A good while ago Jon Husband introduced me to the concept of Wirearchy. With the benefit of hindsight,
Wirearchy is an (emerging) organizing principle for this new environment in which interconnected networks of people carry out the full range of human activities, .... commerce, work, research, education, gossip, news
was a well-chosen description of it, with formal definition:
a dynamic two-way flow of power and authority based on information, knowledge, trust and credibility, enabled by interconnected people and technology
The concept of networks is nothing new, of course. Knowing people who are "in the know" has always given people a valuable advantage over others. Within my old employer's company I was part of the Architecture business unit, a true "old-boys network" where information and knowledge seemed to silently and invisibly pass through and across
But, now being self-employed for almost half a year, I can state that wirearchy really works for me. I've slowly reconnected to almost all people I've come to know in the last 15 years, and who either started or built out their own business, most of them very successful at doing so. Sources for that? LinkedIn of course, my own knowledge, Google if need be to fill some gaps (only the small ones in this case)
I'm having weekly lunches, dinners and meetings with other entrepreneurs and we exchange job and client opportunities, the state of the market, future technologies, rates and revenues almost all out in the open - and I haven't met or even contacted most in years. Just yesterday I had a fantastic dinner with people I last saw in 2003 at a project, they all started for themselves and let me pick up the large bill as a token of their appreciation. Basis for that? We "lived together" for a year and a bit more, working on the same project at the same customer for the same company, now 8 years ago
Customer contacts are reduced to a minimum, and I have an almost 1:1 ratio of contact-to-score. I haven't placed a single ad since or even before I started, didn't launch a large marketing campaign, I just bought a few domains, made a few websites and reacquainted myself with old friends - that's it.
Whatever extra customers and requests I get, I try to land within my network and vice versa, and I hardly ever sell no for an answer
Emails, DM's, SMS's and voice mails cross the line, for the international stuff there is Skype or Skype Out even, I love how I can Skype from my mobile and call for almost free any timezones up or down.
For me, it is all based on mutual relationships, credibility and trust, and my knowledge serves as information to others, and vice versa.
I would say all that flows to me for free in a natural way, and most of it is pleasurable even when it concerns tough business decisions - but I do have to put an effort into it. However, this kind of effort is "of the growing kind": I stay on top and in the loop of pretty much everything, and when a different routine appears to be needed, that direction is usually chosen fairly immediately - it is constructive, whereas having to change ways because one wasn't paying attention, is destructive
Wirearchy is here to stay, and so am I - how about you?