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Chris Brogan

When Free is the Price of Success: Thriving in the Connection Economy

My introduction to how business works was in my first year university economics course. The assigned textbook was called Economics by Lipsey, Sparks and Steiner. It is hard to forget since it was the first business tome we were exposed to, cost a fortune and weighed a ton. Over the years I have asked people who took the same program if they remember Lipsey, Sparks and Steiner. They all do.

New economic models have been created since then. For example, the internet has changed the rules of the game on marketing. Social media has provided opportunities for small business to earn the exposure and influence once reserved for large and better resourced companies. 

Customer relationships are changing too. Seth Godin coined the term “connection economy” to describe the connectivity provided by the internet and how spreading ideas across communities of like-minded people is the pathway to success. Valuable Ideas make strong connections that lead to trust and loyalty. Other business leaders, including Chris Brogan and Michael Hyatt, have expanded on this concept and proven its success. 

Seth Godin’s ‘Free Stuff!’ Web Page Invitation


A core belief of the connection economy is that the most effective way to spread your ideas is to give your content away for free; the more you share, the more value you create and the greater trust and loyalty you earn. When you do offer something for sale, people in your community will buy it because they are confident in its value and want to support the relationship.

I have had the opportunity to practice this belief, both with Change with Confidence and my speaking engagements. Blank templates of the tools I included in my book are available for free downloading on my web site.  Also, the slides I use in presentations are available for free to all participants and are posted on Slideshare



My latest give-away will be an ebook of “how-to” articles and blog posts on change management. Topics will include “The First Thing Leaders Need to Do When Leading a Big Change” and “Why Confidence is so Important When Leading Change and How to Build It”. 

The creative process has already begun. My next steps are to: 

  1. Reread the 170 articles I have written and select the ones for the e-book
  2. Create an outline to organize the articles into a logical order
  3. Work with Krishan Jayatunge and Laurie Barnett to create the design and layout. I am looking forward to working with them, especially after seeing their work on An Honest Living, an excellent book by Melodie Barnett and Luisa Girotto.

My e-book will be given to everyone who signs up for the Change with Confidence newsletter. It will also be a gift to everyone who is receiving it now or who reads my blog. It could be available for participants who attend my speaking engagements too. The possibilities seem endless.

I am excited by my new project. It’s a chance to build something new, which is always thrilling. It’s also a chance to grow a community of like-minded people who value what I have to say. 


That sounds like success to me. Lipsey, Sparks and Steiner might also agree.


Phil

What 3 Words Will Keep You Focused in 2014?

Like many people, I have taken time over the holidays to reflect on 2013 achievements and 2014 goals.

I read a newsletter from Chris Brogan about his approach to 2014 planning. He invited his readers to choose three guiding words that sum up what you want to work on in the year. He included a link to the words he had used over the last seven years with tips on what words were most effective.  

After checking them out, I scribbled a few words down in my planning notes but moved onto other things. It wasn’t until I described the exercise to a friend that I became excited by its possibilities. What a simple and effective way to remind you of your priorities and keep you on track. 

The following day, I read a post from another leadership guru, Dan Rockwell’s, called Don’t Make a Resolution; Find a Word. He advocates a one-word approach to focus your actions over the coming year. 

I am definitely a three word person. Here are mine for 2014:

Everything I do must connect to my purpose of helping people and organizations be more successful by working in new ways. My watch-out is becoming absorbed in interesting side projects that are not aligned with my overarching goal. Time is a luxury I cannot afford. 

I am at my best when I am out of my comfort zone. I need to focus on developing new change support offerings and different ways of providing them. More on this in a couple of weeks. 

I wrote Change with Confidence from a global perspective based on my experiences and researched international examples—change is universal. My business also needs to be global, including my writing, speaking engagements and clients. 

Of the three words, only “global” remains from the words I scribbled down last week; better words emerged with time. What this tells me is that I wasn’t clear about my areas of focus until I went through the exercise a few times. 

Maybe this will be true for you. What are your three words for 2014?

Phil

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