This week New York Magazine's cover reads: "00's The World Did Not End." Unfortunately, for some it did, but that's another story. In reading the article I was taken by a piece further in - "Ten Long Years Ago." I am quoting now, "To travel back in time to 1999, you have to start by shedding a few things, as though you're going through airport security. No iPod. No Smartphone. No YouTube. No Facebook. No Twitter. In 1999, the Internet was shiny-new and just out the box, and we still believed that its greatest utility was to deliver dog food to our door and packs of gum and cigarettes to us by hand."
Yep, that was us. Where did we lose our innocence? Yet another story altogether, I suppose...
So, as I sit on the eve of launching a business that will use the Internet as its hub, I have to thank this wacky new world. I have friends my age that get all up in arms about the "Big Brother" aspect of our social universe, and honestly I can't blame them for feeling a little freaked. But Big Bro, he's here to stay, so best make him your pal. All this to say 2010, bring it on. Enough of the 00s. And yes, we did survive and many of us thrived.
Oh, and if you were wondering, my guilty pleasure is rifling through the pages of New York Magazine. I love the photos! I love the kooky stories! I love the "finds"! It's all there. Check it out...
This, of course, is the most intuitive statement ever. Duh. But, you would be surprised how many people I’ve met, in biz and otherwise, that don’t subscribe to this basic belief. I’m 46 and for the past few years I’ve embarked on some new “hobbies.” I started playing the piano (reading music is like a new language and an excellent way to get the brain working first thing in the a.m.). I picked up golf (without a doubt my top new obsession). People always ask if golf has been good for my business and I say, no, it’s been good for my spirit. I started toying with taking French (I studied it in college and realized on a recent trip to Paris that I still had a cursory understanding of the language). And this is all great. But, the coolest thing I’ve done recently is to launch a Word of Mouth division—which I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t been willing to learn something new.
I remember a meeting I had with one of Hollywood’s hottest talent agencies a few years back. At the time they were trying to help one of the clients find ways to monetize their social media platform. Back then it seemed like a knotty problem. We all remember the discussions around “How the heck is You Tube going to make money?” Social media. It’s been an interesting journey, and it’s really just the beginning. If I hadn’t been willing to learn something new, I wouldn’t have launched our WOM division. I know other agencies that started this division, hit a bump because of the economy and dumped it. Thankfully, we plowed through. We have two campaigns currently running and the numbers/ROI on these programs are staggering.
What’s at the heart of learning something new? Curiosity, definitely. But you know what generally stops people from learning something new? Their ego. Its humbling to admit you don’t know something. When I started taking golf lessons my pro said I was a good pupil. This was an interesting observation because for years I had been a pretty bad pupil. But by that time I had had a few humbling experiences that reminded me that if I wanted to get better at something I’d better listen to the experts.
So, go for it. Chuck the ego, get a little more curious and get ready to learn something new. It just might be great for biz.