300, the difference between the two, the $75 package was made unlimited, the $300 package was a limited set of only 2,500. Oh, these larger packages were personally signed by Trent Reznor as well.

So what happened, well, the $300 package sold out in 30 hours, so…2,500 packages x $300 = $750,000!!!

All without the controlling record label, they did it by giving the fans something they really wanted…hot tip there. Is this starting to take shape in your mind, are starting see your business doing something your customers truly want?

Now, not all of us has the following or resources of an already successful band. That’s not what I’m try to show you. The way they looked at the record business, how they were willing to risk everything but trusting the fans, are you willing to do business by trusting the people formerly known as consumers?

This business model, the future of business has many shapes and sizes, the hard part is stepping away far enough from your own business to see how to leverage this Open & Free Business Model.

Mike Masnick shares the entire story of this business model and some of the other great things Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails did:


I will be speaking at The World Futurist Society Conference July 8th – 10th in Vancouver, British Columbia on The Future Of Business – Open & Free Business Model. Specifically I am schedule Saturday July 9th at 8:30AM to share, it would great to meet you there.

Change the way you think about the future of business and explore what could be, I would be honored to help you.

A lot of words are misunderstood, that’s a given, but here online there are two that really mess people up. Now, I see tough times ahead for TV, Newspapers, Magazines, Music Stores, Book Stores and so on, these are the obvious ones. In fact, most major corporations are trying to figure out how to make these two words work for them. The problem isn’t the words, the problem is in the past, it’s called the Industrial age.

Remember when Social Media first came on the scene, your boss heard the words Social Media and freaked out. The picture that came to mind was people standing around a water cooler and not working, just shooting the breeze. I’m certain that is still a problem in most businesses, but they are dead wrong. Yes, Social Media is misunderstood, but those aren’t the two words I’m talking about now.

The two most misunderstood words are, Open & Free. Open & Free is a business model, and they are completely taken the wrong way, much like Social Media was and is still today. Open means many things, here online, they can mean, open systems and transparency. Free does not always mean free literally, but sometimes it does, and that’s where the rub is for business owners.

Open & Free are trying to achieve a balance the same way Sharing vs Piracy is trying to gain credibility. The problem as I mentioned earlier is, old thinking, we have to unlearn most of what we understand in the old business model of control. How you ask. The best way is to hire someone like myself that sees the world of business online as it will be, not as it is. I don’t mean someone who is guessing, someone who can show you in a methodical way that makes sense, in a simple way you understand. The future of business is not that hard to see, but it is if you’re using old eyes, the way you’ve always done things. Remember a primary principle, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Using the Open & Free Business Model in your business takes work, starting with looking at your business in a new and exciting way. Open may mean that you are giving your customers access to you, if you have been hiding from them before. In this new world business of commerce, you can’t hide anymore, you must connect with those who are buying and using your product and services. This isn’t new to some, but most still try to control who gets to them, and I’m betting it’s not going so well.

Free may mean you are selling a three part product or service, and you are giving part one away for free, and then charging for access to the other two parts. It could be a product, or it could be a consulting service. I have over simplified it here for you but it’s not this simple really, there’s much, much more to this model than described here.

If you want to learn more about The Open & Free Business Model, snoop around this blog for more posts, attend my workshop if you are local to me, hire me as a think-tank leader, and lastly, you can wait for my book to come out.

Open & Free are lonely words because they are The Two Most Misunderstood Words On The Internet Today.