America’s Innovative Markets

I’m not a big TV watcher, but I do find myself increasingly drawn to the higher-quality shows that drive the innovative markets, creating blockbusters like Game of Thrones, Suits, The Voice and Shark Tank.

I just got back from two weeks of traveling. As soon as I’d settled back in at home, I dropped onto the couch and watched the first two episodes of America’s Got Talent that I’d recorded.

What great stuff! I was mesmerized by the diversity and strength — It was even better than past seasons.

As I wrote in April, some of the new talent and reality shows represent the new network economy that operates from the bottom-up, not the top down. They invite aspiring artists from all over to audition… they plow through millions of wannabes… and then they give them artistic and coaching support, great choreography, stage designs and music back-up.

In short, they turnrn the best into overnrnight stars.

Business in America is heading in the same direction… I believe the way businesses operate today is shifting from a top-down approach to a bottom-up approach.

Increasingly, innovative new companies are making their front-line individuals and teams the stars of the show by giving them the real-time information they need to help their customers make better decisions.

Even better, they’re empowering their customers and turnrning them into heroes.

But this is only possible when the focus shifts onto the front lines of business, not the back-line bureaucracies.

Management, like the producers of talent shows, is creating a network environment that allows the cream to surface. Servers add real-time talent, expertise and back-up that give customers real-time personalized service at lower costs from such front-line human browsers.

In an era where emerging countries have rising middle-class workers who can do what we used to do at lower costs in basic agriculture, manufacturing and even back-office jobs, we have no hope of competing unless we do something better, offer a higher value-add.

A New Network Economy in America’s Markets

But that’s not all. We have two other things going for us: Silicon Valley and Hollywood! This became crystal clear to me when I was in Java. People and kids would rush up to us, but not to beg. They wanted to guess which movie stars we were.

To them, from the limited TV they see, the U.S. is Hollywood. Hollywood is the U.S. We’re the kings of entertainment.

That brings me back to America’s Got Talent. It really showcases what I value most: the Outliers — unique and entrepreneurial talent that most characterizes the U.S. It’s the 1%, and even the 0.1%… the radical innovators that drive all the progress.

Just the first two shows I watched reminded me of the incredible talent out there, from a nine-year-old genius piano player to a male-male salsa dance routine (yes, one was gay).

You don’t see this kind of innovation and talent as much in Europe or Japan, where populations are aging more rapidly and immigration isn’t as strong.

You don’t see much of this in the emerging world either, except for India, which is another reason it’s my favorite emerging country in the decades ahead.

India has strong middle class aspirations from its new TV and movie culture that inspires every-day people to want to be richer and grow.

And it has demographic scale: It will be the largest population in the world, soon to pass China forever. But that’s another article, for another day.

For today, I say: Hail to the Outliers.

Just like they’ve done throughout history, they’ll change the world before our eyes. And we’ll be ready to grab the profits as they do so.


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