Revisiting New Rules for the New Economy

Photo by Bruce Mars

Kevin Kelly, the co-founder of Wired magazine, first published "10 Rules for the New Economy" in November 2012. Despite being nearly a decade since he wrote it, his observations are still valid, even in today's fast-moving world.

In my wheelhouse of property investment, so much of the industry has changed over recent years. Much of the process is automated and digitised to within an inch of its life. These efficiencies, much like Spinning Jennies and steam engines in centuries past have made human involvement redundant.

But within this New Economy Revolution, the opportunity remains for the adaptable human. As power flows from the centre, not only can the individual find greater freedoms, they can also find great opportunities within the decentralised network that is the modern landscape. Over to Kevin:

Embrace the Swarm

As power flows away from the centre, the competitive advantage belongs to those who learn how to embrace decentralised points of control.

Increasing Returns

As the number of connections between people and things adds up, the consequences of those connections multiply out even faster, so that initial successes aren't self-limiting, but self-feeding.

Plentitude, Not Scarcity

As manufacturing techniques perfect the art of making copies plentiful, value is carried by abundance, rather than scarcity, inverting traditional business propositions.

Follow the Free

As resource scarcity gives way to abundance, generosity begets wealth. Following the free rehearses the inevitable fall of prices, and takes advantage of the only true scarcity: human attention.

Feed the Web First

As networks entangle all commerce, a firm's primary focus shifts from maximising the firm's value to maximising the network's value. Unless the net survives, the firm perishes.

Let Go at the Top

As innovation accelerates, abandoning the highly successful to escape from its eventual obsolescence becomes the most difficult and yet most essential task.

From Places to Spaces

As physical proximity (place) is replaced by multiple interactions with anything, anytime, anywhere (space), the opportunities for intermediaries, middlemen, and mid-size niches expand greatly.

No Harmony, All Flux

As turbulence and instability become the norm in business, the most effective survival stance is a constant but highly selective disruption that we call innovation.

Relationship Tech

As the soft trumps the hard, the most powerful technologies are those that enhance, amplify, extend, augment, distil, recall, expand, and develop soft relationships of all types.

Opportunities Before Efficiencies

As fortunes are made by training machines to be ever more efficient, there is yet far greater wealth to be had by unleashing the inefficient discovery and creation of new opportunities.

Feeding one's network can be a tough task when we are told (incorrectly) that we live in a world of scarcity. But by first giving value and service to your network, you are strengthening your position within it. Recognising that we are all part of a living, interdependent 'organism' is imperative to one's survival in the New Economy.

Following on from this, it is also imperative to recognise that the network has no central point, geographically or theoretically. No longer do you have to be ratified or approved by a primary corporate 'deity'.

Do you have a contact in Hong Kong looking for an opportunity in London? Great! Connect the two - the world wide web of everything puts the power in your hands - no need for a boss to sign this off!

Business partners across an ocean? No problem, jump on Zoom or WhatsApp (other digital platforms are available), then use a secure platform to exchange digitally-signed documents.

The very nature of an intermediary's fluidity and lack of corporate accountability is a positive in which to revel.

With this fluidity comes instability. But again, treat this as a new norm and, that within reason, you can navigate these stormy waters far more efficiently as an entrepreneur/intrapreneur than a cog in a vast corporate behemoth.

Finally, as you acknowledge the greater automation and the removal of human input, observe the gaps left behind. That space is your future. By its very nature, space is ethereal, even fluffy dare one say?

But these airy spaces augmented by technology, these 'fluffy' relationship-based skills are where your future lies. Embrace them and find your place in the Matrix of the New Economy.

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