Posted by: prataap | December 1, 2008

MONEY TREND 1: MONEY AND LEADERSHIP


TREND 1:           MONEY AND LEADERSHIP

                           BUILDING COMMUNITIES/PARTNERSHIPS

                                         CREATE NEW FORMS OF CURRENCY!

 

 

Emerging Trends:

 

Obama’s campaign showed us how money, community and leadership can merge in the Internet age.  He raised a record $680 million from individual donors across the country and outspent his Republican opponent 2-1!!  That’s just one example of how the merger of these three key ingredients has changed the face of political fund raising.  Money, community and leadership intersect to form new trends.  It’s a happening phenomenon.  Just as the idea of a community organizer becoming President of the USA seemed remote 5 years ago, the founder of an IT company running for president may seem far fetched today.  Watch out!  It’s coming.

 

A most unusual community of people is forming as Internet companies bring together younger and younger people from across cultural and economic backgrounds that have as their defining characteristic a dual passion for technology and money.  Even within the high tech world of millionaires this community is divided between the haves and the have nots.  With net worth of $1 billion, $500 million or just a few million, each level defines a measure of success as well as a set of life style options.  And don’t be fooled by the common “look”, the casual geek wearing chinos and denim shirts or urban chic black T-shirt and jeans. The pecking order might not be obvious to the untrained eye, but it is clearly defined.

What has all this to do with money and community?  Each sub-group regardless of cultural background or past history is very well defined by a need to stake out a claim to their legacy.  After the first $100 million is cashed out and you know your financial future is secure, if you are in one of these groups of millionaires or billionaires, the question nagging you is; do I have the will to lead? And to be a leader in this community, one has to rise above the simple initial quest for money. Perfection is cool. Steven Jobs is the icon of perfection.  Steven Jobs is cool. Only a very few like him will want to lead.

It was the passion to innovate and the fascination with inventing the next new thing that made them want to create and lead a company. Not their passion for people or their business acumen. Yahoo’s demise is attributed by many to Jerry Chang’s inability to be a decisive CEO.   There are exceptions.  Bill Gates is not among the top 5 innovators in his field, but he sure is a leader.  So is Jobs. These two men, more so than others in the computer industry, have proven that they can build a community of people who will rally around their battle cry and make believers execute their vision with passion.

A Mac World convention is like a Grateful Dead concert.  Leaders stand for a set of values.  You can agree or disagree with their values but they have clarity and a vision for the future. Which one will you be, a leader with a sticky vision and a burning passion to change the world or simply a techie with tons of money to burn? That’s the question facing the ones who still have millions.  In spite of the current economic downturn there is no dearth of millionaires in the US, Russia, or Asia. Their wealth may have dropped considerably since a year ago, but they are still worth millions.  Watch for a feeding frenzy in the coming months as companies go bankrupt and fire sales of 50-60% become the norm at the retail level.  Expect companies like Google, Oracle, Pfizer, Apple, Samsung who are currently sitting on piles of cash to go on a major buying spree in 2009 so that they can widen their leadership.

 

 

Next Opportunities:

 

Many of the leaders yet to emerge are reluctant public figures today, which is why other than Bill Gates and Steven Jobs, names like Tim Koogle, Jeff Bezos, John Chambers, Jim Clark and Andrew Grove are not known by the vast majority.  But the reality is that many of the next generation of leaders of our nation and even the world are going to come out of the New Economy. Don’t count out a run for President by Bill Gates or John Chambers. And in the next presidency watch for a lot more aggressive economic and foreign policy based on developing strategic alliances to maintain US competitiveness in the digital world. If you think President Clinton’s visit to South Asia in 2001 was to build his legacy as a peacemaker, dream on. Its real impetus was the push from US software and Internet firms to improve relations with India and to get India to open its markets to the US. Since that visit, a number of Presidential foreign trips have been covert economic operations. A US-India alliance could become a juggernaut of innovation and catapult the www world into the next generation within the next 5 years.  If India and the US were to form a true partnership of equals and harness the investment capital and technical talent of the two countries, China could be left in the dust.

What has all this to do with you? What do you think of Bill for President, Gates not Clinton? Obama raised $680 million dollars from you and me, but Gates doesn’t even need our money.  Gates and Jobs want to leave a legacy and are much better known. Talk of radical change agents; these leaders do not care for or understand Washington politics. They’ll make radical change.  They want a true capitalist free market society but with health care and education for all.  No conflict in that for Mr. Gates or Mr. Jobs. Just look at the dozen people the “socialist” President elect Obama met with in his mini economic summit days after his election, former Federal Reserve chairman, treasury secretaries, Wall Street giants and the current CEO of Google.  The days of Capitalism and Socialism as two separate concepts are over.  We’ll see more mixing and matching of values and concepts from both to create new economic models for growth. Look at China.  Is it Capitalist or Communist? I doubt they know or care.  Past labels apply no more.  New ones will emerge.

Leaders of all sorts are needed for companies after they get off the ground. From CEO to team leaders and coaches who can teach managers to become cheerleaders and engender loyalty and reduce staff turnover. Yahoo hired Tim Koogle as CEO to take it from a great idea into a great and profitable company. It still didn’t work. Old world CEOs will not mesh with new economy cultures, whether in DC or in Silicon Valley. New forms of leadership are needed. Even if the economy is in a downward spiral, to keep your best staff and create loyalty you have to offer something special that is meaningful beyond the work and the paycheck. What’s the next generation of compensation packages that will keep the passion going?

On site day care is passé as are perks from the recent past like unlimited sick leave, employee beer and wine and ultimate Frisbee® clubs.  Already, companies like SAS, Cisco, Virgin, and Razerfish are considered leading edge not only for their products, but for their realization that to remain leaders and maintain their sense of community and purpose they must continue to innovate.  They give people meaning.  They make their companies movements for change and their employees part of a cause, not simply performers of a job. Obama won because he made his campaign into a movement you believed in and worthy of your time and money. He got you invested through embedding meaning in his winning. He made it about YOU !

The new model of companies will be built on people who believe that the concept of loyalty is for losers. If your company is to continue to innovate and be the leader of the pack at all times, it must be so laden with talent, so energetic that it constantly attracts the best by being the best, and becoming a movement with followers behind.  Obama did it, Nike asks you to Just do it, Apple and Ideo have made it their core value.  Be different. Think Different.  The best will come and go at these companies, but as long as they strive to innovate around their best products and services they will attract new talent.  This is a paradigm shift whose time has come. Talent is and will remain one of the two scarcest commodities of the 21st century.

To attract the best, be the best.

Let your imagination run wild.

Create the future and smell the roses, it’s your move!

 

 

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Responses

  1. Yes, I like that line: “China could be left in the dust.” Very provocative! I was wondering how much of your personal preference went into that thought? I don’t really see the US and India forming a tight enough or respectful enough alliance to bury China or for that matter wanting to. I think they’d much rather own China. On the other hand, I think that the US and India are fundamentally alike in many ways that the US and China are not, e.g. entrepreneurial, capitalist, democratic, open, outward looking, and perhaps most important, both the US and India are lovers of the English language! Also, of course, India is the quintessential former British colony, in that regard the experienced older sibling who by its example helped give the younger American colony the impetus to break away sooner.

    I also think that the heritage of India’s caste system is similar to the US heritage of slavery. All of this makes India akin to the early American wild west. Although she admires American economic and civic culture she is neither starry eyed or cowed by it, just as the expansive US west was never cowed by the eastern establishment. India is the new California!: movies, technology, capital, science! Growth!

    And now after the Mumbai bombings maybe there is an even tighter bond with India, that is if Pakistan doesn’t pull it all apart.


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