Hugging a Wind Gust – How Smart Business People Do IT.

Sail BoatLike any hang glider knows, it is hard to control the wind. 

What about Reed Hastings and Netflix?  A decade ago he was embarrassed to tell his wife about late fees on a video rental he forgot to return.  A trip to the gym had him thinking, “why can’t I make renting a DVD video like my membership at the gym?  You pay a flat rate per month and use it all you want.”   Does Blockbuster wish they could turn back the clock and not charge this one guy a late fee?  Here comes a wind gust.  

Now Mister Hastings sees another wind gust coming and he is trying to figure out how to distribute your next movie through the internet.  His hope is to do that before his old business model goes away. 

Wind, like change is every there; sometimes escalating to hurricane force, at other times a gentle breeze.  Some wind . . . er . . . change comes as a real “game changer”, breaking the rules and creating whole new landscapes. 

Some massive changes that have . . . or will change your life. 

Websites. –  In three to five years you WILL have control of creating, changing and updating the information on your own web site.  Gone will be the days when some web designer charges you thousands of dollars to build an internet presence.  What is the change that is coming that will redo all the rules.  Robust blog software.   Can you say WordPress?

Printing.  – Ok, so it has changed already.  But it is an easy thing to use as an example.  I ordered some post cards last week.  The price was one fifth the local printer.  Fast, inexpensive, and done right the first time.  I have an acquaintance who was smart enough to sell his printing business to another going concern who saw the writing on the wall and had ALREADY created a internet based ordering system.  In fact they have one employee who is their email marketing wizard.  She alone is responsible for a lot of their printing business as she brings customers in based on her expertise on NON-PRINTING marketing. 

Graphic Design Services. – If you have not discovered then you are already behind on the trend called “crowdsourcing”.  This, and sites like InnoCentive, uTest and others uses a cost effective method to capture the creative abilities of the talented masses without paying for  overhead.  If LG can get a design for their next cell phone using CrowdSpring for $20,000,  why shouldn’t you get your next logo created for $200.  

Smart Phones – For twenty years I loved working in the personal computer industry.  For twenty years I heard hundreds of main frame “guys” talk down to the PC.  Over those twenty years I saw them quietly take their Cobol and Fortran expertise and ride off into the sunset (on their way to a A++ programming class).  The huge changes in cell phones in the next 4 to 5 years will have the same sort of disruptive power.  Who needs a LCD projector, your cell phone will have that built in (see

A.G. Lafley has had a great run at Procter & Gamble.  During his tenure as CEO the price of P&G stock has almost doubled.  His track record can be attributed to a lot of things (see .   like the purchase of Gillette (another great Norton story that I can share with you later). 

But his ability to understand and manage the wind of change was masterful.  He realized that others could invent faster than P&G could improve their own products.  During his tenure he created a organization that sought out and rewarded creative ideas.  He wanted a huge percent of P&Gs growth from capitalizing on the new creations of others. 

Are you oblivious to massive change?   A short test.  If you answer “no” to any of the following questions you might need to be concerned. 

·         Do you have your Facebook and LinkedIn pages done?

·         Have you posted to Twitter in the last 30 days?

·         Do you spend more than 1 to 2 hours a week on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter?  If you answered “yes” you also have a problem.

·         Have you bought any books on line in the last 6 months?

·         Do you have a YouTube video advertisement yet?

·         Do you have more than 30 connections on LinkedIn?

·         Do you Blog?

·         Do you “text”?

·         Have you done a new strategic plan since the start of the current recession? 

·         Have you talked to one of your customers in the last month about their ideas to improve your business?

Creativity is an imperative today.  It is a mandate for the future and since your future arrived yesterday, now is the time to ask yourself if you have tried to catch the wind . . .  or at least used it to sail into the future. 

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