This is a guest post by a great chap named Nick. The entrepreneurial landscape is changing fast, and more and more folks are coming online to find their way and make their fortunes. Here’s a look at exactly how that landscape has been changing, and how YOU can rock it to your advantage.
I Believe Every Single One of Us has Something to Offer the World
Something which can add value to the lives of others.
Whether you are a lawyer who has legal expertise, a real estate agent with a knack for matching a family with their dream home, a stay-at-home mom who is a professional chef at heart, an artist with a gift to inspire, or a person with an entrepreneurial spirit, you were created with the ability to help and improve the lives of others in some capacity.
However, taking advantage of your talents in order to improve your life and the lives of those around you has been confined to traditional channels such as having to get a degree to land a good job for a reputable company.
And once you get your foot in the door, being forced to climb the company ladder using its standards and often times rigid and time consuming processes. Although this traditional corporate channel to success is still a viable option for many of us, it is no longer the only path.
Over the past 15 years there have been two extremely important advancements in technology that have been giving the individual power which you may not even realize.
These two advancements in how we communicate and connect with people have created a whole new world in which you can circumvent the traditional routes to success and become an extremely powerful voice.
The creations of the windows-powered PC and World Wide Web have forever changed our world and have given new meaning to “power to the people.” No longer do you have to go through traditional channels to get your voice heard, and to share your talents and ideas with others.
No longer do you have to succumb to a top-down power hierarchy that forces you to play by the rules of others. Now, you can create your own rules and make your own game.
So, why has the PC and Internet given you such a powerful voice?
In one simple word, digitization.
Digitization is essentially putting content in digital form for use on devices such as a computer. Whether it be converting your pen and paper thoughts into a Word document or creating a home video that can be uploaded to Youtube, the ability to digitize content is available to almost every single person in the world.
Couple this thought with using the World Wide Web to reach every corner of the world, and you will begin to see just how important these two creations are. You will begin to see just how digitization can make you a very powerful voice of influence, inspiration and change.
The Windows-Powered PC Comes to Life
“The windows-powered PC enabled millions of individuals, for the first time ever, to become authors of their own content in digital form, which meant that content could be shared far and wide.” – Craig J. Mundie; former CTO of Microsoft
The history of the PC is relatively brief with Steve Jobs releasing the Apple II home computer in 1977 and IBM launching its version in 1981. Windows entered the scene with the first release of its operating system in 1985, but it wasn’t until 1990, when Windows came out with Windows 3.0 that the personal computer became more user-friendly and its popularity began to grow.
The underlying reason why this new personal computing platform became so hugely popular was that it removed the invisible ceiling on how much information any one individual could create. This windows-empowered PC literally put the ability for a person to author their own content directly in their hands. And over time, this allowed individuals to put into digital form, the most important forms of expression and ideas: data, photographs, words, music, video, and voice.
Personal empowerment was about to reach levels never before seen, felt, or experienced.
Soon anybody with a desire to express themselves (which is most of us), had the means and tools at their disposal. Traditional corporate channels for authors to get published, musicians to become discovered or entrepreneurs to create their own success were becoming obsolete.
The Early Internet
One of the first major benefits of the PC was how it encouraged the inventor in all of us to come alive. People began to figure out that by connecting their PC to a dial-up modem they could send messages (emails) through private Internet services such as America Online. This was the page-turning event into the next chapter of this technological revolution story, which has permanently changed the world as we know it.
The creation of the Internet and World Wide Web was essentially a series of coincidental events that initially had no long term vision. This concept of the World Wide Web was actually the creation of a British computer scientist named Tim Berners-Lee who was looking for a way that scientists could more easily connect and share research. Berners-Lee created the very first webpage in 1991 and using a telephone and modem, he physically created a connection between multiple PCs.
So what’s the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web?
In the words of Tim Berners-Lee;
“The Internet is a network of networks. Basically it is made from computers and cables…It delivers packets (of information) – anywhere in the world, normally in well under a second…The Web is an abstract (imaginary) space of information.
On the Net, you find computers – on the Web, you find documents, sounds, videos…information. On the Net, the connections are cables between computers; on the Web, connections are hypertext links…The Web made the Net useful because people are really interested in information and don’t really want to have to know about computers and cables.”
In my humble and simplistic view, the Internet connects computers and the World Wide Web connects people. It is the collaboration of both of these connections that have given us all the tools and capabilities to become very powerful voices in a world that is begging to become smaller and more intimately connected.
Although the Internet and World Wide Web was now in place, navigating this new digitized world was not an easy task. The world was becoming increasingly connected with these creations but what good is creating content and information that nobody can access?
Think of it in the sense that you have just built the world’s largest and most informative library but lack a viable way to tell people about it or give them directions to it. You know it exists but nobody else does.
Enter the Browser
Netscape created the very first browser which became the road map of this new information highway; solidifying the Internet and Web as one of the most important creations in world history.
The Windows-empowered PC gave the individual the power to author her own content and put it in digital form. The Internet allowed her to upload it and connect with other PCs. But the browser on the World Wide Web gave others the roadmap to access her newly digitized content.
This was truly a bottom-up method of creating individual success that people could no longer afford to ignore. This digitized information was put on a platform that could be accessed by anybody with a computer and Internet connection, and the growth was exponential.
Within five years of the creation of the World Wide Web, Internet users increased from 600,000 to 50 million. By comparison, it took the radio 38 years to reach that mark and the television needed 13 years.
So who was creating this digital information?
Anybody and everybody, and this is where you come in.
You are somebody and you have the ability to share your talents and ideas with the entire world! Think about it.
You, yes you, can digitize your ideas with a website or blog, video or podcast or almost any other form of expression, and give people halfway across the globe the ability to find value in it. You may be surprised to find that there are communities of people out there who are interested in what you have to say and many are willing to pay for it.
Making money on the Internet has become an increasingly attainable and realistic opportunity for just about anybody. Entrepreneurs are using their talents to create full-fledged online businesses from the comforts of their own home. Musicians wanting to make it in the music biz are uploading their videos to YouTube, and sharing their music on Myspace.
Believe it or not, like it or not, kid pop star Justin Bieber was discovered on Youtube. Radiohead (a fantastic band) decided to circumvent the traditional music industry route by releasing their album, In Rainbows on the Web and allowed fans to simply pay for the songs they liked.
This digital strategy garnered over 3 million downloads and earned the band more revenue than their previous album.
Are you picking up what was put down for us? Do you understand just how powerful you can be if you only think outside of the traditional frames of thought that have been ingrained in all of us?
These creations of the personal computer, Internet and World Wide Web have given you power and opportunity that no single person in history has ever had.
- If you hate your job but love to spend time with your hobby or personal passion, then look to the Internet. You can make money in doing so.
- If you are struggling with getting your talents noticed, then look to the Internet. You can make money in doing so.
- If you have an entrepreneurial spirit but don’t have the money to go the brick-and-mortar route, then look to the Internet. You can make money in doing so.
Let your voice be heard. Digitize it and watch a whole new world open up for you.
So how about you? Are you opening yourself up to the possibilities new technology is bringing us? Are you exploring the digital world with an entrepreneur’s spirit and learning how it can work for you? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.