Epoch in the room: Clue 0 For Founders
There's a bigger epoch behind the one we're all staring at.
That's two new business transformations unfolding at the same time. The obvious one at the front is the Brexit-Covid-Bear. But the unacknowledged one lurking behind is far bigger.
Recall the moment in the movie The Big Short, when broker Mark Baum meets his smug nemesis, fund manager Mr Chau, over sushi? Chau's oozing synthetic CDOs, helicopters, playing both sides. Baum finally sees the instrument of the zealot traders and blind goliaths; the sub-prime cavity. The whole system is bombed. It's clear now. But no-one else can see it. It's Baum's holy sh*t moment.
Cut to you.
Eating M&S sushi at your desk, agonising over strategy. Is your whole system bombed too? Feels like a goddamn movie. Covid-whumph. Brexit-whumph. Bear-market-whumph.
The tanking global economy, industries flayed. Bewildered governments, fractured commerce. Brexit an unguessable feature of the market landscape. Oh and the looong bear ahead.
But they weren't the only bombs.
Thing is, everyone's staring so hard at Recovery that they can't see the huge new epoch in the room.
But you can. You're here with us. Evidence all around, like debris. Your holy sh*t moment.
"Epoch, what epoch?"
Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, 2017-2020
Come on, grab your mobile, let's photograph this new B2B enterprise epoch. Understand its form and consequence. Then pivot the hell out of it.
Nine Leviathan bombs. And Brits will pick strawberries.
Nobody was ready for the pre-epoch salvo. Nor noticed much. Not the market leaders, disruptors, challengers or laggards. But what actually is it?
It's a huge concussion of fissile forces:
- Noise off, proposition on - Low-quality, formulaic, unhelpful new business vom has overwhelmed audiences, diminished meaning and depleted trust.
- Who said you were a media company? - Social and organic search reach fewer and fewer viewers, unless you can afford the expensive smarts.
- Workflow royale with cheese - new business, finance and operations have never been more ripe for communications reinvention.
- Flywheel and keel - The new business flywheel embraces the more chaotic processes of choosing, investing and onboarding.
- Narrative ducking - Your audience wants to be heard, understood. To be part of a dialogue.
- Sentiment chauffeurs - Confidence, optimism, expectation, empathy, faith, trust. So rarely do they make it into new business communications.
- Onto the test-track - Today, it's possibly one of the most under-used practices in new business coms.
- R/evolution now - Right now, Darwinian selection is ripping through the new business practices. And it starts with competitor insight.
- Going visual - The preference for seeing. And the need to be seen better. Stronger visuals. Better video. Audience optics.
"It's alive! It's alive!"
Dr Frankenstein, Frankenstein, 1931
So the new epoch has clear traits, new risks and opportunities. We see this. We have photos now.
What to do?
Entrepreneurs and investors have for centuries made the most of adversity. Specifically, of the opportunities arising from adversity.
In our new epoch, it's already happening. Zoom is killing carbon. Etail is subsuming retail. Bicycles, social enterprise, healthcare, training are all up. Brits are picking strawberries.
Recognise any adversity-harvesting here?
As with all new epochs, old norms are discarded. Rules torn up. Every strategy you know is obsolete. Unless you want to simply survive.
"I don't want to survive. I want to LIVE!"
Solomon Northup, 12 Years a Slave, 2013
So what's stopping you?
The Brexit-Covid-Bear fires are burning. But the bigger challenge by far, the behemoth in the room - is this new enterprise epoch. And you're already involved, thinking, flexing, facing it down.
Of course no-one knows industry's future timeline. Only agile, daring, learning ways will make the playbook. And you're here now. Maybe more muscular, maybe wounded and healing too. But you're in the room. The players' room.
Your firm does so much good, and is capable of so much more. It's aching to be found, understood, purchased and loved. In the new ways of our manifesto.
"Hazard yet forward"
Sir Christopher Seton, Clan Seton motto, 1306
There has never been a better time to pivot. Your firm doesn't need to spend years and fortunes on new business noise, social marketing emptiness, on losing clients, recruits and investors to competitors, on resultless social connections, likes and shares, on leadless SEO, on low productivity operations. Content and search has become blah. But that's not just pre-epoch dereliction. That's what your zombie competitors will long continue to do into this epoch. Good! You're not them.
Nothing's stopping you from evolving, because you've already started. So have we.
Hang on to your fear, your anger, your outrage. You're going to need them.
Pivot grandly, friend.