There is a lot of talk about innovation and entrepreneuralism. Most of it tends to focus on "business models". For many, the most difficult part of all this is actually making a sale and generating revenue. When you are offering something new or trying to do things in new ways, generating sales is a complex challenge. Especialy if you are dealing with with immaterial value.
So how does this work? Or rather, how can we learn to do this together here?
I guess part of it comes down to being in the game long enough so that when prospective customers research you, you have had time to leave enough positive traces about you online and in personal relationships so it's clear you really exist, are cool, and do good work. Let's call this building presence and social capital. I'm guessing that in part it's a numbers game where you need to reach very very many different people, and make it easy for them to understand what you have to offer and give them a choice of ways in which they can make use of, and pay for it. Let's call this driving sales. Politics and policy, social norms and expectations around work, meaning and value of course play into this, but they deservere a separate discussion so I am not going to get into them here.
This stuff is hard, resource-intensive, takes a lot of experimentation and learning from experience. But if we crack it, it opens a completely different range of possibilities for getting important initiatives off the ground and keeping them there. Not just for ourselves and this community but for so many others struggling to keep afloat while doing meaningful work. And there is so much space for getting creative and breaking new ground here together. Which I think makes it a great challenge to take on together.
There are many things we can do as members of a large and growing international community of individuals with a diverse range of skills and interests from cryptography to urban farming. Things which are more difficult to achieve as individuals trying to act alone. One of them is building new ways to making a living in a networked society. So how could we use the fact that Edgeryders is now a registered organisation to generate paid work opportunities for ourselves and one another? There is really only one way to figure this out. By trying, learning and getting better at it together! Let's call this a p2p course on making a living on the edge in which every participant is both a learner and a teacher. And use #maledge to coordinate our efforts.
The ideal would be to mix theory with practice, in meeting real challengers together. I suggest we do a weekly google hangout, every weekend on Edgeryders always-open community call channel between now and #LOTE3 (pick a time that works for you). During the call we take on one of the challenges in the list below and invite people to it who can share their experiences or give relevant advice. We end the call with a specific goal to be achieved together by the next week. Some suggested challenges we could take on, feel free to add your own:
- Challenge #1: Surfacing the prospective customers
- Challenge #2: Building and managing a sales oriented relationships effectively
- Challenge #3: Creating relevant contexts that you're geniunely excited about
- Challenge #4: Presenting options to choose from for working together
- Challenge #5: Getting word of what you have to offer out to many people
- Challenge #5: Learning to get better and teaching others
Where does all of this go? By the end of the process we will end up knowing more about how to do make a living in a networked society. Depending on the interest of the participants, we could build a session at #LOTE3 in which we, together, tweak the Edgeryders platform and communication according to the results of this process to make it better suited to generating revenue for community members work. And summarise our learning into this how-to wiki to share with members of our respective communities to help make ourselves more resilient together.
The more we know about one another, the more effective we're going to be in supporting one another's learning journey. Sign up by leaving a comment below introducing yourself, and what skills you personally want to develop by engaging in this process.