Businesses: Destroy Your “Us Versus Them” Mentality

I wrote this comment tonight on a very intriguing blog post by Robert Scoble entitled “Exploring the 2010 Web” All businesses and organizations should read this post and follow Scoble in general and Chris Brogan to learn how to apply Social Media effectively and to take your business into this next age of the “Telecosm” as George Gilder labeled it, in other words the Telecommunications Revolution. There is reason to be hopeful. Businesses embraced the “Microcosm” or the Micro Electronics Revolution beginning the 70’s, and this lead to the 80’s and 90’s being one of the greatest legal creations of wealth in the history of the World. The Wealth of the country as measured by the value of the Nation’s Capital stock, increased some 20 times. The productivity increases of the Telecom revolution will be of a magnitude 10 times larger. The Bandwidth revolution is indeed infinite because the number of colors of light are infinite, and each color can carry an infinite amount of data at wirespeed. The Exobyte floods are coming. Question is, will you and your business be riding it or fighting it?

This is interesting and comes to the heart of the matter. I think the crux of the matter psychologically is that businesses and organizations have to “tear down” “destroy” this “Us against Them” mentality. Not only Us against our Competitors but Us against our Customers. I owned and ran a furniture store for a number of years so I have some knowledge of this. When you have a store and a staff of employees there’s this tendency to see and treat the guy walking in off the street, a potential customer, as separate, somebody you don’t trust and who doesn’t trust you. That’s a normal initial, almost lizard part of the brain, reaction. But the trick is to break past that, and to really “schmooze” with people, not in a fake, acting kind of way, but being really interested in who they are, what they like, etc.
And one of the best features of these social media tools is a way to engage, to build that level of trust. I read a lot of books back then on sales and the best ones taught me this principle, and when I applied it, the sales just seem to come effortlessly, almost as an aftermath of a real connection being made.
And you see this everywhere. Business websites, especially large corporations, give off this impression of such intimidation, they almost act as a wall between the business and the potential customer, the exact opposite intention of the site.
Amazon is a great example of a great, maybe the best business site. It feels like it wants you there. Very inviting, very warm, very personalized. Heck they even want you to be an associate right on the spot.
The NYtimes on the other hand feels like this wall or veil. There’s so many new exciting things they could be doing with this new media, to make it fun, engaging, making you want to be there. But they remain huddled up, preaching down to us.
People have to want to be doing what they are doing. If they are doing it just for money, they’re not going to have happiness, and usually not money either because they aren’t going to be interesting enough, cutting edge enough. You get the sense that most businesses are just plodding along doing it this way because “this is the way we’ve always done it” kind of mentality.

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