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Running on Empty | in over your head

October 1, 2010

Running on Empty

When you are building up an asset, you’re either spending time or cash.

Renovating a house requires either your handiwork or someone else’s. Getting a charity off the ground requires legwork or funding. Often a combination of both is required. Sometimes you have more of one than the other, or you have no choice which to use.

But somewhere along the lines of industry, digital, and social, things broke down.

You can pay someone to tweet for you, but consistent participation is expensive and doesn’t work very well if it’s outsourced. Being clever is hard (impossible?) to pay for, but personality plays such an important role that often, it’s best just to do it yourself. You can’t pay to keep passion going, either; instead, it often gets snuffed out just as you’re trying to encourage it by paying for it.

Now, the web might be one of the only places where spending time trumps money. If you don’t care, you’ll drop out. If you get paid, you’ll phone it in. The only thing that will make the grade is to really care about it– only if it’s your ass on the line will you really be able to put in the time. It’s the only reason you’ll care enough to compete.

If it’s just a job, others will out-sweat you. And sweat is what built the web.

10 years ago, the web was expensive, or complex, to work on. Now, infrastructure is in place, so it’s easy. The only remaining factor, the one that can’t be bought or commoditized, is the human one.

Robots will get faster. Information will get faster. But human will stay human. That is why you must put your effort there.

I could be wrong, but don’t bet on it.

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