Keeping Up With The Times

By Fatmanur Erdogan, Hurriyet Daily News (click here)

For anyone with an entrepreneurial bent, it’s important to keep up with the times. Technologies change quickly, and you should not just be aware of how they are evolving, but you should also be comfortable enough to integrate them into your own life.  Being up on the latest trends puts you ahead of the competition.  It helps you better understand the people you are managing and it equips you to design creative strategies that will fit today’s needs.  A great way to keep tabs on what’s new is to surround yourself with people who are already out in front, learning about the latest developments and making them part of their own lives.

A corporate workplace might not be the best place to do this.  Where an entrepreneurially-minded person would be fascinated by a seemingly unrelated development in another industry, many people in the ranks of corporate management would consider tracking it a waste of time. In an environment like that, where you are surrounded by people following the MBA knowledge they gained 20 years ago, your creative spirit is sure to suffocate.

One example of the corporate world’s slowness to adapt is how it handles employee access to the internet.  Many companies ban or restrict access at work, because they still think the internet is for wasting time “surfing”.  They don’t realize that might have been true 10 years ago, but today they are simply closing themselves off to the innovation that comes from tapping into an extensive source of information, inspiration, and global connectedness.

Their intention might be to make their workforces more productive, but they are just shooting themselves in the foot, holding their company cultures back while the world passes them by.  Technology is changing our lives, and there is even research suggesting it is changing our brains.  For example, according to UCLA neuroscientist Gary Small, those who use the Internet regularly in their everyday lives show twice as much activity in the brain regions responsible for decision-making and complex reasoning, compared to those who have limited Internet exposure.

Studies are also showing the tech-savvy possess greater working memory, making them better able to store and retrieve information.  They are also more adept at perceptual learning, fluidly adjusting their perception of the world in response to changing information.

Since we know technology is remapping our brain functions, we would have to be naive to still think we can continue to do business as usual.  A manager whose brain is stuck in business school 20 years ago is going to be quickly overtaken by open-minded, creative entrepreneurs who can run circles around him, figuring out how to use today’s new tools to tackle the problems that manager has been struggling with for years.

So the world is being revolutionized by people like Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Jack Dorsey of Twitter.  If you are an entrepreneur at heart, if you enjoy experimenting with new tools and finding ways to put them to use in your own world, these are the kinds of people you need to surround yourself with.

Look for people who are already using the internet for business or marketing.  Look for people who are blogging, or who know how to use the internet to keep in touch with like-minded communities spread around the globe.

You’ll find that these sort of people tend to be creative, passionate, and open to new ideas.  Their love of the adventurous search for knowledge will help you see your own ideas can make a difference, too, and that will inspire you to keep innovating.  Your spirit will be refreshed and rejuvenated every day, and your entrepreneurial ventures will thank you for it.

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