Blake at Toms shoes had a very simple idea. What would happen if every time someone bought a pair of shoes I gave exactly the same of pair to someone who doesn’t even own a pair of shoes. This is not the story of how you get shelf space at Egdars, it’s a story of a product that tells a story. And as you walk around with this remarkable pair of shoes, and someone asks what are those? You get to tell a story on behalf of Blake, on behalf of the people who got the shoes. And suddenly its not just one pair of shoes, or hundred, its tens of thousands of pairs of shoes.
A friend of mine posted this picture on facebook recently, I have seen this picture before but when I saw it again, it reminded of the kindness of strangers. Some are ready to help those in need, to help them back on their feet. A jobseeker who used this free service will sure come back when she has found a job and will be willing to pay for the services. Suddenly its not just about free dry cleaning, it’s about creating a connection with your customers, in this case also future paying customers. It’s about telling a story that matters.
Steve Jobs sold the story of being a rebel, an innovator, the story of people who believe that they can change the world, often do. This is the story that people loved and joined the tribe. It was more about the connection to people.
The value we create is directly related to how much valuable information we can produce, how much trust we can earn, and how often we innovate.
In the industrial economy, the stuff we made (literally stuff – gadgets, devices) comprised the best assets we could build. Fortunes belonged to men who built roads, lightbulbs, bridges and buildings. Today we are seeking something a revolution apart from that sort of productivity.
The connection economy rewards the leader, the initiator, and the rebel.
The internet was not built to make it easy for you to watch Lady Gaga or Kanye West videos. The Internet is a connection machine, and anyone with a laptop or a smartphone is now connected to just about everyone else. And it turns out that those connections are changing the world.
If your factory burns down but you have loyal customers, you will be fine. On the other hand, if you lose your customers, even your factory is not going to help you. In South Africa we have a number of empty factories.
If your team is filled with people who work for the company, you will soon be defeated by tribes of people who work for a cause.
If you use your money to buy and to promote the average products you produce for average people, soon you will run out of money.
But if you use your money to make exceptional products and services, you won’t need to spend it on advertising, because your customers will connect to one another and bring you more.
The connection economy has changed the way we make and listen to music, write and read books, and discover where to eat, what to eat, and whom to eat with. It has destroyed the mediocre middle of average products for average people, who have few choices, and it has enabled the weird and innovative edges, where people who care find others who care and they all end up caring about something even more than they did before they met.
The connection economy enables endless choices and endless shelf space and puts a premium on attention and on trust, neither of which is endless.
Suddenly, it’s not the building or the rules or the packaging that matters, it’s the bridges between people that generate value, and those bridges are built by telling a story that resonates and by creating innovation products, not by selling average products to average people.
I would like you to do something for me, and I hope you will think about it before you reject it outright. What I want you to do will only take you 24 hours. it is to
create a movement, something that matters. Start, do it, we need it.