Gini Dietrich

A New and Prosperous Economy

By: Gini Dietrich | August 23, 2011 | 
139

“We’re not going to have a jobless recovery. We’re going to have a jobless future.” – Jeff Jarvis, author of “What Would Google Do?”

It’s been said the Industrial Revolution is now complete as technology begins to replace the jobs that were created for people to run the machines.

Some have said we’re entering an intellectual property revolution, which makes sense with the Google purchase of Motorola Mobility.

Or perhaps it’s more a service-focused era where the jobs no longer run things, but provide expertise.

Regardless, Jarvis is right: Our jobs aren’t coming back.

Take, for instance, the book industry. Amazon began to kill retail bookstores, first by giving us online book buying and then the Kindle, and Apple finished the job with the iPad. Those jobs will never come back. No matter what happens to the economy, jobs for retail book salespeople will not reappear.

And the newspaper industry? With sales declining, advertising nearly non-existent, and everyone moving their subscriptions online, the jobs of the printers, the distributors, and the carriers will never reappear.

What about the jobs that created 8-tracks, then cassette tapes, and then CDs? Gone.

Technology, social media, and the web, in general, are creating a new revolution for us, yet a good majority of leaders are still doing business the way it’s always been done. Is it hope that the economy will recover and the things that made us successful in the past will, once again, work?

Hope is not a strategy.

Is there too much change and instability, what with the Great Recession and then the debt ceiling debate and then the S&P downgrade and then a continuous slide of the stock market that makes us want to hold on to what we know and not change?

Not changing is not a strategy.

I spend a good amount of my time traveling the country, talking with business leaders about using the web for growth. Do you know how often I hear “My customer isn’t on the Internet”? Every time.

Do you know how often I hear, “I have to close business by looking in the eyeballs of my client”? Every time.

Do you know how often I hear, “My customer isn’t a 20 year old so they’re not using social media”? Every time.

These are the same people who are hoping things will rebound to where they were or that they’ll retire before technology really has to be implemented into their companies.

But guess what? It’s not going to rebound. The jobs aren’t going to reappear. The way you’ve always done things is not going to work.

It’s our jobs, as business leaders to create jobs from something that doesn’t, right now, exist, so we can form a new and  prosperous economy.

Otherwise Jarvis is right: We’ll have a jobless future.

This first ran as my weekly column in Crain’s, the Chicago business journal.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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139 Comments on "A New and Prosperous Economy"

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faybiz
4 years 11 months ago

Can I call you Cassandra?

BestRoofer
BestRoofer
4 years 11 months ago

I think that this is a great post Gini. Please put it up on the Vistage LinkedIn forum. We have great leaders there who need to start getting this. Demographics are coming into play as well. The baby boomers are going to be very heavy weight on society.

KenMueller
4 years 11 months ago
This is something I’ve been thinking about recently, and even wrote about a few weeks ago on my blog. And the fact is, we have no clue what the future hold. Somewhere down the line something will come along that kills Amazon, and does what they do, but better. And more efficiently. And while the jobs aren’t coming back, I see an interesting thing happening in our communities, particularly on the local level, and I’m evidence of this. More and more people who have lost their jobs, or left their jobs, are going into business for themselves. Sole proprietorships and… Read more »
John_Trader1
John_Trader1
4 years 11 months ago
Not embracing the economic paradigm shift into the digital age is definitely a short-sighted view that will prove to continue crippling many businesses Gini, you are absolutely right. Regarding job growth (in tech specifically), I read an interesting article in Forbes last week: http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/08/17/why-amazon-cant-make-a-kindle-in-the-usa/ that takes an interesting look at why Amazon can’t make a Kindle in the US and other observations including how focus on short term profits (among other variables) stifles innovation which is arguably the only true way that our economy can manufacture the job growth that we need to snap out of the pit we are… Read more »
BTRIPP
BTRIPP
4 years 11 months ago

I’m always amazed when I hear folks saying “My customer isn’t a 20 year old so they’re not …” – my late Mother was in her 80’s and spending 4-6 hours on line a day the better part of a decade ago. My guess is that the people with those attitudes are afraid of technology and dismissive of it (and its penetration through all demographics) so as not to have to interface with it.

SocialSavvyGeek
SocialSavvyGeek
4 years 11 months ago

Can I just say, “Exactly!”. I run into those same people, too. A few years back Nestle closed a factory in Syracuse, NY and offered computer training to it’s former employees so they would have a better chance of finding a new job. Something like 3 of 300 took them up on it; the rest just complained about their job going away and sat around collecting unemployment waiting for jobs that are NEVER coming back…

JohnLeavy
JohnLeavy
4 years 11 months ago
I think this jobs subject is being looked at one-sidedly. Yes, the brick layers that put down our cobble stone streets are gone as are the wheelwrights. But jobs are not being lost they’re being transferred. Everyone that is unemployed today had better get a copy of Who Moved My Cheese and come back to reality. Yes, some manufacturing jobs are being lost…mostly replaced by technology jobs like the ones we have. Who would have thought someone could start their own company on a shoestring budget. Computers, phones, software could not be cheaper. I was around the technology industry when… Read more »
fitzternet
4 years 11 months ago

@KenMueller “More and more people who have lost their jobs, or left their jobs, are going into business for themselves. Sole proprietorships and LLCs. More independent, freelance business people. It’s becoming the norm.”

Exactly. That’s what sets America apart from the rest of the world. Much easier to do that here than, say, Europe. Much less red tape and much more room for growth.

fitzternet
4 years 11 months ago

There was a post on Simply Zesty about how the next phase of social media will be getting companies to buy-in on an organizational level.Social should be a marketing tool, but it could be so much more than that. I mean, it HAS to happen at some point. Like you said, technology won’t reverse itself. This stuff ain’t going away.

It all comes down to corporate buy-in on an organizational, not departmental, level. At least that’s how I see it.

Great post, Gini!

glenn_ferrell
glenn_ferrell
4 years 11 months ago

I always conjure up a picture of this customer who is not on the internet and doesn’t use social media. A dimly-lit (smoke-filled) room. A calendar (with a Rita Hayworth look-alike in a tool belt) hung on a nail on the wall. Gun-metal gray desks with scarred brown tops. Rotary dial phones. Stacks of Thomas Register volumes everywhere. People digging through folding suspense files and in-boxes to figure out what to do next. A secretarial typing pool, with IBM Selectrics, transcribing hand-written drafts (with a 3 day turnaround time).

Collectual
4 years 11 months ago
Great thought-provoking post! You’re right. There can be resistance to adopting new ways/technologies for doing business, sometimes even within ‘new economy’ industries, like social media. I think it’s less the “newness” of the technology or idea and simply individuals being unable or unsure of how to adapt. In today’s case, the speed of disruption – loss of jobs – is outpacing our abilities to reinvent and reinvigorate our economy. I guess the big question for me is how do we address people’s underlying fear of change, so that businesses are willing to give something new a try so we can… Read more »
wabbitoid
4 years 11 months ago
Welcome to my world. What I’ve been saying on this topic (for about 4 years now!) is that this is a very unique situation – one that I am convinced will eventually be referred to in history books as a Depression, not a Recession. In this rare but not unique situation, recover is not an event but a process. We’re in the middle of a complete restructuring and no one can tell us just what the next economy will look like. We can make a few guesses, however, as to what it will look like and what we will have… Read more »
JoyFull_deb
JoyFull_deb
4 years 11 months ago
@KenMueller Exactly, Ken. I don’t think BIG business is going to create the jobs we as a society need to move forward. I believe it’s up to the small business owner to create & sustain jobs moving forward. It’s not rocket science. We can’t wait on the Feds to provide opportunities for growth, or we’ll be waiting until my hair turns all gray….which could be awhile. 🙂 Folks w/o jobs need to up their skill sets & think “out the box.” Of course, easy for me to say….harder when you have no job & don’t know which road to take.… Read more »
JoyFull_deb
JoyFull_deb
4 years 11 months ago

@BestRoofer I’m one of those baby boomers….y’all better take care of me. 🙂

JoyFull_deb
JoyFull_deb
4 years 11 months ago

@BestRoofer I’m one of those baby boomers….y’all better take care of me. 🙂

JoyFull_deb
JoyFull_deb
4 years 11 months ago

@BestRoofer I’m one of those baby boomers….y’all better take care of me. 🙂

Tinu
4 years 11 months ago
Very true. And isn’t it amazing that things we think are obvious really aren’t to most people? What I worry is that there will be one lone area where jobs will appear and people will mistake that for job growth – an area like robotics or genetics. It’s time for US to change, not just as individuals but as a society. People lived and thrived before the industrial revolution, and now we can do it without being in want for the basics for survival. There’s just so much fear out there about things changing. But things will change whether we… Read more »
Tinu
4 years 11 months ago

@JohnLeavy I think you’re right up to a point, lots of jobs are being shifted. But what is different than before is that 1- some of those jobs are being shifted to robots or computers, not other people and 2- some of the new jobs being created are above the ability of the people who used to do the old version. Good book suggestion.

Tinu
4 years 11 months ago

YES! My grandmother’s cell phone was fancier than mine when I visited her – in AFRICA. She’s 86. Big mistake to think the boomers and Westerners aren’t on the web when 2nd and 3rd world countries are already in the process of catching up. @BTRIPP

Tinu
4 years 11 months ago

@KenMueller Definitely. I hope that becomes the new normal – that would be a true boost.

wabbitoid
4 years 11 months ago
@JoyFull_deb@KenMueller The leadership will have to come from the bottom up in a Restructuring, which is why loose capital is so important. However, a credit bubble is what made this Depression in the first place, so it’s hard to know how to get started, at least before we flush out all the bad loans. Plus, investors are so scared and see nothing but risk right now, so the Fed is sitting on 1.5T$ in deposits that aren’t being loaned out to do anyone any good. So there are some policy directives from the top that can help the free market… Read more »
T60Productions
4 years 11 months ago

Good stuff Gini. I occasionally get “20 year-old” argument myself… which is why this story today from eMarketer.com peaked my interest.

http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1008554

–Tony Gnau

KenMueller
4 years 11 months ago

@wabbitoid@JoyFull_deb Hopefully the government will get on board and treat us the way they treat the big corporations!

Corianda
Corianda
4 years 11 months ago

Makes me thankful I’m a 20-something-year-old that grew up with it, but I also like to think I’m a 20-something that pays attention to these elders who understand business, personal relationships, and good-old elbow grease. That’s the disconnect: “older” people with lessons to teach, and young people who understand the new, but not the old.

Corianda
Corianda
4 years 11 months ago

Makes me thankful I’m a 20-something-year-old that grew up with it, but I also like to think I’m a 20-something that pays attention to these elders who understand business, personal relationships, and good-old elbow grease. That’s the disconnect: “older” people with lessons to teach, and young people who understand the new, but not the old.

saracorinne
saracorinne
4 years 11 months ago
Great post! I completely agree that we can’t worry about jobs lost and must focus on creating new. I remember being told as a child that my future jobs were probably not even created yet and they were right. I grew up never really knowing what I’d end up doing but hopeful and confident that my skills would be useful. Even with my English Lit degree, I keep finding opportunities beyond teaching which many considered would be my fate. I truly feel like the only limit to my career possibilites are me not being willing to push outside my comfort… Read more »
KDillabough
4 years 11 months ago

Gini, this is an awesome post, and I couldn’t help but think of the most amazing presentation by Sir Ken Robinson at TED, where he said:

“We have no idea what’s going to happen” in terms of the future, and how we’re “educating” people for jobs that won’t exist. I just had to refer to the link here: it’s one of the finest 20 minutes you could spend, and so supports the idea that we could, if we don’t change, have a “jobless future”.

http://youtu.be/iG9CE55wbtY

Cheers! Kaarina

Al Smith
4 years 11 months ago

Thanks for the reality check, Gini. just the facts, Mam.

You know, when I first starting reading, i was like, hey, wait a minute here, whats with all the gloom and doom, Ms. Cycle Babe ? But, as usual, when i continued reading, it started making a whole lot of sense.

The honest and somewhat brutal truth is this; It is either, change and adapt or cease to exist. a jobless future ? Wow. Thanks again Gini.

MimiMeredith
4 years 11 months ago

Change is mightily feared. If only these businesses doing the ostrich could lift up their heads and see that it’s less about change and more about forward motion…progress…growth…all good stuff! I’m sure you feel like your pushing a noodle, but keep it up Gini. They need you more than they know!

wabbitoid
4 years 11 months ago
The big problem among our nation’s leadership – business, political, and so on – has been denial. There was evidence of a serious problem as far back as 2002, and the warning bells were very loud in 2007, yet we are only now fully engaged in the problem at hand. What is important about Gini’s piece is that we are all talking about this and insisting on action. Remember Y2K? Nothing happened – because we were all aware of it and on top of it. The same sense of urgency, and then some, is the first step past the denial… Read more »
Sean McGinnis
4 years 11 months ago

Turn down the speakers – NSFW language wise.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTifdoKXoxM

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@faybiz Don’t you already have a nickname for me?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@faybiz Don’t you already have a nickname for me?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@BestRoofer Yes, sir. I’ll do it right now!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@BestRoofer Yes, sir. I’ll do it right now!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@KenMueller I agree with you. I think this is a very good thing.

faybiz
4 years 11 months ago

@ginidietrich wow, you REALLY want to go there huh?

OK, we’ll see how your predictions pan out- until then- Gertie it is

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@JoyFull_deb Big love to you!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@faybiz LOL!!

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel
4 years 11 months ago
@wabbitoid This all started in 1985 when it became more compelling to break up and sell off our manufacturing capability than it did to maintain our companies here. I was just reading a post that basically said unless we want to become an elitest state where a small group of “haves” manages a huge population of poor service workers, we need to reinvent ourselves to restore the middle class core where much of our economic and social stability was held. That middle class spent the money that filled the coffers that paid the taxes that kept things rolling. When they… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@BTRIPP I just heard some of that when I spoke today. It’s scary. And it’s hard when technology doesn’t come easily to you. One guy told me he finds too many hurdles when he uses technology. So he just doesn’t use it.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@SocialSavvyGeek OMG! Only three took advantage?!?!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@JohnLeavy You do know it’s Tuesday?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@JohnLeavy You do know it’s Tuesday?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@fitzternet I believe that, too. Whenever someone asks me where social belongs, “I say everywhere!” I don’t think just the marketing or PR department will use it. I think we’ll all use it in all of our lives. It’s already becoming apparent to those of us who work in the industry.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@glenn_ferrell I LOVE this image! Bravo!

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel
4 years 11 months ago

@JohnLeavy Agree, but our educational and political system also needs to shift to accomodate these realities.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@Collectual I agree with you about the underlying fear of change. I also think it’s being overwhelmed, not being able to keep up, and fear of having to give up control. Control…that we never had anyway.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@Collectual I agree with you about the underlying fear of change. I also think it’s being overwhelmed, not being able to keep up, and fear of having to give up control. Control…that we never had anyway.

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel
4 years 11 months ago

@KenMueller one thing we know is coming–change. this time, i think it caught a lot of folks unprepared.

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