If you think you’ve been making more and more important decisions on your own these days, you’re not alone. From your 401(k), to your healthcare, to the clients your retain, to where and how you live, work and worship, we live in an increasingly self-directed world.
As Thomas Friedman (The World Is Flat), noted in an op-ed piece today, “something really big happened in the world’s wiring in the last decade, but it was obscured by the financial crisis and post-9/11.” Thanks to social media, 4G, iProducts, broadband, wireless, the cloud, Big Data, Skype and apps, we’re now more connected than ever, Friedman observes, so there are more ways for people to “start stuff, collaborate on stuff, learn stuff, make stuff (and destroy stuff) with more people than ever before.”
Friedman and others have noted that if you’re self-motivated, it’s a great time to be alive. Many of the barriers that used to slow you down are gone, but a lot more responsibility rests on you. A big, company, firm, union, or government isn’t there to hold your hand as much anymore.
Warning shot to those ‘mailing it in’
“But, if you’re not self-motivated, this world will be a challenge, because the walls, ceilings and floors that protected people are also disappearing,” observed Friedman.
Now most of you on this distribution list are among the most highly motivated, highly creative, highly caffeinated people we know. If not, you would have opted-out a long time ago and that’s why we love you.
Our blog and the conclusion to this post has more.
Whether or not you think the market’s run into record territory is sustainable, we’re starting to see signs of real support (not because there’s nowhere else for investors to put their money). Average single family home prices rose 9.3 percent in February, their fastest rate in almost seven years according to the S&P/Case Shiller index yesterday. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said Monday that consumer spending rose another 0.2 percent in March, following a 1 percent increase in the January to February period. Personal income and after-tax income also rose in March. Experts say higher incomes are helping to offset the end of the two-year (2%) Social Security tax holiday on workers’ paychecks. What’s more, this week’s stock market rise has been fueled by tech companies, which had been laggards earlier in the year due to investor concern over weak business spending and concerns over sluggish overseas sales.
While many businesses, economists and market watchers are waiting for a rebound from this slow growth economy, we see today’s environment as the new normal. There are still big opportunities in a slow-growth economy, and the winners will be those firms who can increase their margins, not necessarily their topline revenue or billings. While others see threats, danger, disintermediation and loss of turf in this self-directed world, you see opportunity. No single firm, company or product really owns the marketplace anymore--and if they do, they don’t get to own it for long. Celebrate your agility, not your lack of resources.
It’s on you now. Don’t ever take your foot off the accelerator. Just stay focused and keep your eyes on the road at all times.
Tags: Thomas Friedman, The World Is Flat, S&P/Case Shiller index, 4G, iProducts, broadband, wireless, the cloud, Big Data, Skype and apps