Someone rings the bell at 9:30 a.m. and then gets the hell out of the way.
All types of chaos (in trading and prices) erupt from second-to-second, and everyone knows, in real-time, what they made or lost.
Users drive the system.
No one sees management as it is incorporated into the light-speed, low-cost software and processes that make the whole thing possible.
In short, stock exchanges are the ideal business model.
They are the perfect example of how a business can organize around the customer and operate from the bottom-up, not the top down.
Doing so is becoming critical.
Survival of the fittest, to be precise.
Businesses who don’t embrace this new way of operating NOW will find themselves doomed.
The new talent shows that dominate the TV ratings are a great example of how businesses in that industry are ensuring their future survival. I’m talking about programs like American Idol, America’s Got Talent, The X Factor, and The Voice.
You see, in the good old days, talented new singers or performers had to struggle to find a good agent that was connected to the best producers or record labels. They paid clubs just for the opportunity to perform for the patrons in hopes that someone would discover them.
They lived in tiny apartments and ate dry crackers and cheese while they eked out a living so they could focus on their dream.
Agents, on the other hand, didn’t give a damn. They didn’t have the time of day for the thousands of wanna-be artists… not unless one of their high-and-mighty contacts or associates recommended someone.
It was a top-down, dog-eat-dog, environment. And the listeners and viewers were at the mercy of the system. They could only consume what was put in front of them.
Talent shows have turned that world on its head. Now thousands of people line up, or submit their YouTube videos, to a captive panel of decision makers. Or the producers of the shows actively go out into the street to find popular local performers. Then they put them in front of us… and WE choose who we want to listen to or watch.
In this bottom-up system, the cream rises to the top from many unknown and unconnected people.
There are, of course, many screening levels the cream must pass through to find stardom, but once those with real talent have separated themselves from the delusional, their success no longer rests on the shoulder of a disinterested agent or inflexible music house.
Once the talented are in full view of the public, we’re in charge of the decision-making.
Major new stars, like Jennifer Hudson or Colton Dixon, have emerged solely out of this process. They became stars overnight, unlike their predecessors who essentially got their break as a matter of luck or connections.
Contestants of these talent shows perform before tens of millions of viewers, instead of in a local bar or subway station. They launch major careers seemingly instantly instead of struggling to make ends meet with waitressing or bartending jobs while they chase their dream.
This is the essence of the invisible hand, a free market, bottoms-up process that requires good political, legal and financial systems, but has minimal regulations. It’s a place where the users (consumers) get to choose what they use or consume instead of being told.
Win-win is the motto of the new network economy.
And its key is innovation. Finding ways to constantly make improvements… learning lessons from failures… being flexible and fearless enough to make radical changes as a matter of course (not necessity).
That’s what makes shows like The Voice so successful today (and why it’s my personal favorite).
It completely changed the way singers are judged.
It completely changed the way the judges interact.
And it gave viewers more of what they wanted.
That is the lesson for businesses in this time of rapid change. We’re in the winter economic season, a time that will only usher in the new network model more rapidly.
Will you be ready?
Ahead of the Curve with Adam O’Dell
This morning’s jobs report showed that more jobs were created in the U.S. last month than analysts had expected.