Since my latest blog post I’m working on is taking a bit longer than anticipated to come out of my head, I figured I’d leave a short blurb about something that’s been holding my attention for the past month.
This is Seth Godin, a public speaker, author and “marketing guru” (he’s even stated he’s not fond of the term ‘guru’), who, for over the last ten years has talked, very loudly, about his theories about the economy, the marketplace and where it’s headed. Ironically, as time goes on, the more and more his theories are starting to look correct. The industrial age is dead; having a “9 to 5” job is dead; we are in an idea and “connection” age. This means the gatekeepers (the industry corporate giants; GM, Hollywood, TV Networks, Cable Networks, etc), who used to be the ones that someone had to impress to get ahead, no longer have the power they once had.
Now, they’re scrambling.
The power now lies in the hands of the individual, the average citizen. With an education system that has programmed its people to follow the rules and wait “their turn”, not a lot of people are going to be ready to take advantage of it. It’s the fear of failing, of being criticized, of things not working that holds people back.
Black American culture has been masterful at innovation throughout history. From the days of slavery on up until today, Blacks have continuously found ways to produce and contribute culturally relevant, ground-breaking work to society, in everything from music, to entertainment and sports.
However, as I look around today, knowing the recent events that transpired with Trayvon Martin; Ferguson, MO and the struggles that President Obama’s going through, I don’t see that passion anymore. I don’t see the fire. With the track record we’ve put together in music, Rap and Hip-Hop should be old hat by now. As a community, Blacks should be on to something new and innovative. It doesn’t feel like it. It feels like we’re clinging on to an identity that’s been tainted by corporate mass media. But I could just be missing it, not recognizing the look of something new coming up through the ranks of our youth, ready to spread out into the social consciousness. I’m doubtful though.
If there ever was a perfect time for Black America’s innovation; now would be it. Powerful computers and cell phones; free access to the internet all mean that connecting to a group with a shared interest or idea is just a fingertip away. For the places that don’t have access to these things, there are people in powerful enough places to get resources moving to get them there.
But that’s what worries me. I feel, the Black community doesn’t see the opportunity here. I’m hopeful, the younger generation will open their eyes and listen to what people like Seth Godin are saying. Not because “he’s white, and so, he’s right” or anything like that, but because he is one of many sign posts that show us how the industries are thinking. As they lose more and more money, those industries are starting to listen to him. They will start to change, and they are going to start looking for employees who do more than just “follow instructions”; in fact, they can just build computers to do that, it’s cheaper. Pretty soon, jobs are gonna start expecting their employees to innovate and think on their feet. If an employee is still stuck in the old way of doing things, they will be replaced for someone who will.
School isn’t really the answer either, it’s still built on the old, industrial age system. While the skills are still good to obtain, degrees are going to start meaning less and less; they’ve already started. Corporations are going to start looking for people who are willing to try new things; new directions; new ways of looking at the world, so that they can stay competitive with the people who are out in the world just trying new ideas and seeing if they stick.
So please, give a listen to this short video. Hear what he’s saying, not to follow his directions -he won’t give you any- but to see if you can recognize these events happening in your world around you. That way, you can be ready for when things change and have a better chance of surviving.