When we will look back at this time, it will been seen as a time not only of hardship, but one of great opportunity as business transforms itself.
Just as newspapers fade, blogs and digital publishing flourish, allowing journalists to run their own papers and express their own views. As retailers struggle, it becomes easier and less expensive to open your own web-based niche store.
We are learning that one-size doesn’t fit all – it actually doesn’t fit anyone very well. This applies in business, much like it applies to resumes.
For instance, we are restoring this awesome vintage pop-up camper (translation: 50 years old, rusty, and given to us by my girlfriend’s Dad). In years past, we would have had to run all over to every camping store, boat store and auto store in town to find all stuff needed to restore the beast. Now, we go to Google, look up the camper’s name (it’s a Nimrod – chuckle) and we can find links to stores that sell parts, covers, repair kits and protection specifically for Nimrods (I chuckle every time I say the name). There’s a whole cottage industry just to restore old Nimrods (chuckle).
These websites were built by someone like you who enjoyed camping, got an old camper, and was frustrated finding materials to refurbish it in their own town. They realized that these old campers were built like tanks and just needed some TLC, paint, patches, and maybe some new cloth to restore them to their former glory of a great weekend getaway.
Some of these ordinary fans of camping realized that others might have the same problem, so they opened up an online store. These are some of the ideas that are transforming American business. These businesses aren’t just employing entrepreneurs, but are employing others, and are the growth engine of US job growth.
You can find these types of opportunities also – but you won’t find them on job boards. You’ll find them by getting to know the owners, discussing their problems (every growing business has problems) and describing how you’ve already solved similar problems. Or find a problem like camper parts … and solve it yourself.
One of my favorite authors, Seth Godin wrote this piece about all the opportunity that is out there, right in front of our eyes in his article “The Opportunity Is Here”.
“At the same time that our economic engines are faltering, something else is happening. Like all revolutions, it happens in fits and starts, without perfection, but it’s clearly happening.
The mass market is being replaced by multiple micro markets and the long tail of choice.
Google is connecting buyers and sellers over vaster distances, more efficiently and more cheaply than ever before.
Manufacturing is more of a conceptual hurdle than a practical one.
The exchange of information creates ever more value, while commodity products are ever cheaper. It takes fewer employees to generate more value, make more noise and impact more people.
Most of all is this: every individual, self-employed or with a boss, is now more in charge of her destiny than ever before. The notion of a company town or a stagnant industry with little choice is fading fast.
Right before your eyes, a fundamentally different economy, with different players and different ways to add value is being built. What used to be an essential asset (for a person or for a company) is worth far less, while new attributes are both scarce and valuable.
Are there dislocations? There’s no doubt about it. Pain and uncertainty and risk, for sure.
The opportunity, though, is the biggest of our generation (or the last one, for that matter). The opportunity is there for anyone (with or without a job) smart enough to take it–to develop a best in class skill, to tell a story, to spread the word, to be in demand, to satisfy real needs, to run from the mediocre middle and to change everything.
¡Note! Like all revolutions, this is an opportunity, not a solution, not a guarantee. It’s an opportunity to poke and experiment and fail and discover dead ends on the way to making a difference. The old economy offered a guarantee–time plus education plus obedience = stability. The new one, not so much. The new one offers a chance for you to take a chance and make an impact.
¡Note! If you’re looking for ‘how’, if you’re looking for a map, for a way to industrialize the new era, you’ve totally missed the point and you will end up disappointed. The nature of the last era was that repetition and management of results increased profits. The nature of this one is the opposite: if someone can tell you precisely what to do, it’s too late. Art and novelty and innovation cannot be reliably and successfully industrialized.
In 1924, Walt Disney wrote a letter to Ub Iwerks. Walt was already in Hollywood and he wanted his old friend Ubbe to leave Kansas City and come join him to build an animation studio. The last line of the letter said “PS I wouldn’t live in KC now if you gave me the place—yep—you bet—Hooray for Hollywood.” And, just above, in larger letters, he scrawled, ‘Don’t hesitate—Do it now.’
It’s not 1924, and this isn’t Hollywood, but it is a revolution, and there’s a spot for you (and your boss if you push) if you realize you’re capable of making a difference. Or you could be frustrated. Up to you.
Original article by Seth Godin at: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/04/the-opportunity.html
It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur or work for a large corporation. If you see the opportunity of unlimited specialized micro markets, you’ll look back on 2011 as a time of amazing opportunity and transformation.
But, if you look at your job – or your job search – in the same old way … you’ll look back at 2011 as a crummy year.
It’s your choice …-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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