Outsourcing

Outsourcing through Odesk, PeoplePerHour and Fiverr is magnificent for businesses.

One, it breaks down work into tasks.

Businesses can get a fixed price for each job.

You can find an amazing worker, and get it done tomorrow. No faffing around with recruitment.

Two, it breaks down boundaries.

You can hire someone in the Phillipines who’ll do a decent job.

And he’ll cost a tenth of the cost of somebody in the first world.

He can use his skills, and get paid at a rate, well above the local average.

And businesses can reduce all their costs.

What this means is: it sucks to be an employee in the first world.

Essentially, someone overseas can probably do the same job as you, for less.

So most instruction-based jobs will be outsourced away.

Things like graphic design, data-entry or coding.

The more commoditised it is, the easier it is to outsource.

Because there’s more supply, than demand for it, in general.

Too many people want jobs with instructions. Rather than jobs which require creativity and initiative.

Because that’s how schools have trained people to work, across the globe. To await orders. Not to lead.

And the only permanent jobs that will exist, are those for people who are enterprising.

People with initiative.

People who can manage projects.

People who can be imaginative.

People who can sell. And know what people really want.

Labour and skills are cheap.

So if you can draw the dots between what people buy, and what your online workforce can make…

And be entrepreneurial…

Then you’ll do very well for yourself.

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The meaning of life

Over the past year, I’ve pondered the meaning of life.

Like, why are we all here?

Or what’s the point?

Or what am I doing with myself?

And I think it comes down to this:

The meaning of life is what you want it to be.

Essentially, there are no rules.

No ultimate goal.

It’s what you want to make it mean.

Americans vs the English

American people and English people are very different in business. Or so I’ve found.

In general, American business people seem to be the sunniest people on the planet. If you get in touch, they’re always helpful, make introductions and believe in you.

If you want to make something happen there, they’ll encourage you.

Yet, most people in England are very different.

It’s this kind of gloomy selfishness. This kind of “I’ll elbow my way to the top”. And “what do they want now?!”.

“Oh, you want to start a business, good luck with that, but you’ll probably fail.” – is the attitude most people would give you.

It’s the difference between “let’s go-get-’em” and “what’s in it for me?”

The difference between thinking the world is abundant with opportunity, and being suspicious of people stealing your idea.

The difference between being helpful, and saying “it’s not in my job description“.

Hopefully, that attitude will change over here sometime.

 

Social groups are going to change

If you look at most people’s social groups, they’re very tight.

You have lots of mutual friends on facebook.

You went to the same school/university/workplace.

But I think that way of acquiring friendships is quite unnatural.

Good friendships are based on mutual interest and shared experiences.

And I think because of the nature of school – people huddle in large groups. People of the same age, class, race.

Not because you all like something. But because you’re all in the same place, at the same time.

Most people don’t hang around with anyone else, or go looking for new friends because they’re afraid.

They need to feel part of a group. They need to feel comfortable.

But this is quite unhealthy, I think. Because you limit your social circle

When it gets too insular, it leads to friction and bitchiness. And people get into relationships just because they belong in the same groups, which they end up not enjoying.

They never leave that fluffy comfort zone of their friends.

I see this in play at networking events and meetups. You have people who stand alone and look a bit intimidated. Or people who huddle with their mates.

So you go and chat to them. Whether they’re 25 or 55. White or Black. Male or Female. Whatever.

And you end up making them feel comfortable there. They like you. And you end up connecting with all different types of people. Making connections with all kinds of disparate social circles. Developers. Marketers. Bankers. Small business owners. Lawyers.

It’s fun. And it’s valuable to meet so many people with different perspectives on life.

I think in the future, things with change.

Our social bonds will be stronger. Instead of being due to being at the same place at the same time, it’ll be because of mutual interests. You’ll meet and connect with more and more people who share the same interests. Technology will make new-friend discovery easier.

And that will make us all happier, methinks.

What do people want things?

What is desire?

Subconsciously, I think everybody wants the same things. You want to feel loved, important and feel like you belong.

You might not have ever thought about that. But that’s what motivates most people.

And everything you buy is an expression of that.

Rich people buy luxury goods because they’re lonely. And it’ll make people envy them, and want to be like them. They think.

A smartphone because your friends have them (and it connects you to them).

A gym membership because you want to be more attractive, and be valued more for it.

Business software which improves results, makes your boss happy with you, and appreciate you.

Every purchase you make is rooted in your desire to feel good.

Make people feel loved, important and like they belong… and you’ll make them happy.

Happy people buy. And if you can sell, you can have anything you want.

Ballsiness

There’s a lot to be said for getting out your comfort zone.

Being comfortable doing crazy things.

Failing and not minding.

School trains you to avoid failure and find it painful.

You seek approval from a teacher.

But the best way to learn is through mistakes. And make mistakes often.

As you get comfortable with learning through mistakes… you become ballsy.

So we got a badly-written letter from an estate agent recently.

“Dear Homeowner, As a homeowner you will no doubt be aware of the changing news of the day regarding the housing market and there is no doubt that it can be depressing or uplifting in what is a fragile equilibrium of supply and demand. Blah blah blah…”

What an unreadable letter.

But I saw this as an opportunity.

I emailed the estate agent and said “it looks like you need a professional copywriter.”

A diplomatic way of saying – “it’s rubbish!”

He told me it was written by the best estate agency trainer/letter writer in the country, but he was open to new ideas.

So I met him.

Explained how I could do it better.

Sent him a rewritten letter.

And he didn’t like it.

Even if he did, he probably wouldn’t have paid because he seemed like that kind of person.

But I was being ballsy.

With the go-get-’em spirit.

And I learned. Learned that some people want to pick your brains. And the people who most need marketing, are least willing to accept that and pay for it.

The people who go-get-’em, make things happen.

And they learn the most.

And do the most.

Life is Sales and Marketing

Businesses spend 20-40% of their revenue on Sales and Marketing.

Sales and marketing is the veins of everything.

The shop with its assistants.

The factory which won the business to manufacture smartphones.

The management who convinced the finance people to invest in their plan.

The agency which won the marketing budget.

Nothing happens without sales and marketing.

Sales and marketing takes ideas. Makes them reality. Then gets people to take them up.

The whole marketing and sales industry is about one thing. Connecting. Connecting people who want something, to those who can provide it.

Short circuit that connecting, and you create a lot of value.

Google. Want to buy something? It’ll send you to information about that thing, and people who sell it. It’ll also send you to people who have paid for the privilege of appearing there.

Ebay. Want to buy something second-hand? You can buy little things from anywhere in the world. Something which couldn’t have existed pre-internet.

So if you want to create a lot value in people’s lives, find a way of connecting buyers and sellers on a large scale.