Jeremiah Owyang inspired this post with his provocative and visionary comments about the future of business. He was interviewed right here by Bryan Kramer of Pure Matter in 26-minutes of attention-grabbing provocation about the crowd and also by Wired magazine.
What Jeremiah is doing now, after a stint with Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group as an analyst and also former social media rock start, is a new venture of his own called Crowd Companies He’s aligning the biggest brands onto a council to collaborate about joint campaigns to engage with the crowd in innovative ways. It’s fascinating stuff, and Jeremiah has my wheels spinning to imagine the possibilities.
Let me catch you up, and you can go in-depth by watching the video of Jeremiah and Bryan below:
The Anti-Material Society
We’re entering the anti-material society (that’s my thinking) based on what I heard today – consumers don’t want ownership, they want access to ownership.
Case in point, Airbnb. The future will see the largest hotel chains getting in on the action of home rentals owned by the hoteliers for a greater piece of the pie. The bonus for guests – the loyalty program Airbnb can’t offer yet.
Home Depot and Lowes are big on renting equipment instead of requiring folks to buy new and use it once only.
Jeremiah recommends a book by a collaborator, Lisa Gansky – The Mesh: Why The Future of Business is Sharing (which I just bought).
Consumer Customization Is The Future
There’s a movement afoot to customize one-off items beginning with a single t-shirt, five books, and other printed items on demand. Jeremiah says we’ll soon see houses, clothing and automobiles made to fit personal consumption!
Think of what that means for the supply chain! No more huge auto manufacturing plants with assembly lines of the same upholstered driver’s seat. There will be longer seats to accommodate tall man, and wider seats to accommodate ample booties. Oh, yeah, and that neck rest that NEVER hits you right? You’ll get measured for that.
But wait, we’ve already seen some of this happening and we’ve not put two and two together. My nephew works in a mattress factory, and people can custom order a mattress based on weight, girth, height, and body aches.
When I bought my bicycle a few years ago, I stood in front a machine and they measured feet to butt and shoulder to fingers to determine the best fit for my bike. They stopped short of building a custom bike (ahem, I didn’t want to spend the $$), but the potential was there.
The Crowd Is Your Company
Look at what happened in the social media era. The earliest adopters were consumers jumping all over likes and follows like fish to water. The public relations professionals and marketers and bloggers became the leaders from the business side.
Did business catapult into social media with glee? Not so much. Although there’s a term, social business, it’s a misnomer, says Jeremiah in the video below. There’s an extreme disconnect with that term because businesses are not social at all.
Here’s the consequence of that…the crowd? They’re now part of your company, nearly absolutely the same as your employees.
Resilient Brands Will Last
What we need to do is watch what happens with Mr. Owyang’s Crowd Companies’ council. We’ll see the visionary thinking he’s sure to unearth by coupling the biggest brands in the name of the empowered consumer.