Godin: The impossible as the only possible
To symbolize the greatest shift in society in since the Industrial Revolution — how the 21st century digital age fundamentally changes the way we live and work — Seth Godin pulls out a vinyl music album.
The Internet entrepreneur, author and observer contends that the album, a staple of the 20th century music industry, reflects how American business and marketing has shifted permanently in two generations. Forty years ago, the album and music industry enjoyed unprecedented prosperity. Any fan of music who heard a song on the radio or at a concert had to turn to the purchase of the album to enjoy their personal taste in music.
Now, the vinyl album is virtually obsolete. Instead of paying $10 to $20 for an album, music fans can download any song they want virtually for free, at anytime and any place on an array of devices.
“Right now we are living in the biggest revolution of our time, as big as the Industrial Revolution,” said Godin, who spoke Wednesday night at the Hayworth Fine Arts Center at High Point University.
His hour-long, high-energy, rapid-pace presentation headlined HPU’s 2012-13 Spring Cultural Enrichment Series. Now living in New York, Godin has written 14 books that have been translated into more than 36 languages, each of which has become a best-seller. His books include “The Purple Cow,” “Poke the Box” and “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?”
The Industrial Revolution, which began 200 years ago, created an economy and society based on mass marketing and interchangeable jobs. But Godin contends that the factory-style economic model is fading, and that the new economic model is about innovation and connecting customers to value through leadership and trust.
Businesses that succeed today and in the future won’t methodically make safe products for wide audiences, but create exciting merchandise or services for groups of people with similar tastes and interests.
“The new economy is about abundance of choices,” Godin told the crowd of students and other guests who packed the arts center. “The question is whether to fight it or embrace it. The Internet has taken down the gates. All you have to do now is innovate.”
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