Running on Empty

When you are building up an asset, you’re either spending time or cash.

Renovating a house requires either your handiwork or someone else’s. Getting a charity off the ground requires legwork or funding. Often a combination of both is required. Sometimes you have more of one than the other, or you have no choice which to use.

But somewhere along the lines of industry, digital, and social, things broke down.

You can pay someone to tweet for you, but consistent participation is expensive and doesn’t work very well if it’s outsourced. Being clever is hard (impossible?) to pay for, but personality plays such an important role that often, it’s best just to do it yourself. You can’t pay to keep passion going, either; instead, it often gets snuffed out just as you’re trying to encourage it by paying for it.

Now, the web might be one of the only places where spending time trumps money. If you don’t care, you’ll drop out. If you get paid, you’ll phone it in. The only thing that will make the grade is to really care about it– only if it’s your ass on the line will you really be able to put in the time. It’s the only reason you’ll care enough to compete.

If it’s just a job, others will out-sweat you. And sweat is what built the web.

10 years ago, the web was expensive, or complex, to work on. Now, infrastructure is in place, so it’s easy. The only remaining factor, the one that can’t be bought or commoditized, is the human one.

Robots will get faster. Information will get faster. But human will stay human. That is why you must put your effort there.

I could be wrong, but don’t bet on it.



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4 responses to “Running on Empty”

  1. Amber Whitener Avatar

    You’re right about using a combination of both. The real trick is finding the right one. 😉

  2. Ryan G Avatar

    People and robots man. That’s what I always tell people. Prior to the web, you produced content for people. Today you produce it for people and for robots. That’s the key difference now.

  3. Marcella Chamorro Avatar

    You’re definitely right. Automation doesn’t work for positions of “talent”, where the personality in question is the value. The question becomes how much time spent on the web generates X amount of Y, which totally depends on the objectives of the person in question. How and when to use that time (and human-ness) on the web is a tricky — and sometimes distracting — issue…

  4. Jay Avatar

    Very encouraging post! It is amazing how the internet has leveled the playing field so that anyone with enough persistence can build up an online following and/or change the world.

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