Spot the difference.

We’ve become masters of deception.

We’ve become incredibly good at taking something exactly the same, tweaking it slightly, then packaging it up in different ways and creating multiple products and revenue streams.

Baked beans, laundry powder, shampoo, toilet paper, coffee – you name it – multiple brands, multiple price points, though fundamentally the same product. Commodity producers and brand owners have been having a field-day, and consumers have been trained to take the bait.

It’s been the same within the typical organisation.

Authentic organisations started when a craftsman had an idea, or created a product they truly believe in. They shared it with those close to them and said “hey, look what I’ve made – isn’t it great”. People engaged with quality, passion and belief. Those that saw the potential would apply their craft – to help trade it or make it, or they’d tell their friends. The good ones spread. It was human.

To feed our industrial desires, we needed to find a way to take more people along for the ride. We needed more customers, more workers, more distributors. We needed to find a way to convince more and more people to care. We needed a way to make them believe what we wanted them to believe, make them to do what we wanted them to do.

So we created stuff, because that’s what humans do.

We created sales, marketing, communications, advertising, media relations, human resource management, recruitment, investor relations. We created systems that would help us to convince people to do something we needed them to do and manage them along the way.

We began to treat people in the same way that we’d been treating good ideas and quality products – as inputs into an industrial factory. Agencies, consultants and corporate departments were created to help keep it all under control.

Break it down and it’s all the same stuff.

Convincing people to take an action we want them to take. To buy the shampoo, to pay more for it, to take the job, to follow the rules, to behave like this, to believe this is important now.

Why don’t we cut out all the crap and go back to what’s really important?

It’s people, good ideas and quality products that create real value.

In the connection economy, that’s what matters most.