A good friend sent this to me ... ha-ha ... reading it made him think of me ... lol. I can safely say, much of my positive results in business, social contacts, influence, jobs/projects, discovering great friends and invaluable assistance, even improving my love life ... have been largely due to my blog over the last 6 years. Very nice to see (parts of it) being viewed from a scholarly perspective. ... And the funny thing is I don't even like to network or socialise much ... I would have been much richer monetary wise if I was a great ass-kisser, but what the heck!
The Future of You
Economic and technological changes are reshaping the nature of work. Having a great job does not guarantee your career success; your competence no longer depends on what you know; and being an affluent consumer matters less than becoming a sought-after product. Welcome to a new era of work, where your future depends on being a signal in the noisy universe of human capital. In order to achieve this, you will need to master three things: self-branding, entrepreneurship, and hyperconnectivity.
Self-branding is about being a signal in the noise of human capital. The stronger your brand, the stronger that signal. In today's world, self-branding matters more than any other form of talent, not least because the mass market is unable (or unwilling) to distinguish between branding and talent.
We are all individuals, but unless we are also a brand, our individuality will be invisible. Being a brand means showcasing that which makes you special, in a way that is distinctive (recognizable), predictable (consistent), and meaningful (it allows others to understand what you do and why). This is why David Beckham and Lady Gaga are much more successful than their more talented competitors — they understood that being a marketing phenomenon is more important than displaying outstanding soccer skills or musical talent, and focused more on self-branding than their counterparts did.
Successful brands are polarizing (they generate strong reactions) and simple. Strong self-branding means removing all non-essentials from your public reputation or, as Antoine Saint-Exupery put it, "perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
Entrepreneurship is about adding value to society by disrupting it and improving the order of things: it is turning the present into the past by creating a better future.
We are all busy, but the only activity that really matters is enterprising activity or entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is the difference between being busy and being a business, and the reason why some are able to stay in business.
Everything that isn't already optimized or automatized depends on people, and every transaction between people is a business transaction. The most important commodity in human capital today is people who can grow a business, that is, work on the business rather than in a business.
Today's war for talent is the war for identifying, developing, and retaining true change-agents. Change-agents are hard to find, hard to manage, and hard to retain. Entrepreneurship is about being a change-agent; change-agents are signals, everyone else is noise. If you are not bringing growth, you are replaceable and recyclable.
Whether you are self-employed or employed by others, whether you work in a big business or own a small business, your career success depends on your ability to offer something new: new solutions for existing problems; new services and products; new ideas; etc. Everything that isn't new is old, and if you are doing old you are stuck in the past. In the age entrepreneurship, the future of you is new, and your value depends on your ability to do things differently. As the great Alan Kay pointed out, "a change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points."
Hyperconnectivity is about being a signal in the sea of data and making and shaping the waves of social knowledge.
We are all online, but what matters is being a relevant connector. Hyperconnectivity is not about being online 24/7; it's about optimizing the online experience for others.
Unless you are a hyperconnector, only Netflix cares about what movies you watch, and only your friends care about where you went for brunch. But when you are a hyperconnector, thousands of people will watch the movies you like and your brunch recommendations will shape reviewers' comments on TripAdvisor. In the era of information overload, being a trustworthy source of information is a rare commodity — it is the digital equivalent of being an intellectual and the latest state in the evolution of marketing.
The world's knowledge is too large to be stored anywhere; Wikipedia and Google aren't enough; the Library of Congress isn't enough. Hyperconnectors point us in the right direction. Anybody can upload a video on YouTube or tweet, but only a few can direct us to the videos or tweets we want to see.
The most important form of knowledge today is knowing where to find stuff. In fact, the ability to find stuff is now almost as important as the ability to create stuff. Hyperconnectors are the creative of the digital era because in the age of information overload, where everybody creates online content, effectively curating content is what really matters.
In short, the future of you depends on your ability to be a brand, a change agent, and a link to useful information. Paying attention to your personality and managing your reputation (how others see you) will turn you into a successful brand; paying attention to your ideas and defying the status quo will help you become a change agent; and bridging the gap between social knowledge and collective interests will turn you into a hyperconnector.