Guest AuthorPavan Soni

Content versus Contacts

By | Dr Pavan Soni | IIM-B Innovation Evangelist

While content has always been the king, it’s a growing realization that ‘your network is your networth’. As they say in the startup circle, it’s not what you know, but who you know that makes the difference! With the finite resources at one’s disposal it’s an imperative to think of how to allocate time and attention- whether to go for building a robust content or to go after people and forge connections. This is even more of a concern as professionals start moving up the corporate food-chain, where an inordinate amount of their cerebral activities are appropriated to ‘people management’ and less on building self or matter. For entrepreneurs, it’s a tradeoff between knowing who’s-who to building a product or a service worth knowing about.

On the matter of content and contacts, Mark Schaefer says,

“Power doesn’t come from content, power comes from content that moves”

In this piece, I argue about going back to the basics where content is and would remain the force to reckon with. So I defer from the saying of knowing who versus knowing what, and stretch my neck out for content being the king! Allow me an explanation.

We are experiencing a triple assault – 1) information overload, 2) shrinking attention spans, and 3) democratization of information access. Needless to say, with each attribute compounding with others, it’s a vicious cycle.

The information overload, through the social media, at personal and professional front, informs and misinforms in equal measures. Often individuals are at a loss on what to read, how much to read, and that’s where videos have taken over text as a preferred mode of consuming information (let’s call it entertainment). Even corporate in their most productive durations aren’t spared either. Couple this with the shrinking attention span, and a growing tendency of securing immediate gratification. With low-cost and high-speed access to data and devices, information is far more proliferated than before, and that’s in many ways is leveling the playing field (think of Twitter here).

On information overload, the futurist Alvin Toffler long back noted,

“Information overload will lead to ‘future shock syndrome’ as an individual will suffer severe physical and mental disturbances”

While the Internet penetration, coupled with online social and professional networks, is informing us at an ever growing pace, the same Internet is lowering the information asymmetry. In yesteryears, one had to develop good content and socialize it extensively to be picked up. That’s not the case anylonger. A video posted on YouTube or WhatsApp can go viral overnight. In effect, the transaction cost has come down to almost zero. People viral your good content (and even bad, at times) without necessarily knowing you. So here, content is the king!

Let’s talk about the corporate scenario. As employees move up the corporate ranks, most of their time goes into attending (toxic) meetings, massaging people’s egos and maintaining relationships which may or may not pay. The loss of time and the sheer opportunity cost is a real loss as against a notional future gain in terms of promotion or increments. Even inside the corporate the transaction costs are coming down. You are far likely to be discovered if you have an amazing content and almost non-existent connections. Beyond a point, for those who spend time socializing lose out on the sheer ability to develop compelling content.

Must I then say,

In a way, social network empowers the creative loners.

The same holds true for the entrepreneurs. Just have a good idea well executed, and people will discover you. The media (social and traditional) is waiting for good stories, and they will sniff you out. Spend your finite energy is shaping up your products and meeting customers, than meeting potential investors and participating in pitching contests. Beyond a point, you don’t add much value to yourself, let alone others.

You too are likely to read this article for it getting discovered at LinkedIn or elsewhere, and if you have managed to read thus far, there must be some goodness in the content.

Republished with permission and originally published at Dr. Pavan Soni’s LinkedIn

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