SLAYING GIANTS IN THE MEGA GIG ECONOMY
How small beats big in today’s business world
When people hear the phrase ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, they generally think it is all about artificial intelligence or robotic automation; a new world of smart homes and flying cars. This is all quite unrealistic, in my opinion. For most people, it’s simply too much to contemplate; it’s an overwhelming prospect. People are starting to think that when they get home, their front door will swing open on cue, the lights will switch on as needed, with a friendly voice to greet them, selecting their favorite music, setting mood lighting, all while pouring them a cold beer. It’s a vision of total automation. Stock prices scroll across the ceiling, a friendly robot dog wags its tail, ready to fetch the ball. We can be teleported from one location to the next. We can sit back, relax, and summon unthinkable luxuries. It is true that some of these technologies are already available, and others are on their way. But to look at the Fourth Industrial Revolution as a vision of futuristic, labor-saving technology is to miss the point entirely.
I have a very different view on the matter. I believe that we are already living through the Fourth Industrial Revolution, right now. And, in fact, the nature of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is quite simple. To me, the definition of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is the facility, for the first time in history, for a regular person to have everything at their disposal, at almost zero cost.
About The Book as a tool of Change
The world has changed, but many people still cling to this old-fashioned mindset: they believe that clients will expect to walk into a smart-looking office, to be greeted by a receptionist, then led into a fancy boardroom where the actual meeting will take place. But I don’t believe that this is still the default professional approach. For the modern business, most of the standard office infrastructure is now a waste of time, space and money, and clients increasingly understand this.
In this book, I will outline the new fundamentals. I hope you’ll agree that the traditional business model has changed. But there will certainly still be some people, particularly those who have a vested interest in expensive office space, who will not agree with what is being presented here, and will maintain their contention that the ‘office experience’ cannot be matched.
Of course, there are some industries in which a warehouse or factory is necessary, or where not having a physical office wouldn’t make sense. But I do feel that, for most businesses today, one can dramatically reduce the amount of space that is needed. In this day and age, most functions can be carried out remotely. Real estate is one of the biggest expenses for most companies. This creates a scenario where small businesses need a lot of funding before they can even launch and start operating. But if the traditional office disappears, what will become of all that commercial real estate? That’s a question we’ll explore in a later chapter.
To start a business nowadays, you don’t need all those overheads. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has leveled the playing field substantially, and now anybody can have access to the tools they need to start a viable business, at little to no cost. The barriers to entry have been lowered across the board. Now that we understand that the Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to industry, and not our social lives, we can take a closer look at it, as well as how it currently affects our philosophy of business. I do believe that there are aspects to this revolution that touch on our social, familial and emotional lives, but in this book I’ll be focusing on the industrial impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.