Ever wonder why newspapers went the way of the dinosaur?
Thought deeply about why Uber has replaced taxis, Airbnb has outpaced boutique hotels and Amazon has squashed physical retailers?
The Internet is responsible, of course. Specifically, the Communications Internet. The one you and I use every day for work and life.
BUT THAT’S JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG.
The next big thing is the Energy Internet—developing in countries like Germany, Denmark and even China.
Close behind is the Transportation Internet. Where sensors connect machines to other machines (M2M technology) and connect all of it to people like you and me.
This is, of course, the Internet of Things (IOT for those in the know).
- 13 billion of these sensors are already in place worldwide
- According to IBM, by 2020 the count will rise to 30 billion
- By 2030, 100 trillion.
In case that seems far-fetched, remember that all the way back in 2016, Uber began offering rides in self-driving cars in San Francisco.
AND SO, HERE WE ARE.
In the early stages of the Third Industrial Revolution – a term coined by Jeremy Rifkin.
American economist and consultant for many of the planet’s leaders, Rifkin has been writing and talking about the end of work as we know it since the 1970’s.
His game-changing prediction?
Free energy will create a collaborative economy where consumers become prosumers (creators), and capitalism as we know it will no longer exist.
Angela Merkel didn’t think so when she hired Rifkin to shape Germany’s energy policy.
But the prospect of people creating their own power plants is just one aspect of this new collaborative economy.
Rifkin also predicted that the IOT would empower individuals to design their own software or “apps” to harness this new technology network to their benefit.
Which is indeed what has happened with Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
AND THE LIST GOES ON.
The fact is, when socioeconomic change is afoot, creative people can’t help but swoop in and stir things up.
While others can’t help but feel unsure about the future viability of their career options. Whatever your perspective, it’s a great time for you to do one or all of the following:
1) BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR.
The Communication Internet has sparked a rise of entrepreneurs that is unsurpassed in human history. Despite what you might think, it’s not just in Silicon Valley.
But is entrepreneurship right for you if you’ve been corporate-side your entire career?
To uncover the answer, consider what truly gets you out of bed in the morning. Then imagine how it might feel to live your passion, versus supporting someone else’s.
If you’re intrigued, find comfort in the fact that some really successful people have already made this jump.
Like Jonathan Fields, who left a lucrative career as an attorney to start the Good Life Project – dedicated to helping people attain mindfulness, meaning and personal fulfilment in how they live their lives.
Too warm and fuzzy for you? Then check out Jeff Cavaliere. Known for his work with the New York Mets, Jeff has moved on to create his own approach to fitness for men of all walks of life, shapes and sizes.
2) RETHINK YOUR COMPANY’S BUSINESS STRATEGY.
Whether you’re corporate or renegade, this current global shift is the perfect time to plan for the future.
Regardless of your industry, technology will continue to play an increasing role in every aspect of your business: how you communicate with customers; how you structure your workforce; what skills you hire for and cultivate internally; and even, how you plan out your workspace.
Again, think sensors and how they can monitor your success.
For example, maybe your company has a manufacturing component. And you experiment with 3D printers that streamline the workflow and increase your output exponentially.
- COOs will focus on finding the most effective, efficient ways to use this new potential in existing structures.
- CFOs will, of course, be tracking the ROI at every turn.
- CEOs will increasingly use big data to keep reinventing the big picture.
- Managers will embrace the challenges and opportunities that the inevitable merging of physical and virtual presents for their teams.
Admittedly, this is heady stuff. But guess what? It’s already here. So don’t put off getting started on your plans.
3) REASSESS YOUR CAREER POTENTIAL.
Whether you’re a c-suite exec, a senior manager or a board member, what you do and how you do is already shifting under your feet like desert sand.
Granted, the old economy isn’t going to go away overnight.
And even Rifkin himself professes that capitalism in some form will exist side-by-side with what he calls the “collaborative commons”.
So, the point is not to panic. The point is to clearly and calmly assess your strengths and consciously choose a path forward for yourself as a commodity.
What do you do best? How does this translate into the future of your current industry? Into evolving ones? Or even, into industries yet to be born?
Think about it deeply.
Think about yourself as a brand whose personality will maximise the exact moment the Third Industrial Revolution goes full force.
4) BUILD OR REVAMP YOUR PERSONAL BRAND.
Remember when I mentioned that newspapers are now extinct?
Well, the same is true for the entire publishing industry. Magazines and TV have been replaced by blogs (like this one), email newsletters and YouTube.
Not surprisingly, this has led to the rise of online personalities, some of whom dominate micro-niches and command significant amounts of online attention.
You guessed it. I’m talking about people with strong personal brands that skillfully leverage blogs, YouTube and social media to elevate their visibility as thought leaders.
One great example is Gary Vaynerchuk. Born in the Soviet Union and transplanted to New York, Gary took over his family’s wine business at 22.
His digital marketing savvy quickly grew the business from $1M to $50M in one year. Today, he runs his own digital media conglomerate.
CAN YOU SEE WHERE THIS IS GOING?
If you want to have options in 2018 and beyond, if you want to rise to the top, if you want to stand out—start building your online brand now.
Figure out what you want to stand for, what you want to be known for, and start publishing content.
CAVEAT: Don’t just add more noise to the Internet.
The one commonality that each persona featured in this newsletter shares is purpose. Every word they post is a reflection of their beliefs, hopes, dreams and goals. Not just for them personally, but for the rest of us.
My parting advice to you?
Make every word you publish a work of art. A piece of you. Make everything you do useful and meaningful to another human being.
And now I’m going to get online and research 3D printers. I’m hoping to find one that can create a clone of me for 2018. So much to do!