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Monday, January 24, 2011

A NOTE FROM THE FOUNDER: Is Electronic Consolidation Anti-Entrepreneurial?

Is Electronic Consolidation Anti-Entrepreneurial?

by Adam J. Kovitz

As an unabashed Science Fiction fan, several or my favorite authors/creators come to mind:  Isaac Asimov (the Robot Novels and the Foundation Series), Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek)  and Russ Manning (the creator of the old Magnus:  Robot Fighter comic book series).  A common thread between these and other sci-fi visionaries' views of the future is mankind's dependence (and ofttimes, over-dependence) upon technology and the various "comedies" that ensue.  One of the most popular is when a futuristic technical marvel goes awry or fails all together while the human population, which has grown either too soft or too ignorant over the years has to figure out how to survive.

This scenario is played over time and time again in various books, TV shows, video games and movies and (if done well enough) can spark one's own imagination - with one major limitation...

...that of the entrepreneur, and perhaps business, in general.

For example, in the world of Star Trek, there is a somewhat utopian world in which the characters live - money doesn't exist - it's an outdated concept and humans,  along with other sentient species of the universe have grown beyond the need for such things.  Power, homes, food and jobs seem to be aplenty in the future, provided that humankind has evolved to that point.

But what if technological development continues to expand exponentially faster than human beings evolve...what then?

This brings me to a recent article I read in  The end of credit cards is coming, in which it is inferred that our own smart devices are becoming our wallets and that we will (in the near future) be able to pay for almost anything by "bumping" our mobile internet devices against each other.

I remember a simpler time when a mobile phone was simply that...a phone.  It was a marvel of technology that allowed us to be connected to one another no matter where we traveled... long as we had enough "bars", that is.

As mobile phones evolved, so did the consolidation of functions:  texting, photos, music, movies, internet, games, apps, bill payment...and now wallets.

Aside from the consumer "convenience" of the many consolidated features of a smart device, who is really benefiting?  Is this consolidation of technology creating jobs or eliminating them?

Is it just me or does it seem like the only jobs being created are for the mobile service companies (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc.), technology powerhouses that control the application platforms and chips used in the devices (Microsoft, Intel, etc.), the major internet/media corporations (Google, Time Warner, Comcast, eBay, Amazon, etc.), the major banks still left (JP Morgan/Chase, RBSC, Bank of America, etc.) and ultimately the energy companies that they all rely upon?  This is great for those who like working for large corporations - I know many people personally, who don't see this as a problem.

But what about the serial entrepreneur? Where are the opportunities for the small and medium enterprises?  How do they benefit from this?

I think of the small to mid-size businesses that are currently suffering or have suffered in this new economy and wonder if all innovation is to be gobbled up and assimilated by these mega-corporations, who will have nowhere to go but to merge with one another. 

Perhaps, then, those of us who have our own ideas how business should be conducted will stop and look at what consolidation is really doing to us.

For me, I certainly don't want to be the fuddy-duddy, "stick in the mud"-type curmudgeon that is opposed to technological advance, but I take pride in the fact that my own wallet has real money in it - whether the power is on or off.  It's made of leather, fashioned, no doubt by an entrepreneurial enterprise, some of which even make wallets out of nicer materials (provided by other smaller companies) and might even add an artistic touch to the design.  Sure...the wallet itself can be stolen from me, along with the cash and the many plastic cards that reside in it, but so can a smart phone.  And, best of all...the opening, accessing and closing of my wallet doesn't add minutes to my call plan, justify an additional internet charge or incur a fee of any kind!

Perhaps a little self-reliance is the key to ensuring human evolution while also slowing down the technical revolution.  Perhaps it's what made the "American Dream" of the 20th Century possible.  Perhaps its our salvation.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a new killer app to install on my iPhone.

Moving on...please note that the editorial and production staff at TNNWC will be taking their fifth week of the month off next week and will return with brand new issues of The National Networker Weekly Newsletter and The BLUE TUESDAY Report on Monday, February 7th and Tuesday, February 8th, respectively.

February, 2011 is our birthday month and we will be celebrating six years of The National Networker Weekly Newsletter with a new Pavilion and a new writer or two.  Stay tuned, and enjoy the rest of your January.

All my best,


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The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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