The Rules of Modern Work

Here's Your Typical Scenario

Picture this. You're at a networking conference...

You meet a new person and she asks "What's your story?" How do you share an accurate and powerful description of yourself? You can explain how busy you are, but that doesn't describe what you're building. She wouldn't know if & how she can support you.

What you want to do is clearly articulate your brand, in a way that quickly communicates to her how you're solving a real problem in the world.​

Northbound.io exists because there are new rules for succeeding at work and in life. We're in a world where you're a business owner that's operating based on your unique voice.

The New Rules of Work: A Manifesto

Creative Work Over Manual Labor

We're now in the world of creative work, rather than manual labor. Value is produced by creating new things, rather than producing more of the same things. In the past, the focus was mass production through repetitive labor. These days, automation is taking over repetitive labor, so people are expected to do things that robots can't.​

Our job now is to come up with better products specifications, not to get better at mass producing old ones.

Execution Over Ideas

The iPhone or Tesla cars are products of "complex coordination," rather than a single breakthrough. Peter Thiel describes that these successes are based on combining a lot of things to make them work. It's not one recipe of herbs and spices. You don't win just because of one secret formula.

The iPhone, as Peter Thiel described, is great because of the combination of many things done right. It's not just one dominant spec like speed or display size. It's the combination of its software, multitouch hardware, advertising, sales, distribution, and many more. 

In a world where individual successes are easily matched or overcome, you can't just have one idea that will catapult you to success. Just because you can produce touchscreen hardware doesn't mean you can ship an iPhone killer. You have to execute a complex coordination of many ideas.

Transparency Over Secrecy

For better business execution, transparency is also more available today. Since the materials for building great things are accessible to everyone, a 14 year old can launch a successful iPhone app. Without one secret sauce to make or break a business, founders and companies can be transparent with more people. Sharing their journey allows them to be better known, liked, and trusted. Beyond marketing, this helps their execution, as other people will know what specific support is relevant.

Merit Over Capital

HubSpot best described how people now shop differently, through their movement called Inbound Marketing. It used to be that the company with the largest advertising budget is the only one that can publish something in front of you. 

These days, you're reading, watching, or listening to my content because you chose it over your other options. What you consume is based on merit instead of the producer's ability to pay their way into your TV, mailbox, or billboards.

Independence & Alignment Over Being a Cog

There are three types of ownership in a business:

  1. ​Worker - owns the job
  2. Manager - owns the direction
  3. Shareholder - owns the profits

In the old world, these people were usually different. The person who owns the factory doesn't work there every day. The factory worker's compensation isn't tightly synced to the company's performance. The manager steers the direction but also doesn't own the factory job or the company's shares.

These days, it's much easier to be all three. You're more productive as a creative decision maker instead of a cog in a wheel. It's easier than ever to be a freelancer or small business owner, where you do the work and own the profits.

Not a business owner or freelancer? Employees have to be aligned more than ever. Since you're not anymore a purely obedient repetitive worker, you're expected to improvise. It's like you run a mini business inside a corporation. The only way to do this effectively is by syncing workers, managers, and stakeholders. If you aren't all three, you have to sync with others.


About the Northbound.io Journey

Northbound.io is created by @AllanCaeg. It's his way of sharing his opinions on Modern Work.

Read more about Northbound.io's journey here and about @AllanCaeg here.


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