I read a lot. In fact, it is a bit of an obsession at the moment. This is a good thing because I hopefully learn something in the process. It is also a frustrating thing, because it is not easy to keep track of all the stuff that jump at me.
Here is a short list of some of the highlights (sources are vague – this is my problem!):
  •  I read somewhere that Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, believes the future of work is all about collaboration – not competition.
  • An article in last month’s Harvard Business Review discuss the findings of a study that show how caring, warm people get further in life than those that trample their way to the top.
  • On the BBC’s news website I saw a fantastic article describing how technology will empower us to increasingly start and manage our own businesses from home, meaning less traffic and a better quality of life.
  • Finally, I recently discovered that Twitter is not about tweeting, but about searching – a simple search for #brand led me to a number of tweets on the importance of developing one’s personal brand.

Add to this the key message from a lecture I attended on venture creation last week: entrepreneurship is primarily about investing in social capital – i.e. your network, and I am starting to spot a trend here: The power of small.
The more I read, the more I am struck by this idea that society is tired of “BIG” things. We have been bullied too often by the big guys.
  • Big government seems ineffective.
  • To often big companies are in the news for colluding and bribing.
  • The failure of big financial institutions dragged us into the current financial crises – remember the words “too big to fail”?
  • Our big waistlines are a problem – even I need to drop a few pounds!
  • Big industry has hurt the environment.

It all comes to a neat conclusion for me when I see that some cars are now too big to fit into the standard parking bay!
Big just does not work anymore. I am more convinced than ever that the future is small. Time to ditch big, and go small!
This brings me back to all that reading I am doing. For me a clear trend is emerging pointing to a future where people increasingly work for themselves. Where collaboration – not competition – is the name of the game. Where individuality is encouraged and flexibility is preferred. I see a future where people choose to keep things small, because the potential rewards are just that much…bigger.
It is in this new world of small, where standing out from the crowd will become essential. The smaller things are, the easier they get lost! This is why personal branding will increasingly become the new buzz-word. This is why a simple search for #brand, reveals a number of articles on personal branding. I see a future where every one of us will need to be brand managers of ourselves.
In Hollywood it is popular for celebrity couples to call their new-borns all kinds of strange names. Most recently Kanye West & Kim decided to call their baby “North”. I have a better name for a baby: (Pty) Ltd. – pronounced as Peetee Why Limited.

In this new world of small, we are each a business in our own right, with our own personal brand to look after!