From the industrial economy to the connection economy

About 200 year ago, we saw a mass movement from farming in rural towns to factories in metropolitan cities.

As the industrial economy grew, there were two problems that needed to fixed:

1) There was a shortage of factory workers and

2) How were we going to get people to buy all this stuff? The average kid back then owned one pair of shoes, one pair of jeans or skirt and two shirts.

The solution was public school—to train workers to sit still, follow directions all day and to buy more stuff to fit in. (Fun history in itself about how standardized testing became what it is today, the teacher shortage and child labor that was putting adults out of work prior to implementation…another topic for another post.)

Skipping ahead, Henry Ford comes along and says he will pay people five times more to to come work for him. It was a great deal for him since he was making much more to keep the production line moving. Boom! The Ford Assembly line launches us into the world we see today.

What is fascinating is seeing this new shift, we are moving from the industrial economy to the connection economy. Thanks to the invention of the internet and Google, the means of production has switched from factory owners to workers.

What we are seeing is a split: You have companies / organizations / people continuing to shave edges, make stuff cheaper (average products for average people). It is a race to the bottom. Soon we won’t be able to get faster than instant, cheaper than free.

On the other, you have a race to the top. It is wide open. To continue innovating but more importantly making a connection with the people you seek to change.

(Use milk as an example: You can buy regular, cheap milk or you can buy soymilk, almond milk, cows that are treated fairly milk, no HGH milk…you can buy milk with a story, a connection.)