Saturday, October 1, 2011

Craftsmen

John D referred me to a wonderful book this past week called A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink. He recommended the book while we were having breakfast and based on our conversation where I was talking about Kickstarter and Quirky and about how I'm thinking the economy is changing in a permanent direction in favor of what I was calling Craftsmen.

You see, I think the way people are going to make a living in the future is changing and it is changing in a very permanent fashion. Gone are the factory jobs that the US and other places have thrived on for decades. They are gone to the lower cost places and they will always be moving to the lower cost places. It might be Asia now, but it will be Africa later. Those kinds of jobs are not coming back to the developed countries.

It seems to me that developed economies are shifting permanently towards services and permanently towards craftsmen who have some developed niche or skill that they market. These craftsmen can use the scale of the internet to sell their product or craft or they can work locally to meet local needs. Look at Baltz which I recently found on Kickstarter as an example.

All this circles back to the book above which chases the same ideas and develops a lot of thinking around why and how to prepare for the change. In the book Pink makes the following point:
To survie in this age, individuals and organizations must examine what they're doing to earn a living and ask themselves three questions: 1. Can someone overseas do it cheaper? 2. Can a computer do it faster? 3. Is what I'm offering in demand in an age of abundance? If your answer to question 1 or 2 is yes or if your answer to question 3 is no, you're in deep trouble.
There was a great post by Seth Godin a few weeks back called Back to the (wrong) School which talks to the fact that our schools are not preparing our kids for this future. And he recently posted another article about the forever recession and the coming revolution which goes further with these same points.

Whether you are raising your children who are in school or you are restless on your current job, I urge you to read the book above and stop by Seth's posts.  There is serious, permanent change underway and it is important to be preparing for it.

I don't have my thinking on these ideas fully cooked yet. I welcome your comments.

3 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more. I've been telling people the same thing for about 2 years now. The manufacturing jobs aren't going to return, not in a globalized economy and that in itself to worry about the back of the iPhone still says "Designed in California" thus that's where all the profit goes.

    What does worry my a bit is the transition and the thought that what if we have more stuff than we need? How do we distribute "stuff" when we only need about half the population to work? This article I thought was good that really captured my thoughts.

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/09/07/rushkoff.jobs.obsolete/index.html

    "We're living in an economy where productivity is no longer the goal, employment is. That's because, on a very fundamental level, we have pretty much everything we need. "

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  2. Thanks for the cnn link Phil. Exactly. I hadn't seen that but it says the same thing. The problem is the shift from here to there and lots of people and families and companies are going to have a hard time with this transition.

    The book talks about we live with all we need, in a time of abundance which goes along with the 'everything we need' comment in the cnn post.

    Thanks for sharing and stopping in for a visit.

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  3. see http://www.openforum.com/articles/the-rise-in-artisans-global-lessons-from-a-local-movement

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