My Autumn with the Moguls
When this goes down as the age that redefines all other ages, the era where titans exchanged ideas openly and you could rub shoulders and strategize with the next generation of leaders and geniuses posted and mused for free, I want to say: I was there. I contributed. I breathed it. I lived it. And if it costs me some money. So? It could just as easily make me a millionaire many times over. A new renaissance. Utterly paradigm shifting stuff happens everyday. And I get to sit there on the phone and translate it. And adapt. And poise to capitalize. You can’t learn this stuff in a classroom except for after it happens.
For the first time in history the cost of information is approaching zero. Almost every American industry is built on the understanding that information must be limited, controlled and restricted. Because when you make knowledge scarce, you can sell bits and pieces of it for enormous amounts of money. You create industries filled with “experts” and “consultants” and “specialists” who know only a tiny bit more than your average person. And most importantly, you can get away with not being all that good. What the internet has done is not free up a bit of information here or there, but ALL information. And thus we see the simultaneous teetering of dozens of major power players. It’s a lot harder to sell shitty cars or shitty music or charge the shitty 6% in broker’s fees when people can peek behind the curtain. You can do the majority of what they do yourself, and your experiences are no longer isolated to your small clan–you have access to the collective experiences of everyone.
Take the YouTube announcement. No question, it will profoundly changed our world. The Radiohead thing is a stunt. It’s mostly meaningless. The price at which bands sell their music is just a tactic, but how content is consumed, distributed and monetized, that is the grand, grand strategy of it all. In doing what they did–the details will surface but I can’t discuss all of it because it’s for a client–YouTube has altered the basic junction between content and consumer. It will make hundreds of middleman (who had positioned themselves as creators instead of facilitators) obsolete. And they will never come back. Why is that important? Because many of you are training to be those people.
You will be utterly fucked. Outsourcing is not the problem. It is that millions of jobs no longer need to exist. What is more of a threat to bank tellers? Cheap Chinese labor or the ATM? When industries accept mediocrity in service, of course there is going to be a lot of dead-weight and extra positions. So now they’re having to go lean just to staunch the bleeding–and it’s never going to stop. My whole generation is being taught by people who were shown that limited information worked and then are being sent into a world that is drastically different. They aren’t training young people to wade through bullshit, to grasp intuitively what makes sense and what doesn’t, or how to treat people well, or how to create stuff that actually appeals to people instead they’re teaching them the same stuff that got us here. So we’re going to have to learn it on our own, or fail once more.