Pulitzer prize winning journalist Thomas Friedman wrote an op-ed in the New York Times titled Average Is Over, Part II where he explains the state of America’s education system and it’s slow slide to the middle.
Friedman’s point that being average will not cut it in today’s new economy. Advances in technology, communication, robotics, etc have opened up the whole world’s talent base for the hiring. Gone are the days when people could have an average job and live an average life. The ability to tap the above-average employees, talent and programming from EVERYWHERE means companies no longer have to settle for average.
Seth Godin, marketing guru and award-winning author, brings this idea into focus on a personal level in this article for Business Insider titled “If You’re An Average Worker, You’re Going Straight To The Bottom.” Godin points out that in the post industrial economy if you haven’t made yourself special in some way then “never mind the race to the top, you’ll be racing to the bottom.”
These articles are both parts of an idea I’ve been struggling to get a handle on for a while now. I see it everywhere in business, education and even entertainment. Pitching to the middle is not going to be an effective strategy in almost any endeavor anymore. The most successful models for business, education, entertainment and health care will be the organizations that can deliver the most personalized service and/or products for their users.