Hang on a second. Cluetrain-a-Day? We thought you’d abandoned that, Alex!
Well, it’s true, I went on haitus. My last post from mid-February marked an exciting, but time-consuming shift, where I (and many others) invested a great deal of time into the expansion of our coworking community and space.
While we’ve accomplished a lot in 2009, one of my primary goals was NOT met…more writing. This series was designed to drive that, and ultimately, I really wanted to start writing a book of my own.
Well, discontent with myself I did the only thing I could…I decided to at least attempt to end 2009 the same way I started….helping make sure you’re getting your daily does of having a clue. So without further adieu…
This post is part of a 95 post series discussing the 95 theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto as they relate to business in 2009. Read more about the series in the introduction post. And check out the rest of the series!
Thesis #31: Networked markets can change suppliers overnight. Networked knowledge workers can change employers over lunch. Your own “downsizing initiatives” taught us to ask the question: “Loyalty? What’s that?”
Not only CAN they change suppliers (or employers) overnight, they will.
In terms of commerce, the disappearance of intrinsic brand loyalty from the scope of consumers (at least in America, but abroad as well) is only accelerated by the fact that entire NEW brands are existing purely as aggregates.
Think about airline travel, which we’ve talked about before. Along with credit card rewards systems, Airline “Frequent Flier” programs are among the prominent commerce systems designed to reward you for your attention. In the 80s during their popularization, Airlines had a clue and were simply rewarding their most traveled customers with additional benefits, like first class upgrades and other priority statuses.
Then, the industry began to network in the 90s…literally. Formation of airline alliances and code shares made it easier for their most loyal customers…to fly with other airlines. It came at a cost, though: inconvenience.
Then that pesky internet came along. Be it airfare aggregation tools like Kayak.com or Expedia.com, or points-sharing hubs like AwardWallet and most recently TripIt.com‘s point tracking tools, it was no longer nearly as inconvenient to grab the cheapest fare no matter who it was from, jump on their awards program, and let the web track your “loyalty” for you.
Despite these advances, the airline points industry is still a multi-billion dollar contribution to air travel revenues. But the point remains:
The customers are largely migrant, thanks to tools online that help them distribute their loyalty.
In terms of employment, there’s an interesting shift taking place, and it’s generational. A couple of months back I was speaking at a Human Resources conference about remote workers & telecommuters in respect to worker communities and recruiting opportunities (i.e., how recruiters COULD get involved with coworking communities and spaces). The speaker following my panel, Sylvia Ann Hewlett, strongly re-inforced a number of the things that I’ve come to understand about the non-monetary incentives that drive modern workers in two generations: Gen-Y, and Baby Boomers.
She discussed 5 bullet points of these non-monetary incentives:
- Collaborative Workspace Design
That first bullet, Odyssey, is what we’re talking about here. Workers of Generation X (and baby boomers, up until recently) were taught career planning. Graduate college, get a job, you’re in it for 30+ years, accruing retirement savings, etc.
Things changed for Generation Y. Employer loyalty, even industry loyalty, has gone out the window completely. And it’s probably not helped by watching our parents get screwed out of their retirement that they worked their entire lives for.
And as a generation, we’ve illustrated that it’s possible to climb a different ladder, despite it not being the one planned for us by the human resources department at your local bigco.
The career has become about journey. The odyssey. The perpetual search for finding the next great opportunity.
And it becomes easier to find that next opportunity every day.