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« The risk of avoiding risk | Main | The best thing about equilibrium? We're never there. »
Tuesday
Jun142016

The power of simply connecting

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Why you need to get out more

About thirty years ago, my hometown, Sydney, built a monorail. It was revolutionary at the time. It connected the city to museums, an exhibition centre and a few tourist spots. Trouble was, it didn’t connect to anything else. The city’s main rail terminal was a kilometre away from the nearest stop. Nor did it venture downtown. 

Sydney is harbour city. Tourists want to go the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and their associated ranks of bars and restaurants. They’re all at Circular Quay, where trains, buses and ferries collide in a transport hub. It was easy to get there from anywhere, except by monorail. 

They pulled the monorail down last year. Many found it ugly, and ugly is not a good look in Sydney. But it failed mainly because it didn’t connect with anything. Now we’re ripping up streets to replace the tram system we scrapped in the sixties. These days we call it ‘ light rail’. Trams used to go to Circular Quay. So will the light rail.

Here we go round... 

Feedback loops often get a bad rap. We think of things like the financial crisis, where the massive interconnectedness of derivative markets meant that once someone defaulted, so did everyone else. The dominoes fell in a huge game of pass the parcel. Eventually it ended in the hands of taxpayers and left most countries deep in debt.

What about the flip side?

When I finish this blog, I’ll click once to publish it and it will go on to my website. Simultaneously it’ll go onto Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. At the same time, I’ll record it and post it to Hipcast and iTunes. A few hours later it will go to my newsletter subscribers via Mailchimp. 

My blogs are pretty much niche stuff, but those simple connections multiply my website readership up to fifty times . Occasionally, one hits a nerve and people re-post them. Then it’s thousands. All I’ve really done is click a couple of times.

Yes, I know there are plenty more channels but I haven’t got round to them. I’m a baby boomer, not a digital native.

Why it’s not just digital

We also tend to think of words like ‘viral’ as only applicable to technology. A friend runs a business in a large regional city. He produced a fifteen-second commercial showing the results of his service (mobile high pressure washing) for different clients — shops, homes, farms, manufacturers. That worked. But what changed was when he simply named the various locations beyond his city where many of those jobs were done. Now he gets feedback and orders from towns in a hundred kilometre radius. Maybe not viral in the Kardashian sense, but an enormous uplift in his business.

It’s a simple example but it shows the power of connecting with a wider market than just your immediate environment without actually doing much. He’s effectively created his own Circular Quay. How connected is yours?

Reader Comments (2)

Good to hear trams are coming back.

June 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterVanilla Cafe

Love the first cartoon!

June 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterManny S

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