The idea of social media has helped people and companies identify unmet needs which didn’t exist prior, and create value by solving them. Without the concept of producing and sharing videos online as activity for people to do, YouTube would be non existent (does anyone know what the real idea was behind YouTube?). After that concept was cemented and brought to life by YouTube, now a whole new series of problems came into existence; what YouTube was missing or how it didn’t serve the needs of particular niches created new opportunities for companies.
Social media is great at that. It’s great at perpetually moving itself forward through the identification of needs. And as O’Reilly recently wrote in Work on Stuff that Matter: First Principles, “Create more value than you capture.” Really successful startups get that way by setting out to create more value for their users than for themselves. If a company isn’t doing that they should shut their doors right now.
But I digress.
Funny enough that already 5 years ago, as with all technology, everybody thought the Internet had reached its peak. All of the problems had been solved and the barriers to accomplishing big goals were all already removed. Add on top of that another half-decade of user enablement and problem solving (without things getting much simpler mind you), now more than ever if there’s something you want to do it’s possible.
But even though social media has this great power of very quickly developing methods to help users accomplish new things that were inaccessible to them before, it has one immutable limitation to it.
The Human element.
There’s a lot that can be said about the biggest obstacle in now being your own ambition and drive. But thankfully as people start to learn what the problem is, you can solve it. You can. This is not a problem that someone else will ever be able to create a solution for.
The question is: In a world where everybody is given the keys to a life of not only survival, but of self-discovery, what are you going to do?
(Unfortunately not everyone in the world is given the same opportunities as us in the west, and because of that I subscribe to Seth Godin‘s point of view all this opportunity that we’ve been given acting more as an obligation that we have to take advantage of it.)
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