It all starts with this familiar concept – abundance: a concept that emerged from the dotcom era, now mature and embedded in everything we do. But now abundance is more than just quantity and sheer volume of content. It’s abundance of connections; abundance of connected people; abundance of data, platforms, and an abundance of entrepreneurs. Abundance changes the economics of everything in the Age of Metapreneurship. Abundance transforms the precious into commodities, and commodities into opportunities. And an abundance of entrepreneurship creates a new kind of entrepreneur: The Metapreneur.
We live and breathe on networks now. Networking is no longer merely something we do, it’s part of who we are. In business, it’s like breathing oxygen. If you have to deliberately think about networking and networks, then you’re probably on life support. Networks amplify everything (the good and the bad). Because we exist on networks, in networks, and within networks – we all have new roles, new definitions of value, and new rules for interaction.
Abundance creates brand new scarcities; brand new opportunities. An abundance of network connections mobilizes people in many new ways never before possible. Scaling means rapid growth, and scaling is the new normal. Networks remove friction to success; they enable scaling and create new kinds of abundances. But modern networks also spawn new kinds of friction, new barriers, and new scarcities. This means new threats for entrepreneurs, and new opportunities.
An abundance of people on a network creates “crowds.” Crowds have unique properties and behaviors. Crowds have extraordinary potential value for the network: they can be a source of collective knowledge and ideas – as in crowd wisdom, a source of efficient labor as in crowd sourcing; or a source of capital – as in crowdfunding. Crowds can be an extraordinary source of efficient resources for entrepreneurs. Permanent crowds become communities and ecosystems. Crowds can also be negative, and turn into mobs. A Metapreneur needs to know how to manage crowds as a new kind of resource in his or her toolbox.
As crowds become a source of knowledge, power shifts from individuals to the crowd. The crowd contributes knowledge to the network, and the network permanently stores and validates knowledge. Individual knowledge and expertise are being commoditized by the network. Power no longer comes from possessing knowledge and expertise. New power comes from being able to access the network’s knowledge and expertise.
As crowds on the network get larger, they start to exhibit unique behaviors and traits as a single entity, distinct from the individuals. Without leaders and without formal organizations, crowds on the network spontaneously start acting as a coordinated, single organism – like swarming, or a flock of birds traveling in that distinctive V-shape. The whole is different than the sum of its parts.
Crowds that spontaneously self-organize around a common cause form movements. Movements are like powerful waves or whirlwinds that sweep everyone in their paths. Movements are fueled by passion and mission. Business, once a dispassionate domain with only one mission – profit – has been transformed. The new normal is: business as movements, with passionate missions that engage customers, employees and entrepreneurs.
In the Age of Metapreneurship, the cumulative effects of these components spawn the emergence of new behaviors, new norms, new roles in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
This is the new terrain. Entrepreneurship changes in a world of abundance, networks, crowds and movements.
Let’s explore each of these layers to understand their impact on entrepreneurship today, and to explore how entrepreneurs can use them to thrive and succeed …
(for more … read The Age of Metapreneurship Chapter 5)