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Melodie Barnett

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

The Art and Science of Creating Something New

Our first Change with Confidence newsletter launched this week after six weeks of development.

This initiative is part art project and part science experiment. The selection of the articles that Mel, Tim and I made is the art; our commentary explaining why we selected them is the science. 

The most interesting part of creating the first issue was its design. Kro, my website developer, designed the template from rough drawings made in Powerpoint. He also added layout and design elements. Mel, Tim and I made revisions the same way we do on our consulting assignments – quickly, building on each other’s thoughts.

We selected MailChimp as the vehicle to create, send and track our newsletter. It was Kro’s program of choice. Also, I remember Michael Hyatt, an excellent business blogger, recommending it. 
MailChimp’s website boasts 6,000 new users a day and we decided to become one of them.

MailChimp is powerful, flexible and easy to use, at least when you use it correctly. I had neglected to fill in the first and last name fields in the distribution database which resulted in blank salutations during our test run. It was an easy fix that required two hours of typing. It didn’t feel easy at the time.

I really appreciate the feedback we received. Most of the notes were sent the day of distribution. There were many thanks, good ideas for future issues and offers to forward it to friends and colleagues. Some people even noted the articles they read.

Like all ongoing, repeatable projects, I am intrigued by how it will evolve. Will we make any immediate design changes, what articles will we select next time, will the tones of our commentary change? I know that each issue will be shaped by our interests, experiences and learnings, like all art and science.

Phil

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