The future of business is that the customer is the labor and the capital

The future of business is that the customer is the labor and the capital

There is a common misunderstanding about the coming automated economy that may destroy us all.

Most people in business and finance (and most people, frankly) think that the new economy (of artificial intelligence and autonomous machines) is like the old economy: satisfying customers’ needs for products and services.

That’s just not so.

The real heart of the new economy will be about helping people need each other more.

No, I’m not talking about the market for dating services. To build a new economy (and a decent, functional society), innovation must help us need each other more and in better ways… to bind us to each other. If innovations disintegrate those bonds, and decrease our mutual need we will head downhill.

When we no longer need each other, it’s all over.

In the end, we are all here for each other. Many people in the business world don’t understand that. Not that they disagree: they just don’t get it. Permit me to explain, because we can all win if we get this right.

Those leaders captaining the economy believe, legitimately, that they create the economy by selling customers needed products and services, generating the revenues that create the markets and GDPs that enable societies to endure.

An economy is indeed about satisfying customers but that’s not exactly the same as selling them products and services. Many business leaders  will say this is academic nonsense, that it’s the same thing. But by not seeing the distinction they cannot see whether they are helping or hurting the market and their customers. Plus, in that distinction lies the biggest business opportunity in history.

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