The Digital Mindset

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If we all needed an MBA to use Facebook, it wouldn’t have 2 billion users. In this vlog, Grant explains that getting to grips with digital is not about understanding technology, it’s about having a new way of thinking.

The Germans zoologist, Dr. Karl Mobius put a pike in a tank with a load of minnows. He put a glass divider between the pike and the minnows. Quite expectedly the pike went to attack the minnows, but it kept hitting its nose against the glass divider. After a few hours it gave up and sunk to the bottom of the tank, at which point Dr. Mobius released the glass divider and the minnows disseminated throughout the tank.

At that time the pike could have attacked any of the minnows and eaten them. It made no attempt to do so. What the experiment showed is that the pike couldn’t get the paradigm shift that it was now able to eat the minnows, that just before it attempted for several hours to eat and couldn’t. So ask yourself: Are you suffering from Pike Syndrome?

The fact is that the digital and technological revolution that we’re living through has changed many of the paradigms that previously existed. Mastering digital is not about technology. If we all needed an MBA to be able to use Facebook it wouldn’t have 2 billion users. Getting to grips with digital is not about understanding technology, it’s about having a new way of thinking.

The starting point for understanding this revolution is that we now live in a world where everybody has a media channel. Media companies are still putting out information like they always did, businesses now own media channels like Web sites, LinkedIn profiles and Facebook pages and every individual also owns a media channel.
There are three important ramifications of this. Firstly we live in a world of information overload because everybody is putting out information; media company businesses and individuals. But everything in life has a cause and effect and the direct effect of living in a world of abundance of information is we now live in a world of scarcity of attention and, therefore, the ramification is this; companies used to be valuable because of what they did. Today, companies are valuable because of the attention they have. The real value today in a business is the attention of its audience.

Ramification number two is this; you now run two businesses. Whatever it is you do… and a media company, because you now own media channels whether its a web site, a Facebook page, a YouTube channel, a LinkedIn page.. these work like media channels. With traditional marketing, you would pay to leverage someone else’s audience. For example, you may take an advert in a publication. The publication had grown an audience and you pay to interrupt it, temporarily, with your message. But your web site, your Facebook page, or your YouTube channel, doesn’t have an audience. In other words, in digital media what you have to do is grow an audience and then retain it, and that’s a media discipline, not a traditional marketing one.

The third ramification is this, traditionally in marketing you’d have the audience you wanted to reach and the channels which you used in order to get to them. For example; advertising in a magazine or on television would be the channel which you would use to get to your audience. But in a world where everybody owns a media channel and in a world where information is increasingly not disseminated by publication or broadcasting but by social sharing, your customer is now the channel.

These are some of the ideas that need to be grappled with if a business is going to become fit for the digital age. Dr. Mobius had to hand-feed the pike to prevent it from dying. So if you feel like you’ve been hitting your head against the glass divider, now’s the time to get a new perspective.

Like the minnows, the opportunities are disseminating throughout the tank.

It’s time to go and grab them, because no one’s going to hand feed your business to ensure it survives.

There may be small changes to the spoken word in this transcript in order to facilitate the readability of the written English

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  1. One of your best yet Grant! Thank you.

    Your business had better learn to adapt to this new digital age because as the great Bob Dylan sang – “you better start swimmin’, Or you’ll sink like a stone, For the times they are a-changin’!”

    1. Author

      Thanks Denis, I am glad you liked the vlog. I look forward to seeing you again next year!

    1. Author

      Thanks Chris for your positive comments. I am glad you liked the story about the Pike, which is true!

  2. Very good one Grant, great message and graphics (though not sure about the background music).

    1. Author

      Thanks Terry, I am glad that you enjoyed the vlog. I take it you won’t be buying the soundtrack ?

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