Instead of being interested in the idea of the new economy, we should be pro-active and participate in it. Acquire the necessary skills and thrive! Despite higher expectations, the new economy is not about new technology. It has to do with knowledge, and that is why it is sometimes called the knowledge economy. Someone who can learn, organize, and apply knowledge faster than others can easily thrive in the New Economy.
The late American inventor and philosopher R Buckminster Fuller once mentioned, “The only failure is not participating.” He may have been referring to the New Economy, because in the New Economy, many things happen at the same time, such that there is none that can trace all that has happened. Also, things are happening so fast that some information has already expired when you get them.
The only way to stay up to date is to participate in what is happening around you. There are three areas in which a person must work if he or she is to truly participate in the New Economy – technology and its applications, networking and interpersonal skills, and mindsets, beliefs, and attitudes.
Technology and its Applications
The common misconception is that everyone will need to get a degree in information technology (IT) or life sciences in order to secure a job in the future. Fortunately for us, what we need is to discover the nature of each new technology that emerges and its applications.
For example, the nature of the Internet is that it is the most efficient way to communicate, distribute and operate, anywhere in the world. It eliminates most of the constraints set by geographical distances and time zones and can be integrated with a computer system to store all online activities in a database for analysis and later action.
Email is a great way to save on long distance calls. You can also use the software to list groups of people you know, such as your classmates, close friends, acquaintances, and personalize email for each group. In business, you can use the integrated features of the Internet to show you who your best customers are, what they buy, how much they buy, and so on. You can then customize emails and faxes sent to different groups of customers at very low costs.
19th century sociologist Max Weber pointed out that new technology was created because there are some things that current technology cannot achieve. It may be a long load, but participating in the knowledge contest is necessary for survival. While this new technology may create some advances that result in newer technologies, such advances will only give us value if we can understand its nature and find uses for it.
One such case is Du Pont’s invention of a synthetic fiber in the early 1970s, called Kevlar. Only in the late 1980s did some people finally understand Kevlar’s nature – strong, lightweight and flexible – and used it to make bulletproof vests and helmets.
Others realized its waterproof property and used it to make canoes, snow, motor bodies, and so on. Du Pont knew everything about Kevlar, but it took a few more people to find applications for it. Therefore, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to discover what you can do with missiles. It’s the same thing with IT and life sciences.
Networking and interpersonal skills
Networking among people can be the surest way to find business partners, investors, suppliers, clients, and even help you get the job you have always dreamed of. Networking is not a new concept. Merchants and traders from different countries and regions like India, China, Arabia and Europe had relied on personal networks to trade and build businesses for hundreds of years. Since the legal institutions of the time were not very advanced, the merchants only dealt with people they knew well, in order to avoid fraud.
Part of networking is building interpersonal relationships, and that will take some time. It should start before you even see the need for it. As best-selling author Harvey MacKay puts it, “Dig your own well before you get thirsty.” But why connect when we have access to all kinds of information globally through the internet, including checking a person’s credibility? The fact is that most capitalists will not even look at a business plan unless it is provided by someone they know personally, or by a referral through their friends.
Having strong networks can help you gain access to information that even the internet does not have access to. You will have access to the collective wisdom, that is, the combined knowledge of each individual in the network. Now if you want to find an application for a new technology, knowledge or idea, your network can only give you the answer you are looking for. Networks can be made in clubs, associations, in conversations, seminars, events, schools and in the workplace.
Thoughts, Beliefs and Attitudes
It used to occur to us that we had to study hard to get a degree so that we could find a well-paid job. True, the pay gap between a person with a degree and a non-degree in the past was large, but nowadays, the gap is narrowing. Having a degree does not guarantee success in life, but if you attend university you will learn about the nature of technology (and other things), and you will have a chance to network and test ideas.
Corporations nowadays are becoming flatter, which means that the chances of promotion are smaller, so it may not be a bad idea to consider being an entrepreneur, setting up your own shop and being your own boss. . It does not take much money, experience or expertise to be an entrepreneur. While experience in this field is required, the key ingredients will be your understanding of technology, proper market penetration, and the strength of your network. You can gain access to capital, customers, suppliers, loans and almost everything you need to start your own business.
I have a friend who sells plastic bags in supermarkets in France. My friend had lived in France for a few years, so she has a network there. The average annual sales turnover for her business in the last five years is $ 2 million ($ 3.61 million) to $ 3 million. Its costs? The bags are given as a source for production in Malaysia, where the labor force is relatively cheap. And she has only two staff in the office: her husband and herself.
My word is that it really does not take much money, experience, expertise, or even risk to start a profitable business. This brings me to the beliefs we have about money. While it is true that money does not grow on trees, it is not as hard to earn as it is made.
How much money we can make depends on the value we provide to others.
If you are able to provide more value and educate your customers that you are providing much more value compared to others, you will probably earn more money than others, regardless of whether you are a businessman or an employee. Isn’t that the main reason you are promoted and rewarded in your work as well?
I believe there is no such thing as the New or Old Economy. The same principles of effort, diligence, thrift, supply and demand, etc. apply to both notions of economics. What is new is that things are moving faster and knowledge is growing at an exponential speed. We need to change certain aspects of our lives because we can build certain skill sets that will help us thrive in an ever-changing world. It is important to dig your own well before you are thirsty, so attend before it is too late. If you do, a whole new world awaits you.