It’s a question my mother asked me over the summer. She had just had some major surgery and was recovering in the hospital. The kids – were all over 30 now — bought laptop for her so she could send us emails, look at images we were sending her. She had always known how to use email but now she had a lot more time on her hands, so she wanted to look at the world beyond email. Hence the question – teach me the Internet.
My mother was looking for a users manual with step-by-step instructions on how to accomplish different tasks. We had given her such instructions to use email, so shouldn’t the entire Internet work like her car or the TV. The point of this post is not how you teach people the internet, but the fact that there actually is no way to teach people how to use the internet. Sure there are safe computing practices, but there is no step-by-step instructions – even for dummies.
You cannot teach someone the internet as things are moving too fast, new options and features come online daily if not hourly, and there is always the challenge of protecting yourself and your personal identify.
Teach me how to do Corporate Strategy in the internet era
In many ways, markets are becoming more like the Internet than ever. Global communications, trade deregulation and logistics capabilities have made all of this happen. This is a marked departure from the world of industry structures, barriers to entry and traditional sources of competitive advantage. It’s a world where the potency of those rules matter less, but there is nothing that you can really use to replace them.
That is where learning the Internet comes into play. You learn the Internet by trial and error, by asking your friends, by watching others and getting their help. That can be frustrating when you live and plan in a world of rules, but the rules are all gone and rather than searching and trying to create new rules, perhaps its best to being thinking of a world where there are few rules and markets are defined by flexible communities of interest.
That sounds like anarchy and orderly markets are a hallmark of economic development right? Perhaps, but as we more forward, enterprises are going to realize that they will need to learn more by experiment, trial and error and be ready to scale what works and move beyond what doesn’t.
Teach me the Internet, well Mom you don’t really learn the Internet you figure it out.
Teach me how to formulate strategy in dynamic markets. Sure as soon as you show me the step-by-step instructions that define the web.
Time to start learning because learning fast is now the source of sustainable advantage.