The Social Dilemma is an Unprecedented Opportunity
As I sat down to watch Netflix’s “The Social Dilemma” I was anticipating being told a lot of information that I already knew. Ask just about anyone if they are on their phone too much and they will respond with a resounding yes almost every time. If this is such a well documented problem in just about everyone’s lives then why don’t we just change our digital relationship?
“The Social Dilemma” examines that question and brings about experts and many of the very people who created the digital world that most of us spend our lives in.
The simple answer is every application we interface with is designed and redesigned to capture and sustain our attention for as long as possible. That’s why it is nearly impossible to quit. Unfortunately this is not a post about restructuring your digital relationship.
This post is about capitalizing on the unprecedented opportunity that is available to anyone who has the patience to create something that lasts.
Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok are the new gatekeepers of our attention span and the product that they sell keeps getting better and cheaper. Not too long ago companies had to shell out thousands of dollars for a thirty second advertisement only to capture a tiny portion of your attention. Now with $5 dollars you can reach 400–500 people who fit the exact demographics of someone who will buy your product or service. Now that is nothing to most companies. But if you are a math teacher looking to sell your famous apple pie to your community these platforms that can go a long way.
Learn the Skills.
The true winners of this next decade and the decades to come will be anyone who can:
- Learn to use these mega-platforms effectively.
Starting with number one “create”
This can be done through a variety of ways yet two channels are most important. Code & Content.
“We live in a world of infinite leverage yet the two main sources of that leverage comes from code and content.”
The first, “code” is pretty straight forward. Learn to use a few of the many amazing technologies out there to create something that solves some sort of problem. This problem does not need to be a macro-problem like student debt or healthcare and honestly probably shouldn’t be. It can be something as simple as a website which aggregates MMA news. Whatever it is, learn the technologies and practices required to produce it on your own.
Luckily the second, “content” is also straight forward. Be able to establish a community, narrative, or experience around your product that separates it from everyone else. Or perhaps the community, narrative, or experience is the product.
Let’s go back to the math teacher who makes great apple pie.
We live in a world where there is only a marginal difference between one product and another. I.E. our math teacher’s apple pie may be subjectively better than a that fireman who lives a town over. But if this firefighter creates content around the apple pie then it now transcends the product while our math teacher just sells apple pie. Content and the experience that you create around what you make is what rips open the marginal differences in quality.
You don’t need to code and create content yet if you want your budding enterprise to be successful then you must be able to do at least one.
Learn to play the course.
Good golfer’s have all the skills. They can drive far and straight, hit their iron’s with precision, have a well-practiced short game, and putt consistently.
Great golfers possess all of the skills of good golfers while also possessing tremendous knowledge and understanding of the courses they are playing.
“Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok are the new gatekeepers of our attention span.”
While these mega-platforms are indeed the gatekeepers of our attention, another analogy is that they are the courses we must learn to play.
Each one of these platforms possess communities and eyeballs all addicted to what comes on their screen next. Yet they all have a learning curve that takes time to understand and eventually master.
Let’s say our math teacher reads this post and determines the reason she can’t sell her stupendous apple pie has nothing to do with how it tastes. She realizes that the reason she can’t sell her apple pie is because she neglected to create content around it.
So she makes a facebook page highlighting the fact that she is a teacher. She posts instagram photos of her class and her pie. She creates TikTok’s of her baking the pie. All of this funnels to the community that she created around the marginal product which she sells which replicates on itself causing her sales to skyrocket.
Now to do all of that she needs to understand the courses that she is playing.
If you can learn to create and leverage these mega-platforms that own and lease out our attention you can produce outsized returns on your investment.
The “Social Dilemma” is an unprecedented opportunity for those who recognize it.