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Everyone 2.0 – Remember you’re unique; just like everybody else October 19, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, philosophy, web 2.0, work/life.
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This is the fifth post in my series on The A-Z of 2.0.

Needs. Need and wants. Things I desire that nobody else does, at least not the way I do, in the form I do, with the pre-conditions and checklists I have for them. Everybody has them, but we don’t articulate them quite into the detail they need to be in order to make them actionable. I could say I want to make music for a living; what I mean is I want to earn enough to be very comfortable from recording and performing my own songs; anybody with half an ear for music can go earn a couple grand a week playing covers, but that wouldn’t satisfy my criteria, regardless of whether I take the time to define it or not.

Andy Warhol‘s most famous quote is “In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.” At the time there’d only been a decade or two where it was actually possible to be famous just for being famous, prior to that you actualy had to be extraordinarily good at something for the word to spread enough and genuine fame to be acquired.

Fame in itself is a funny thing, one I feel, for most people, is entirely undesireable. To be endlessly recognised simply for being anywhere you went does not strike me as the kind of thing a lot of us would wake up in the morning with a burning desire to achieve, even though there are folk out there who do. With the assumption most people desire the money or lifestyle that comes with the kind of fame people find appealing, then I think, regardless of the dreams and desires you have for your life, people seek the conveniences being in that sort of position can bring with it; and in The A-Z of 2.0 a lot of those things are possible.

If you own a car, pause for a moment the next time you’re in the driver’s seat. Look at the dash, the airconditioning, the (if you have them) power windows. Seat adjustments, cruise control, airbags, CD, MP3, DVD players. All of those were once the province of the wealthiest of wealthy individuals. Movie stars and musicians and big business men and women had access to these features. They would be released in the top of the line Mercedes and BMWs, and slowly, via the wonder that is trickle-down economics, make their way into the lives of ordinary people.

This is true of most things around us. I have a Macbook Pro sitting on my lap as I write this, holding computational power that, in my father‘s lifetime has gone from being the sole domain of Government to an item available at the cost of a month’s salary for the middle-class. In our personal lives we seek the same thing in the automation of services; bills going out when they’re due, a cleaner every fortnight, a laundry where they will wash and iron 5 shirts for $12.50, the only decision I have to make being “Is two hours of my time on the weekend it would take to do that worth $12.50?”. I don’t know about you, but the ability to spend two hours on a weekend to do something other than washing is worth at least $12.50.

The ubiquity of products and services trading in an ever increasing commodity (money) to allow you more of an ever decreasing commodity (time) is an idea born from the same place as the DVD player in the backseat of an Audi. I can’t afford a full-time personal assistant, but I can set up an account at Remember The Milk which will automatically send me reminders and help me get through a to-do list. Get Friday takes it a step further, with staff on hand to assist with mundane tasks – I currently have them helping me roll all my superannuation into one account, we’ll see how that goes. For more on this though, read Tom Friendman’s The World Is Flat – you’ll be amazed at what you find.

There exists right now, in Everyone 2.0, an opportunity to provide products and services that were previously the domain of the rich and famous. It is commerce for the empowerment of others, as opposed to commerce for the empowerment of commerce itself. What we’re seeing right now in the global economy is the collapse of a system infected, at its core, with DNA doomed to rot from the inside out because it had blinkers on and couldn’t see how the world around was changing. Even if it had, there’s no evidence to suggest it would have cared, not when a bail-out for companies in need of it is, for all intents and purposes, socialism for the wealthy and capitalism for the poor. Everyone 2.0 is taking the personalisation the web affords us and moving it offline into the every day lives of every day people, where you don’t need a screen and a keyboard to feel the impact.

Capitalism, entrepreneurism, commerce as we know it hasn’t for a single moment meant that open beat closed, but in Everyone 2.0, it is the only way you win. Put the empowerment of others and genuine happiness at the core of your business model and watch as the opportunities for the life you wanted to live come to fruition.

Just like everyone else.

**Update** – October 25th, 2008

For those interested in thinking a bit more about Everyone 2.0, watch this fantastic talk by Paola Antonelli, Curator of Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Image courtesy of kygp, with thanks to compfight.
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