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Farms, Factories And Idea Merchants
magine for a second that you're at your business school reunion, trading lies and bragging about how successful you are and/or are about to become. Frank the jock talks about the dot-com company he just started. Suzie the ex-banker is now focusing her energy on rebuilding Eastern Europe. And then the group looks at you. With a wry look of amusement, you answer:
"Well, the futurethe really big money-is in owning a farm. A small one, maybe 100 acres. I intend to invest in a tractor of course, and expect that in just a few years my husband and I can cash out and buy ourselves a nice little brownstone in the city."
Ludicrous, no? While owning a farm may bring tremendous lifestyle benefits, it hasn't been a ticket to wealth for, say, 200 years.
What about owning a factory then? Perhaps the road to riches in the new economy would be to buy yourself a hotstamping press and start turning out steel widgets. Get the UAW to organize your small, dedicated staff of craftsmen and you're on your way to robber-baron status.
Most of us can agree that the big money went out of owning a factory about thirty years ago. When you've got high fixed costs and you're competing against other folks who also know how to produce both quantity and quality, unseemly profits fly right out the window.
Fact is, the first 100 years of our country's history were about who could build the biggest, most efficient farm. And the second century focused on the race to build factories. Welcome to the third century, folks. The third century is about ideas.
Alas, nobody has a clue how to build a farm forideas, or even a factory for ideas. We recognize that ideas are driving the economy, ideas are making people rich and most important, ideas are changing the world. Even though we're clueless about how to best organize the production of ideas, one thing is clear: if you can get people to accept and embrace and adore and cherish your ideas, you win. You win financially, you gain power and you change the world in which we live. So how do you win? What do you need to do to change the status quo of whatever industry you're in, or, if you're lucky, to change the world?
If you're a farmer, you want nothing more than a high price for your soybeans. If you're a manufacturer of consumer goods, you want a display at the cash register at Wal-Mart. But what if you're an idea merchant..
|Sect. 1||Why Ideas Matter||17|
|Sect. 2||How To Unleash An Ideavirus||47|
|Sect. 3||The Ideavirus Formula||93|
|Sect. 4||Case Studies and Riffs||119|