Must-Read Weekend Reading

Is it only me, or do you believe 4 well-written articles all speak to one big coming change? I’ll let you decide. Things I think are worth reading this weekend.

Disruption or Shift?

“We are living in a world where flow will prevail and topple any obstacles in its way,” says Hagel. “As flow gains momentum, it undermines the precious knowledge stocks that in the past gave us security and wealth. It calls on us to learn faster by working together and to pull out of ourselves more of our true potential, both individually and collectively. It excites us with the possibilities that can only be realized by participating in a broader range of flows. That is the essence of the Big Shift.”

By the notable Tom Friedman, of the NYT. In a post called “There’s Something Happening here.” (Which has me humming the song with that lyric. Argh.) But then there’s this great post making fun of the fact that Friedman does say what “it” is.


“Business will require a rethink from the ground up to become social, not just a few tweaks and new hires in PR and customer support organizations.”

Wendy Lea of Get Satisfaction is quoted in this post and Stowe Boyd does a great job calling BS on the people who are currently talking “social business” to create renewed interest in what they are still selling, social media.

We Are The Greed.

“Is there a problem in our country?  Yes, there absolutely is.  Poverty numbers are through the roof and we need to do a lot more to empower the people at the bottom and help them survive.  But let’s be clear.  The fault isn’t just with the top 1%.  In the last ten years, the people in the middle have done just as much damage to the system as the top has–but what bothers me more is that they are taking absolutely none of the responsibility.  Undoubtedly, I will get irrational comments to this post from people who simply can’t answer where all the dollars are supposed to come from. No one wants to give anything up.”

Brilliant post written, surprisingly, by a VC. I think he nails the issue which is that we are going through a cultural revolution as much as an economic one. We will all be changed by it.

Velocity over Mass

“Oracle, IBM, Google, SAP, all big companies, all giants. (Fill in the blanks for your particular field. NBC-CBS-ABC. GM-Ford. EMI-SonyBMG-Universal-Warner.) We think they have an advantage over smaller companies, because they have market share, economies of scale, and momentum on their side.  Not true. Accelerate the rate of change, and pretty soon size no longer matters. What matters now is velocity. “

All things you know I really believe given that said virtually these exact words in 2009 at my TEDIndia talk. So maybe I’m creating an echo chamber by repeating his words but nonetheless…at least it’s getting clearer that there’s a fundamental shift. No one seems to yet be talking about real solutions yet. More of Daniel Burrus’ blog post here.

2 Responses:

  1. Wim Rampen. October 15, 2011 at 1:30 pm  

    Hi Nilofer,

    Excellent posts. A thought that keeps nagging though is that imho most people don’t want to be changed, or brought change upon AND too many people are sitting on the sideline, waiting for change to happen.. There is some contradiction in here that is hindering us from making progress..

    Looks like we need this 2nd financial crisis to raise the sense of urgency. I hope it doesn’t end too soon, like the first one. Or better, I hope we will reach the tipping point soon. The tipping point where more people, companies and governments are willing to give up on something they are currently entitled to and stop complaining what a shame that is..

    Because only if we see opportunity on the other side of change, we will have the collective strength to cross the chasm and burn bridges to create the promise of opportunity..

    There’s lots of excellent reading on why we need to change, and why we need to do it sooner rather than later. There’s too little on how we need to make it happen, because too few know how..

    Or are they keeping to themselves? because ‘stocks’ is what still matters..

    Wim Rampen
    @wimrampen on Twitter

    • Nilofer Merchant. October 18, 2011 at 2:46 am  

      Wim –

      You’ve asked a great, if unanswerable set of question. But you’ve got me thinking so let me at least share a take…

      One part of this is that it takes a great deal of momentum to get majority opinion to go in one direction….we’re still not there but that doesn’t mean we won’t get there. I have some (is the right word?) faith here that there’s a global consciousness awakening. And pain can be our friend because sometimes people don’t change until they hate what is currently going on.

      Second, I think most people who are good at spotting the problem are rarely operators who know how to solve problems. Most thought leaders are not former operators… it’s rare breed that grows up learning how to do stuff vs. talk about stuff. Hagel has been a strategist for a long time but he’s ill suited, for example, to run anything. And while I am no one’s hero to run a business, I am certainly not a pundit and can’t use as many big words as they can cause I just can’t take myself that seriously. 😉 Maybe there’s a handoff that needs to happen between the “why” and the “how”.

      3rd, I doubt if someone is keeping the answers to themselves. Check out Schulz’s work he’s doing on behalf of #gov policy as well as with the #indivisible concept … all good progress. Now if he is leading, someone has to follow for that to be a movement…


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