The end of power and the rise of the smallest of minorities: the individual
Micro-power, micro-niche, micro-entrepreneur. The individual. I just finished reading The End of Power (2013) by M. Naím. Good stuff. Totally recommend. Big topic, but not a big blog post.
Just want to share a few other books that share the same observation and what I believe the future looks like for TV shows like American Idol or The Voice. Fuck ’em, that’s what – no means no, means next! We have countless other options. Gatekeepers have become irrelevant.
I probably shared this story in a previous post… I read a news article years ago about this super smart Asian kid in Southern California recently who got rejected by the one university he had hoped to attend – either UCLA or USC. Doesn’t matter which. He sued, claiming impermissible discrimination. He argued that because of his unbelievably high GPA and scores on the SAT or ACT, he deserved to get in.
One-itis. Apparently he never bothered asking Google, “How many colleges are in the US?” 5,300 as of 2018. One may reasonably argue the same point about dating or sales or employment. Eventually, with large enough numbers, someone says yes. (Or maybe the point of that article was that one could sue for anything in America, no matter how ridiculous.)
For my baccalaureate, I took an upper division course titled Organizational Communication. That was around 2007. I wish I still had the textbook. Towards the end, the book noted the current trend of business organizations today: flattening hierarchies, outsourcing, greater specialization from niche to micro-niche, greater operational reach of increasingly smaller units.
MY LIFE AS A WEAPON
In 2011, when I attended the U.S. Army’s Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning, Georgia, among many other academic tasks, I had to do a book report. From a list of books, I chose My Life as a Weapon (2002) by C. Reuter. The author explores some very rare yet very radical cultures in which suicide bombing remains as normal as going to school, getting a job, getting married, and having children.
What does that mean for a military fighting against such a threat? Destroying a bomb-making cell or suicide bomber to end suicide bombing would work about as well as blowing a McDonald’s to end obesity. It wouldn’t make a difference. We’d only be addressing the symptom and not the much larger issue – the cause. It’ll serve us better to attempt to sway the narrative from convenience to healthy eating, for example, the way Subway does against McDonald’s.
THE MILLIONAIRE MESSENGER
In The Millionaire Messenger (2011), author Brendon Burchard points out that you no longer need expensive machinery or business arrangements to get your message out. You have the internet, many different free social media venues, YouTube, Facebook, Kindle Direct Publishing, free online media editing tools, to help get your message out. You also have crowdfunding sites like Kiva or Kickstarter.
Back to American Idol. Why bother? There’s a better chance of success through learning to use the camera on your phone, YouTube, and digital marketing.
THE STARFISH AND THE SPIDER
In 2015-2016, I attended the Captain’s Career Course in Fort Lee, Virginia. It’s a long course – six months. While there, the library was giving away books. I grabbed a copy of The Starfish and The Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations (2006) by O. Brafman and R.A. Beckstrom. It’s a must-read.
Hierarchies are flattening, and organizations are decentralizing. A spider has a head to cut off. In the above example of suicide bomb producing organizations (the cultural upbringings themselves), like a starfish, there’s no head to cut off. The threat here is an idea. Against an idea, one doesn’t win by killing people and breaking things – one defeats an idea by developing a better idea.