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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Reference Year

I was listening to Joe Scarborough explaining our current economic situation. He has said repeatedly that our situation comes from choices that were made in the ’70’s, shaping subsequent choices that control what we can do today.

In The Direct Economy, I’m showing how our current situation is changing our optimal organization for getting things done.

Yet I keep seeing previous patterns in new opportunities. They don’t turn out to be real, but they remind me vividly of previous successful opportunities. It’s a businessman extolling the vanished organizational pyramid or an amputee feeling phantom pain. It was there once, and I wish it still was.

My reference year was 1995. That was the time I would go back to, when I last had the key. There has been a further fifteen years of the economy sliding out of whack, and now we have to admit to a new reality.

I’m luckier than most. I got one “do-over” from a previous job and nailed off in succession the four largest sales in a global company’s history. But I never expected it, and it was the only time I have ever gone back to a previous employer.

What was your reference year? How has your reality changed from then?


  1. Dick:

    As Joe Points out, the lag between initiation and implementation hides the ultimate effect of the initiation. For me the year was 1996 - passage of the Telecom Act which mandated captioning for TV shows - this changed the captioning industry forever. Greater volume of captioning needed, but prices dropped through the floor.

    Captioning firms were in pre-1996 mode well into the 2000 decade - some died, some merged, most struggled. Why? Old paradigm was hard to change, even in the face of financial reality. There is no 'back to the good old days' - gone but not forgotten.

    Your observations are a strong reminder of the difficulty in making change with our eyes closed.

  2. Shumard and I went to see Cory Doctorow, who explained it thusly.
    A vice president at Sony knows DRM is going to kill his company sometime in the future. He also knows he has a seven figure package, and if he tries a new business model, there is less than a ten percent chance it will work on the first implementation.
    He further realizes that if he gets bounced, there is a good chance that, "You'll never work in this business again!"
    So the statistically smart play is to ride it in for a hard crash, extending the current compensation as long as you can.