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.

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I may sound like a broken record here but, the title says it all, the Future Of Business is between your ears. There is so much confusion about how business will be done in the next 5 – 10 years, all you have to do is talk to the under 20 generation (Gen C ) and you will get a glimpse into the future, what they want, how they will go about getting it,and how they will build business.

I recently spoke at The World Futurist Society Conference in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, I opened my talk by letting everyone know, I was only trying to get between their ears, to open their mind. I was blessed to have met one of my online digital mentors, he also took in my session and was a good sport, Glen Hiemstra, I am blessed and honored that you gave me 90 minutes of your time. I can only hope I can return your generosity.

One of the biggest surprises for me was, only 25% at best were using Twitter and other Social Networks, most were using FaceBook though.  And this was a Futurist Conference! Did I mention I hate FaceBook? Ya that probably offended someone : ) Why does that seem odd too me? You would think if anyone was going to be leading the way with technology, it would be the majority of this group. This is not to put down the World Futurist Society in any way, it is an observation that I found interesting and somewhat disappointing.

I shared the Open & Free Business Model, much of the content was from my workshops, and I can tell you there was much resistance, but I called them on it. I asked out loud, why are business owners reluctant to give something away content, product or service without payment, why is Free not acceptable, but when another business provides a product or service, they are first in line to get it. Harsh? Maybe. I was merely asking the question why are we like that as business owners, and then turn around and say we want to make the world a better place. The reason most likely is, we all want to make the world a better place based on our terms, not someone else’s.

I provided many examples of how this model might look for them and their business, I was very open & transparent about how I felt, what tools I used, how I make my living, and where I made money, and yet there was still skepticism. Which proves the point, the problem is not how to do something, it’s between the ears, how we think about business, how business has been moving towards free. Free merely means this, free takes you to a place where you can be asked to be paid. The secret ingredients, packaging and giving an experience consumers can’t get anywhere else, even for free. You’ve read that here over and over again, I’ve said it hundreds of times at speaking engagements, but it’s still a challenge for most business owners. My work is geared towards helping you pay attention to what’s going on from a Paradigm Shift, business is going digital faster than you and I can keep up with, at least lift your head up and take notice. In my community, we are probably 18 months behind the rest of the world, that spells tragedy in my books.

When I asked what I see, I always respond with, “I See Dead Businesses”, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

The Open & Free Business Model is more about how you think towards Open & Free, yes there are some common denominators and basic steps to take in your strategy, but it’s how you think mostly, it’s between your ears.


If you need help changing the way you think towards the Future of Business, there is much here on this blog to help you get started, you have to work for it. You could follow me on Twitter & Google+ and various other Social Networks and chat with me, pay attention to the content I share, that’s free! That’s another hot tip, Pay With Attention. Or, you could hire me to come and help you and your organization, to help you prepare for the changes that are already under way. Changes that impact the way you do business in the future.

A friend of mine in Seattle is very much a transportation expert, in fact, he predicted flying cars would be here sooner than we anticipated, but I was skeptical. Not any longer. I can remember as a young boy talking about how someday we would be like the Jetsons, but here on earth, not in space. Do you remember the cartoon based show, every Saturday morning we would watch the Jetsons and pretend it was me flying around in one of those fan-dangled vehicles. Glen Hiemstra from the site Futurist.com, made a statement not to long ago, here’s his quote, ” Looking ahead, over the next decade or two we will, nationally and internationally, need to be thinking systemically about travel demand and supply, advanced transportation technologies, and how to achieve sustainable transportation, if that is possible.” Advanced Technologies, could it be that Glen is talking about flying cars? Probably not.

The truth is, the 1st flying car is expected to be available in 2011, that’s right, a company called, Terrafugia Inc. has produced a vehicle that flies! Barring government interference and the FTC, we should see this car soon. Now I figured you wouldn’t believe me so I am going to let you see for yourself, I have for you a video of the car actually flying, and parked in a driveway. Wrap your brain around this, I can see all kinds of problems making this car available. Hell we can’t drive properly on roads now let alone be flying too! On June 3rd, 2009 this car took it’s first flight, here’s the video:

There is this feeling that nothing is going to change much, that business as we know it is going to carry on, and the online commerce world will just be like someone who sits on the bench. Someone who comes in adds a few extra dollars during the low points in the game of business. The truth is, the opposite is happening, advancements and innovation is growing faster than any one person can keep up with. Online commerce is and has become the de facto standard for generating revenue, the ugly works still needs to be done, but it’s more likely to be automated for the most part.

Business owners are struggling big time with letting the customer have some of the control, letting the customer tell the business owner what they want and they had better deliver. If they don’t deliver, people will look for what they want elsewhere. Gerd Leonhard coined it, “Proudly Found Elsewhere”. The safety net of control is broken, you see it everywhere, but big business is fighting tooth and nail to maintain that control. The future of doing business online is about reducing control, we will have to reduce control to get more share in the marketplace. Those who resist will find themselves wondering what happened and how did they miss it, people will get fired for not seeing the shift.

The music industry is not willing to reduce control, major TV networks don’t want to reduce control, and the Net Neutrality movement is all about controlling what you can do and what you watch. As brilliant as man is, we are very short-sighted when it comes to money and people.

The message of an Open & Free Business Model where I believe everyone wins, needs to be embraced. There is a need for more people like Gerd Leonhard, Glen Hiemstra and the extreme futurists like Ray Kurzweil to help you embrace the future of an ever changing world. To help you see something bigger than yourself, something bigger than your business, it’s happening all around you whether you like it or not. There is a tidal wave of people coming, and most business owners (small to medium sized business mostly) are looking the other way.

The world is more connected than it has ever been before, a connected and networked audience is dramatically different from what you’re used to. You cannot control a connected audience. They re-group on the fly, they will go someplace else if it’s too hard to get what they want from you, they will find it elsewhere. The experience this connected world has with you, determines your worth, you’ll either gain there trust or you won’t, but making things as easy as possible to do business with you will take you a long way to gaining that trust. The world is EPIC, Experiential, Participatory, Image Driven and Connected.

Resist the notion that being in control will make money,embrace a more open & free business model and turn your attraction into transactions. Create new ways of doing business, make the paradigm shift to an open business model and build a new safety net,by trusting your customers. If you don’t accept the new world of business online, you will learn very quickly, that your safety net of control is broken.