Working With the Fire In Your Belly

Recently, I’ve been sorting through my mind a status update I thought would go well with this blog entry. It goes something of this sort… “(do you) Figure there is a reason it’s called Work and not Fun. Wouldn’t want you to get the wrong idea.” That sounds rough – it sounds like I think work is all work and no fun, that’s not the case. Nor am I suggesting it is purely advisable to hate work.

Stoking the fire in the belly.

Sometimes work is work. It’s tough, it needs to be done, and if you don’t do it – it won’t happen. But, work needn’t necessitate continuous pain … any more than it should provide continuous joys. Sometimes you gotta dig deep.

This phrase is thrown about occasionally around our office; and, I like it. What does it mean to have fire in the belly? 

“If you have fire in your belly, you are ready to fight with energy and determination for what you believe is right” 

Fire in the belly

That energy; that passion to dig deep, to well up with determination – it’s something that some of us find when we are pushed to anger, some of us access when our pride is challenged, some of us have a difficult time ever finding it, but all of us – I’ll submit – have it. A good manager knows this, and a good manager finds it. They use it to their advantage, to the organization’s advantage, to your advantage. Because ultimately, getting you to behave, to act driven by the fire in your own belly is a powerful advantage.

Ignite your passion for work.

In any of the areas where you are dictating your own work, I recommend to you to review and see if you are approaching work with tenacity, and determination. All workplace situations don’t seem like they need this, but I’ll submit to you – that when you approach most or all workplace situations with it – you’ll notice a positive and sizable difference. In fact, I suppose you might call it the ultimate workplace advantage.

collaborative consumption

[Book Review] What’s Mine is Yours: the Rise of Collaborative Consumption

In college I read a few things about culture, collaboration and communication, including Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone, as well as work by and work critiquing sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. These works helped influence a lot of scholarship as they shine a light on human interaction and communication among groups.

Collaborative Consumption What's Mine is Yours Book Cover

Lately, I’ve been thumbing through a book by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers – a book earnest in it’s thoughts about collaboration and equally interested in uncovering new and useful links for what makes these groups work. The book is titled What’s Mine is Yours – The Rise of Collaborative Consumption.

I’ve found it to be an interesting book with much to say about both the history and the future of consumerist culture. I think it is a well-written book with useful information for anyone interested in …

  • how today’s consumer networks are developing
  • case studies related to Internet trends and emerging culture
  • consumerism or (as the book notes) hyper-consumerism past, present and future

Sustainability blog Treehugger has reviewed the book and highlights the change in consumption patterns showcased and promoted in the book. As the authors throw out facts, figures and case studies related to consumer culture, evidence that people are more responsive to and interested in new methods of consumption add up. The idea that people have found increased interest (if not need) to freecycle, AirBNB and consume more intelligently and together is an intriguing one to say the least.

When you consider the works of people like Benjamin Barber, author of Consumed and Jihad vs. McWorld (a scholar who writes about consumer culture and it’s by-products – notably the infantilization of adults) it’s not very much of a stretch to think we need a change our values, attitudes and behaviors.toward consumer goods.

Moving on…

Many of the current studies and speculations about Generation Y, or the Millennials suggest a continued up-tick of the type of attributes that make them reasonable purveyors of collaborative consumption. And, as the book suggests (smartly) many of the characteristics attributed to Mellinials are in fact not limited to those of that age group.

Albeit, Millennials (not unlike other generations) on paper are paradoxical. They are more interested in autonomy and at the same time very earnestly into volunteering. They are not interested in money for money’s sake but are readily acceptive and responsive to consumerist culture including advertisements. While these attributes characterize a generation they also point to shifted expectations within and throughout (emerging) consumer culture.

Below is a video with Rachel Botsman discussing the global movement of collaborative consumption.

Rachel Botsman Author and Social Innovator from theme media on Vimeo.

“I think for the last 50 years we’ve been treated as passive, stupid consumers. The idea of being consumer first citizen second is a really new idea. I mean it only kicked in post-war around 1950s. And what I think is interesting is that the objects being produced are really dumb as well. I mean they’re full of obsolescence. Actually what’s happening with technology is the objects are becoming smart and social. And we’re becoming smart and social again.”

The Rub

I have more to read and consider with this book. I’m also trying to read Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody and David Brooks’ The Social Animal. Without a doubt though, Mr. Rogers and Mrs. Botsman have a compelling book in What’s Mine is Yours.

Marketers should be put on notice: the visions outlined in this book present valuable insight as to how these new markets are forming. This book also gives evidence – if not game plans – for how these markets will be fueled by generations to come.

Google Upgrades Social Search with Clearer View of Network Connections

Last week Google officially announced their next round of updates for the Social Search feature of their search engine services. In this latest version, users will now have the option of viewing links and information from those within their network intermingled with the more traditional search results.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hAgiIXuNbs&w=560&h=349]
Google’s YouTube Video on Social Search Update

Google’s update to the service is intriguing, but as Business Insider‘s Jay Yarrow points out,…

Sounds good, but there’s one problem — Google doesn’t have data from Facebook, which is the most popular social network in the world, and the place where most people a lot of link and photo sharing.

With untold implications for the search industry Google’s move toward a ‘social engine’ is just the latest sign in a ever-increasing development, or cultivation of the digital information streaming all around us. But, now with even more social representation, Google Social Search will present us with the shared interest and the keyword specific content of our digital networks.

While the update may leave some scratching their heads it’s prompted others, like Eric Friedman to posit greater knowledge regarding Google’s ‘social view’. As he puts it in Google Social Search and Your Neighborhood Connections

I think that Social Search is in its nascent stages, and we will continue to see neighborhoods and galaxies of connections uses to create better taste menus. I think consumer reaction to such a display of connections and friend mapping will be met with initial disdain and privacy concerns, but then people will realize that Google is just providing an organized view of your publicly available interactions.

Time will unfold and bring us the longer term implications soon enough. For now, I recommend checking it out and commenting if you like.