Purists and corporatists -- you respond
by Josh Bernoff
Thanks for all your responses on the scale I posted. Recall that 10 is an extreme purist (power to the people!) and 0 is an extreme corporatist (power to the corporation!). I saw people coming in all over the scale.
Here's what I learned:
1. Nobody likes to be pigeonholed. I loved this from frymaster.
When I'm drinking [which is most of the time], I'm a 10. When I'm at the client I'm a 5. Unless I had a little nip, and then I'm a 7.
I also enjoyed Mark's attempt to add a dimension. People just can't get comfortable living on a line segment.
2. A lot of people seemed comfortable in the 5 to 7 range (or couldn't tell my definitions of 5 and 7 apart). Here are the definitions again.
7 The groundswell is powerful, but companies have a role in it. Groups of people inside of enterprises can get together and make themselves heard. Even so, the groundswell will always prevail over their interests.
5 Companies belong in the groundswell. They have interests just as the people do. They will set up corporate efforts -- presences in places like Facebook or their own corporate blogs -- and connect with their customers. They can't shut down or co-opt people in the groundswell, but they can form meaningful relationships with them. And they can accomplish goals like marketing or collaborative innovation, if they respect that they're not in charge.
Given the fact that our active readers are probably the biggest believes in the power of social, this shows an amazing tolerance for corporations. Maybe because to make a living doing this stuff, you have to give the corporation a role. I'm quite happy myself at 5 and expect to sell a lot of books to others who are comfortable there.
3. I was intrigued by the perception that people were moving. I especially liked this comment:
The last number [average of businesspeople you meet] is the one I see movement in every day...one at a time I'm seeing people who used to be 2 or 3 become a 4 or 5.
So here's the interesting question. Is the business world slowly creeping towards the middle, or headed towards the purist end? Are we going to end up with a balance between enlightened corporations and powerful people, or are the people just going to overrun the corporations and take over? I think how you answer this says a lot about everything you do while working in the groundswell.