First post, and a new beginning for me. My goal is to post the 5 best things I have come across and describe a certain theme each week and hopefully end with something funny or cool.
My observations this week across the US and Europe have revolved around understanding the importance of the individual as the product.
You Are The Product
Many people will be familiar with this concept in relation to the proliferation of free internet services like Gmail and Facebook. If you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product. Most of the world has made an uneasy peace with this. However, Ben and James at Exponent this week discussed how that has wrought havoc on the traditional understanding of monopoly. I consider this their best ever episode to date.
Link 1: Exponent 111 (http://exponent.fm/episode-111-lamentation-not-condemnation/)
It is a tragedy when companies that have willing users as their product don’t even realize it, fumbling their biggest advantage. Nowhere was this clearer than in this week’s analysis of Twitter’s failures:
While the cultivation of users as products is relatively well understood now in online services, I think there is a parallel theme that is still emerging in the labor market. Professionals of all stripes need to think of and manage themselves as products instead of workers. By thinking about themselves as “product”, I mean literally to reconsider everything about how you work as though it were just another thing being made by a company you run, from how it is branded, to how it is distributed, to how it is paid for.
In case it isn’t clear: Rethink how you are branded, how companies and clients get access to you, and the basis on which you get paid.
While the tech industry is very familiar with the appeal of productized services, this concept is only just arriving to other professions like legal services, and is actively discouraged in my home turf of financial services.
The benefit to the individual is clear: a career identity that can be bigger than that of the employer’s, inbound job interest, maximum leverage on time, talent and interest.
The Weekly LOL
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