The industrial era is ending and we are advancing into the digital one. During this transition period, revolutions in society and business are happening , what does this mean for us ?
This post is a mini-manifesto, and an introduction to my blog.
The Industrial Mass
The previous Era started about 200 years ago, when Enlightened philosophers and patriots installed Democracy in the New World and when occidental powers discovered how to harness the power of steam, then electricity to create formidable machines.
This changed everything.
The productive -and destructive- power of mankind, reached unparalled heights.
Factories, powerplants, railroads, buildings, popped everywhere. The economy became globalized. Private companies grew in size and power, and sometimes more than whole nations.
Of course, this brought along a number of improvements for the society, including Competition, Scientific revolution, Property rights for all, Modern medicine, Consumer society, and Work ethic, what Niall Ferguson call The 6 killer apps of prosperity.
This was also the Era of Mass. Mass production, mass consumption, mass markets, mass politics, mass education, even mass destruction. Everything was brought on a massive, globalized, scale.
The downside, is that what we call the “middle class” was being used by the Elite, who needed good workers and good consumers, but mostly kept money, power and knowledge for themselves. Even though the society evolved, the power distribution was still largely uneven.
As we are shifting from one Era to another, everything is changing again, and we can expect changes with the same magnitude as the changes of the Industrial era.
The world at your fingertips
Though I have no idea what name future historians will give to this new Era, I decided to call it for now “The Digital Era”, because even though we still have not flying cars, the society is transforming because of computers, and more specifically, the Internet.
Think about it, now everything is digitized : businesses, money, social interactions, yourself, everything.
But what does the word “digital” means anyway ?
Well it’s anything that relates to digits, ie numbers, or more specifically, in the modern meaning, it’s anything related to computing and information.
Incidentally the word also comes from the latin digitus meaning fingers.
So in a way, we could say anything that is digital is just at your fingertips, you just have to reach and take it.
The implications are huge, we can’t even think of all the applications this will have in the future, but we have already a good taste of it :
The first revolution we can acknowledge is the communication revolution, thanks to the internet information is being transmitted at lightspeed between individuals, and anyone can connect with billions of others, just with some moves of the fingers.
Even Kings of ancient eras couldn’t dream of such a tool, and now you have it.
As billions are actively producing, sharing and consuming information, it’s not anymore something reserved to the elite few. As individuals, we are empowered like never before.
The Social interactions are also changing tremendously, like minded individuals are brought together without being limited by distance, borders, language, etc. This revolution is re-shaping the whole society into a society of Networks, Tribes and communities.
This is no longer a society of mass, now that we can break away from it and build our own network.
The question that remains, is, when you have the ability to connect in no time with billions of other individuals, what do you do about it ? What can you do now to take advantage of this ?
You no longer need a large mass of money or a large mass of people, you can spread your creations, products or ideas with just a computer and wifi access.
During the mass era, the traditional way to be noticed was to pay hefty sums to display a billboard at a good location so that many people can see it, or even pay for expensive ads on television’s prime time.
Nowadays, the billboards and the TV ads gets less and less effective, as the internet diffusion progress.
Already people spend more time on computers and mobile devices than on TV. And it’s way cheaper and more effective to communicate on the web. You can specifically connect with the people who matters to you, you can engage them and get instant feedback, and most of all you can show you care about them.
Actually, earning people’s interest proves to be way more effective than buying it. And though it takes more time, it’s a lot more accessible to the likes of you and me.
This means, and it has been a growing trend during the last few years, that you can actively work and live for whatever you are truly passionate about and enable lots of individuals to benefit from your work.
You don’t have any more to climb your way up to the tedious corporate and social ladder, you can actually just create your own ladder.
The Smart Business Cat
Now, this doesn’t tell you what the whole Business Cat thing is about.
Well the Business Cat is the avatar I chose to embody the ultimate business man of the Digital Era in a funny, friendly way (and something like “the smart business man” would have been a boring title anyway).
Also, cats are quite interesting creatures, and have several traits that can relate to my image of the digital business man. Cats are known to be independent, cunning, agile, and sociable, and in several cultures they are also a symbol of wealth and good fortune. Black cats are especially tied with luck wether it’s good or bad.
Now the other thing you probably noticed, is the small book he’s holding in his hand. This book represents both everything he reads to constantly learn and improve himself, but also what he writes, to process information and come up with his own ideas.
I’ll admit, i’m not a Smart Business Cat, not yet anyway, i’m just a mere Student Cat for now. But as a child of the digital era, by continuing to learn and experiment, I aim to get closer and closer to this ideal I created, and share with you what I find on the way.
I’ve set my goal, and plan to enjoy the journey.
On my next post, i’ll tell you more about more this ideal in details and on the topics i’ll be writing about on this blog, so if you want to know more about it and follow me in my quest for smartness, i encourage you to subscribe to my newsletter and join the conversation on Google+ !
Until next time.