What a young person needs to take from the Yahoo/Microsoft Merger

I got some emails from kids younger than me asking what this means and what they should do. And more problematically from one of them, what my predictions were with Google and cloud computing, an office suite and dark fiber. NONE of that matters.

Google doesn’t even know and that’s the entire point. Since no school is teaching it, we need to focus on learning that:

The successful companies of the future won’t “sell” things, as much as they will solve economic problems and thus create value for the customer. Sometimes those two things are the same, but often times they aren’t.This is the key to understanding the economic future of the world, and why some companies will compete and some won’t. – Tucker

Stuff like, which stock your should buy or short, who will up ruling the internet, all that is irrelevant to us. What we should take from this is confirmation of what I wrote about last week–that when attacked, centralized organizations tend to become more centralized and thus exacerbate their own problems.

Whatever your major is, what kind of grades you get, where you plan to intern, how much traffic your blog gets or which company you have storing your data–all that is piddly, logistical, small picture stuff. What really matters is whether you understand the meta-level change: the shift between value extraction and value creation. Forget ALL the details until you firmly grasp that new paradigm. Otherwise, you’re studying lesions, instead of figuring out the disease.

You can only beat speed with more speed.

You can only beat strategy with more strategy.

You can only beat Google by being MORE Google (i.e., more open, create more value, be even better to people). – Tucker

So fooling around with predictions is fun, as long as you remember that the chances of them coming through are abysmal at best. We don’t know anything. What you can spend your time on today–as you wait for your turn for these things to matter–is learning how to attack strategy, avoid centralization, and to look to the core of things and not their meaningless dressings. Can you do that? If you can’t–or even if you sort of can–then just ignore the Yahosoft merger and focus on what counts.

I would start with:

The Pirates Dilemma–Matt Mason

Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything–Don Tapscott

All Marketers are Liars–Seth Godin

The Strategy Paradox–Michael Raynor

BubbleGeneration (blog)–Umair

And I have tried to touch on it here, here, and here.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.