Last night I met my family for dinner at a popular but unusually empty
Cambridge restaurant. Earlier in the day the
government announced another 651,000 jobs lost, and there was a
lot of dire economic language around the table: "complete collapse,"
"breadlines," "16% unemployment."
It was a bleak conversation,
but I think there are economic snow drops appearing this spring — signs of new, different
WhiteHouse.gov — Our president is speaking to us
directly. You don't have to be part of the establishment to get
unfiltered information from the government. Everybody has equal, if not
Best of all, there's a growing expectation of such transparency. With the White House blogging, we increasingly expect corporations, non-profits and branches of government to do the same.
Twitter — Conversation is public and connected. This
puts everybody on equal footing. You don't have to live in Silicon
Valley to know what the most successful entrepreneurs of our time are
thinking. They tell you publicly. Companies with tons
of money have a harder time selling their bad products, and companies
with far less money can sell good ones.
HubSpot — Marketing budgets are no
longer barriers to entry. It used to be that if you had a promising
new business, you had to spend tons of money to get your message out
and build scale. Now you don't have to do that. Anybody with a quality product or
service can use inbound marketing and a simple set of tools to compete
with the big guys. (Check out this marketing roi page for two studies
that spell this out analytically.)
These stories are all
exciting because they're giving creative individuals power — power that is being use to solve
problems, to remake industries like transportation, apparel, and finance
and, slowly, to rebuild our economy.