The real world is becoming more like the online one


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Have you been to a concert lately? It's weird. People are throwing things at performers and filming themselves as they do so.

These concert antics look like attempts to create a viral moment for clout: “Look what I got Harry Styles to do! POST!!”

But what’s behind this behavior? I think the explanation is pretty simple.

The online and offline worlds are merging. And it’s causing some serious shocks, as acceptable mores from each world collide.

So what kind of behavior is acceptable —actually, encouraged— online? Remixing. Duetting. Literally adding your own voice or spin to something and then reposting it for likes, comments, and new followers.

But these tried-and-tested methods to attain clout are now bleeding into the physical world: that’s why you see concert goers injecting themselves into the performance, sometimes in unexpected or unwelcome ways, including one fan who hit Harry Styles in the eye with a Skittle.

So, what does it all mean?

I've written about how marketing these days is everything and everything is marketing. I've also written about how we are currently in the middle of a wild social experiment: the end of mainstream culture, as our info and entertainment streams splinter into ever more narrow, seemingly-personalized sub genres.

This is all something that’s been predicted since the 80s and 90s. What was then called “the Information Age,” today we call the social media age, or simply the creator economy.

Now that it’s fully, fully here, the implications are profound. The rise and rise of social media has blurred the lines between speaker and listener, performer and audience, teacher and student, and even boss and employee.

To be fair, businesses still need to operate within systems and structures. After all, it's really difficult to mass produce anything —whether products or services— without clear methodologies, distinct hierarchies or lines of command.

Or is it? Some types of services, at least, are being delivered in an all new way.

The world of venture capital is seeing the rise of the Solo GP: Individual investors who are raising tens of millions of dollars themselves to deploy as they see fit.

Fashion is changing even faster. As industry expert Joanna Moore put it recently: “American fashion once operated under a hierarchical framework, with big elite fashion powers commanding control over the entire market.

The problem is they think they still have that power and have not changed their process in the age of TikTok where the new reigning authority are regular people.”

Advertising has already shifted. TikToks, literally shot and cut on phones, generate more views and engagement than most (but, not all) professionally produced ads ever could.

Across a range of services sectors —from software development, to design, to law, consulting, and much more— individual freelancers, especially those with substantial experience at large organizations have, at their disposal, many of the same resources as the gigantic firms they left.

As a small marketing services company founder and owner myself, I can see how my network and I can create creative output that is at (or exceeds) the standard of work that comes from agencies 500 times our size. It’s the same people generating the same output, using the same tools. All we’re missing is the large and fancy offices/network.

Firms like mine are able to serve a wider range of clients, because our overheads are low. Many Solo GPs take a smaller percentage of profits from their investors for the same reason. This is an edge that’s only getting sharper as more and more online mores (ie., deals closed over text vs in person meets) move offline.

We electrons are breaking free of the strong nucleus. It is an incredibly destabilizing, and exciting time. Traditional power structures are weakening. Traditional corporate formats, reorganizing.

Bottom line: the implications of this shift are only just starting to appear. Fans’ bad behavior at concerts is simply the opening siren.


Meet Europe’s growing crowd of solo GPs »»

You're not getting old, concerts are weird now: Three hours of footage for 10 seconds of FYP fame »»

Solo GP Nichole Wischoff raises $20M fund backed by Peter Thiel to invest in ‘unsexy businesses’ »»

Joanna Williams LinkedIn post about the shift to a more democratic, authentic and inclusive approach to fashion »»

Written by Jon Kallus. Any feedback? Simply reply.

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