How to Succeed in a (Dot) Complicated World
What happens when a proponent for digital transformation encounters the expected and unintended consequences of it? It’s a question that defines how Randi Zuckerberg, author of Dot Complicated and former Facebook marketing lead, lives and leads her life as a wife, mother, entrepreneur and recent Broadway star.
She no longer is ruled by the role she played in bringing Facebook to the behemoth it is today. She is, however, constantly asked how the network, unlike many of its counterparts and competitors, has become such a success. She doesn’t mind the question; the reasons for the network’s success have to do with ideas and principles she still uses.
For example, she recommends employing a scarcity principle when bringing a new product to market. Facebook wasn’t shared with the masses. It was rolled out slowly, creating demand and urgency.
The platform also relied – it still does – on crowdsourcing. If demand is one of the keys to Facebook’s success, giving people the means to enhance and improve the site is another. Brands shouldn’t clench their fists around their products. They should share them and allow interested people to become the early adopters and enthusiastic ambassadors.
Another element to success is culture. Randi says businesses have to strike the right tone at the outset. Not only that, they have to maintain it. She has witnessed a number of startups in the Silicon Valley lose their robustness after achieving a modicum of success.
Facebook has not followed suit. It keeps its startup attitude alive and well by hosting regular hackathons to keep the culture of innovation alive. The brand, similar to Google, recognizes that good ideas and new perspectives come from everywhere, so it encourages the development of both.
Randi’s new ventures are the result of that culture; it led her to propose and initiate Facebook Live, an experiment she initially viewed as a failure but has since become the propulsion into life as an entrepreneur and author.
Her new roles have led to a consideration of technology and its implications for professional and personal life. She says that tech sometimes is put in the position of saving people from tech. She also notes that for every benefit technology brings, a complication or even a detriment arises.
For example, the digital era is changing the lives of employees in the workplace. Employees are no longer stuck in ironclad roles. They can be “entre-ployees,” employees whose hustle, verve, and initiative are welcomed and encouraged.
Another change has to do with how businesses view themselves. They now are media companies and are in the business of creating content that resonates with their audiences. Red Bull and Chipotle may create a physical product that people consume, but they are very much invested in content creation and marketing.
Social connections are currency, too. A number of brands are letting their customers pay with social. Birds Eye, for example, allows people to pay for their meals via Instagram. The Merit Shop takes a different tact. It requires that people pay for products with their talents and skills.
A final development has to do with FOMO or the “fear of missing out.” Randi says that people, and maybe entrepreneurs especially, need to embrace “JOMO,” the joy of missing out. Many people choose to “miss out” when they need to unplug and recharge, but others are following suit simply to be more productive.
Today’s world may be “dot” complicated, but it has its benefits. The key to being successful in such a world is two-fold. First, one has to embrace and live by the ideas and principles that define personal success. Second, they have to recognize both the dangers and the joys of technology and find a way to balance the opposite ends of the spectrum.
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