Most of us sense that we are in the middle of a paradigm shift. Old ways of working, doing business, functioning in the world aren’t effective anymore.
The questions I’m asking myself are:
- What does this new paradigm look like?
- What is my place in this new world?
- What do I need to do to adapt?
CJ Cornell attempts to describe the paradigm shift in the context of entrepreneurship:
1) “The direct, straight-line relationships between participants in business transaction are starting to dissolve.” I’ve seen this throughout my blogging life. The money I’ve made blogging have been in job and networking opportunities. NOT in “monetizing the blog.” There’s usually 2-4 steps in between. It’s been about the quality of my network connections and the value I am bringing to that network. It’s the way things work. It’s time to expect that the connection between effort and desired result is not going to be direct. It’s time to expect delayed gratification and not seeing how your efforts make a difference right out of the gate. I’m beginning to think that efforts to shortcut this process are disingenuous.
2) To survive, you need to excel at building your piece of the structure and have faith that there are others building the complementary parts of the same vision. It’s a combination of specialization into very tiny niches (finding the one thing that no one else can do), deep teamwork, openness to the new , and the ability to put things together. To me, it’s a sign that it’s time to get extraordinarily clear and focused on what your values are and what you bring to the table.
3) We are in an age of abundance in everything, everywhere, immediately. This brings its own set of problems. Abundance of crops = rot. Abundance of information = overload. Abundance of money = inflation. Abundance of cells = cancer. It also brings its own set of opportunities to solve these problems.
“Every abundance creates a new scarcity” – Chris Anderson
Cornell sees opportunities for entrepreneurs in filtering, prioritizing, contextualization, collaboration. All these opportunities address the scarcity that has developed from the new abundance.
4) The network is the key. We can no longer isolate ourselves from the network or from communities within the network and expect to be successful.
5) Scaling is more than just doing the same thing bigger. “Simply fueling the company with more resources will not expedite the “connect the dots” process through the network. Cornell suggests getting the network to scale for you and allowing the members of the network to work on your behalf. This means letting go of control and concrete plans. This means recovering from our “control enthusiasm.” (Patrick Warburton – control enthusiast link)
6) Smallball (a deliberate focus on a series of base hits, to use a baseball analogy) is an appropriate strategy. To do this in a Metapreneurship context, this means small, fast experiments with measurement and iteration.
7) Joining, supporting and benefiting from existing movements is an appropriate strategy. It’s not about “creating a movement.” For Cornell, it’s about “enabling others to self-organize around an idea”. For me, it’s about joining the flow of what is going on around me and doing what I can to contribute. I find this concept a lot less stressful.
8) Interacting with groups as a single entity vs. interacting with individuals. Cornell sees a difference between the collective intelligence and behaviors of groups and dealing with a group as a series of individuals. I’ll admit to being torn about this idea. Very torn. The problem is mine, and not in the way Cornell describes the trend.
- I feel that real change starts within the individual and that the true locus of control is in personal behavior.
- I worry that I am missing something when I remove too many variables – like individual experience.
- I am resisting the idea that we are all lemmings (despite ample evidence that we are easily manipulated and influenced to believe what the crowd believes and behave the way the crowd behaves).
- My main phobia is large groups of people. I avoid large gatherings as much as possible. My definition of large gathering is more than 20 people.
Thus far in my research, Cornell’s The Age of Metapreneurship seems to provide one of the clearest assessments of how to adapt to this new paradigm as an entrepreneur.