The world of potential

We live in a world of potential. Actual value, worth, skills, knowledge, capabilities mean a lot less than the potential of development which something or someone has.

People are hired because of the potential which employers see in them. They might not be the best right now, but they can become a lot better than anyone who’s good at the moment. These are the talented employees everyone wants to have, retain, keep motivated and for which they are willing to do almost anything in order to retain them.

Start-ups sell for huge sums of money, even if they don’t have any income or their income is only a fraction of the price they are sold for. A mature company may be sold at 10 times less than a start-up even if it has a profit 100 times bigger.

An old property in the middle of the city is worth a lot more than a new, beautiful house at the edge of the town.

It’s not about what something or someone can offer now, but about the potential it has. Actual value becomes more and more about the significant future gain it can offer, rather than the tangible profit it produces now.

Focus on your development and how to achieve your potential. Forget what you think you are worth now, otherwise you will be stuck with what you believe you deserve, instead of what you are capable of. Potential beats actual value.

Making products that need to be sold

What is your approach: making people want the products you have to offer or offering the products people want/need?

With the industrial revolution, most companies began making products that needed to be sold. And with the invention of the radio and television, advertising was specifically designed to push products to people. Until recently, this has been the main engine of the consumerist society of modern times. Creating a product, making as many copies as cheap as possible, and persuading people into buying them even if they didn’t really need them.

As many have noticed though, things are gradually changing. More companies become aware of the fact that it’s far more relevant to create products that sell themselves, rather than “force feed” the market. Investing in finding what people want and delivering a product designed for their needs is also much cheaper, and reduces the risk of developing products to which the market will not respond.

Don’t build a product and then ask yourself what you have to do for people to buy it, rather ask yourself what people need and build that instead.

The educational system is failing

The educational system is failing. It’s failing at getting the kids involved and eager to learn. It’s failing at sparking kids’ curiosity. It’s failing at offering them things they want to learn. It’s failing at keeping up with the modern society. And most of all it’s failing at offering kids the education they need.

We actually have a disorder that is “responsible” for the lack of performance in schools. “The attention deficit hyperactivity disorder “affects school-aged children … [and] may impair school performance.” It’s much easier to blame it on ADHD than to admit that kids are getting bored in class because the educational system is not working.

Kids are curious. They run from left to right to see, discover and experiment everything that’s new. They get easily distracted and try to have as much fun as possible. That’s just how kids are. It’s in their nature to explore, be curious, eager to see new things.

The system worked when you could get all the kids in one room where there were not many distractions. But now technology offers kids 24/7 access to internet, games, chat programs and pretty much anything they want, everywhere they want it – even in schools. When you have a smartphone or a tablet with you all the time it is a lot easier to get distracted, especially when what you are in fact supposed to be doing is not engaging.

When school is designed to fight the very nature of kids, how can we expect great results?

Open table experiment conclusions

Last Sunday I did an experiment which I called the Open table experiment. One almost full day, from 11:00 AM till after 7:00 PM, I sat in a café with my laptop, waiting for people to come along, join me and engage in a conversation on any subject they wanted.

The support, interest in the experiment and appreciation were overwhelming. A lot of people welcomed the initiative and many of them where curious to know what happened and how it worked. I have a few conclusions about the event and some plans for the future:

1. People are reticent about going all out into the unknown

Everyone who came I already knew. Some were really good friends; others, people I just met a few times. But there was no one I had never met before. Even if most of the information about me, my work and expertise is public, people are still reserved about going into the unknown.

2. Topics come and go

Even if some discussions started on specific subjects, we “went all over the place”, covering a plethora of topics. It’s inspiring to have such diverse things to talk about and see how the conversation naturally flows and you find common subjects and points of interest.

3. If you want to know how it was, come and see!

While I appreciate the interest many people showed in the experiment, it was all about face to face interaction, meeting each other and having a (hopefully) fruitful conversation. We are too busy, too scared to go out of our comfort zone and too lazy to come and see for ourselves. We would rather have some else describe the experience, tell us how it feels and because of that, we sometimes miss out on a potentially great first-hand experience.

4. Do it better next time!

I have decided to try and do this on a monthly basis for at least one year and see how it goes and what is there to improve, both in terms of people joining the experiment and quality of topics and discussions.

So, see you in December!

Open table experiment

This is something I’ve been meaning to try for a long time but never really put in practice for various reasons… until now! It’s never too late to do it, so let’s get started!

What’s an open table?

The whole idea of this “open table” is that I will get my laptop and sit at a table all day. I have nothing else planned or scheduled for the entire day. I am just waiting for people to come and have a chat with me.

Can I come?

Anyone can come. Friends, acquaintances, online connections, business connections or strangers. Everyone is welcome!

What will we be talking about?

Anything you want. It can be job- or business-related, ideas, projects, plans, solutions, traveling, movies, women, love… Anything… (you can find more details about my expertise, interests and passions here)

When and where?

Sunday, 17.11.2013 you will find me at one of the tables in Simbio starting with 11:00. See you there!