Mary Meeker of Kleiner, Perkin, Caulfield and Byers released a new study on the state of the Internet that explores, among other things, how we’re making the transition from an asset-heavy society to one that’s asset-light.
What does that mean? Basically, we’re shedding (or have shed) many of the encumbrances of our pre-social/digital network lives.
Examples include the movement from extra-large to compact: that is, three-car families to Zipcars or Hailo, face-to-face meetings to Google+ Hangouts, desktops to mobile, boxes and boxes of paper files to documents in the cloud.
We’re becoming more portable and that’s having an impact on the way we do our jobs, communicate and interact. We have both more freedom and less – i.e. with extra flexibility, our workday feels like it never ends.
So how can you prepare for asset-lightness?
Here are four ideas:
- Simplify – and I don’t just mean throwing away junk (though that’s a good place to start). I mean thinking about all the things you do out of habit that simply aren’t necessary anymore. For businesses that means examining workflow (do people need to show up in the office at 9 everyday?), teams (come on, is all the hierarchy really necessary?), internal and external communications (do you need to CYA with that much email?).
- Look to Millennials – stop hanging onto the past just because it’s familiar and you like the way things have always been done. Embrace the changes. Start by watching, listening and learning from Millennials. By 2017, they’re going to be drivers of our economy and the way they discover news and information will be more important than ever. It’s time to adapt today.
- Experiment – with fresh ways of connecting and communicating. People don’t want to talk on the phone so much anymore. And they’re bombarded by email. So how can you reach someone in a meaningful, helpful, non-intrusive way?
- Put up a virtual fence – in other words, establish boundaries between your personal and professional life. Figure out how private and connected you want to be. And let people know. And stop feeling guilty that you’re missing something when you unplug. There are many worlds out there – virtual and otherwise. You’ve got more freedom, learn to savor it.
Having shed my agency and moving to a mobile model of working, I’ve been able to experience asset-lightness first hand and I like it a lot.
How do you think businesses and individuals will adapt. Can we continue to be consumers and embrace a less is more lifestyle?