Powerful consumers? Not always.

The ever-provocative Seth Godin wrote this about the power of the producer (i.e. the creator, manufacturer, provider to the consumer):

Producers and consumers

In the short run, it’s more fun to be a consumer. It sure seems like consumers have power. The customer is always right, of course. The consumer can walk away and shop somewhere else.

In the long run, though, the smart producer wins, because the consumer comes to forget how to produce. As producers consolidate (and they often do) they are the ones who ultimately set the agenda.

Producers do best when they serve the market, but they also have the power to lead the market.

The more you produce and the more needs you meet, the more freedom you earn.

And it reminds me of a TED Talk by Thomas Thwaites on “How I Built a Toaster From Scratch”. We live in a world where almost nothing we use, touch, interact with, is something we could actually make ourselves. As powerful as we are as a society, we are pretty incompetent as individuals. We need the producers, and each other.

Start with Why

Almost 2 million people have watched Simon Sinek’s TED talk on leadership called “Start with Why”, including me (several times). If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor and spend 18 minutes finding out about the difference between manipulation and inspiration, and how great leaders understand that it’s not about the What. It’s about the Why.

I’m finally reading his book, and it’s enlightening and engaging. I’ll write more about it once I’ve finished it. but the core idea is nicely summarized right here. Check it out.

Everything but the squeal

You know the old phrase about pigs, right? Well Christien Meindertsma has taken it upon herself to track exactly what happens in the afterlife of a typical pig. Amazingly, our polluting porcine companions are a phenomenal source of everything from cosmetic ingredients to heart valves to the glue that holds sand to sandpaper. This fascinating TED talk may help you transcend your secret wish that every healthy food item came wrapped in bacon. It already kind of does.

And as for “using every part of the pig but the squeal,” well, here are a couple of uses for even that:

Squeal:

Oink:

Tom Cruise has nothing on these people

How close are we to the gesture-driven data of Minority Report, where computers interact so seamlessly with the experiences of our day-to-day lives that they become completely integral to the way one walks around in the developed world? Closer than you think.

If you haven’t yet seen Pattie Maes and Pranav Mystry’s presentation at TED, treat yourself.

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