Cheerio Hierarchies, Hello PopUp.

For most of us alive today, we have been governed by a variety of political, business, and social hierarchies; a.k.a. The Establishment. The indications though is that the Establishment isn’t feeling too good.

One of the second order effects of ubiquitous connection is that we can connect, communicate and commit at a speed and on a scale we have never experienced before, and that changes everything.

We can now connect to ideas, resources and support in places we previously couldn’t which in turn means that the old rules fade. If I have an idea, but my boss doesn’t like it, I can find someone who does. If my bank won’t play, crowdfunding may well. If the political establishment isn’t listening or delivering a new body will (En Marche, Brexit Party, even Trump)

Having a position in a hierarchy used to be a ticket to control and stability, but no longer. Wherever you are in the organisation, if you’re not delivering, you’re in the toaster. Rank no longer equals automatic respect.

We are entering the age of the disruptive pop up.

It started gradually, picking out the easy targets. AirBnB and bloated, complacent hotel chains. Uber/Lyft and asset heavy, complacent taxi companies. And now it’s spreading. As Uber spawns UberEats, so we are seeing the rise of serviced (“Dark”) kitchens, where talented committed chefs can get their food to enthusiastic customers without the inconvenience of owning a restaurant. (Great restaurants of course will always do well, but the mediocre won’t.)

And if we can do pop up kitchens, what else can pop up? Answer: Just about anything.

It used to be the case that scale worked, Coase’s rules. Now, it isn’t transaction costs that determine success, it’s much more human – attractiveness. A function of purpose, connection, charisma, style. The new grail.

Why would anyone work in pursuit of something mediocre when there are alternatives?

This won’t happen overnight – but then again neither will it take a long time.

If you’re relying on rank, experience, a ‘big name” company, some form of Establishment patronage, see my earlier remark regarding Toasters.

We can no longer “tag along”

Tag along used to be fine for people of my generation. Qualifications were the scarce resource. Get some, find a good employer. Do as instructed. Retire.

That stopped a while ago, and what triggered it is accelerating.

Now, the scarce resource is our own sense of purpose. The filter that determines what we will, and will not do. The real source of fulfilment that continues to shine long after we have enough income to survive. And last far longer than the lure of “stuff”

Much as it would be convenient, few of us are born with a sense of purpose. Today though, I believe we need to find one.

Start somewhere, and see whether it feels important beyond money.

Persevere or Pivot.

But start. It will determine your future.

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