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Posts tagged with ‘depth’

I’ve Given Up On Balance. I’m Going For Depth Instead.

Perhaps it’s the end of the year that’s causing so much self reflection, so much concern about work/life balance, about information overload, about obsessive checking of our twitter feeds, about the value of disconnecting. Yesterday it was Daniele Fiandaca and Brad Feld, today, Nilofer Merchant.

In a fragmented world, go deep - Nilofer Merchant

It’s a fragmented world. And it’s only becoming more so. It used to be that when people wrote, they wrote more deeply. In the early days of the web (pre-twitter), I remember hand picking the few voices I would listen to and then putting them into my RSS feeder and checking for their essays. Essays, not tweets, were the way we shared what we were thinking. But as “content” has become more important to maintain a standing online, more and more people are entering into the fray. More and more people who may not even have a point of view to advocate but just want to participate in the conversation.

As content becomes more fragmented, you could try and compete with that by doing more and more, by curating other people’s content, by then running your content through Twylah, by having that “twitter magazine” come out which puts all your tweets and links in one place so that people can catch it if they missed each particular one.

Or you could do the opposite. You could go deep. You could be that voice that everyone listens to because when it speaks, it is so deep and rich that it’s worth slowing down to listen to. 

Or, perhaps more importantly, you could chose to follow others who you think have gone deep.

As I said yesterday: Choosing who to follow is the single most important act in a connected world.

In a post from December 2010, I wrote 

I have said for years that I’ve given up on finding a balance in life, I’m going for depth instead. But it’s not really the case. It’s just that I am looking for something larger.


Instead, consider the contour of a well-ordered humanism laid out by Claude Levi-Strauss:

A well-ordered humanism does not begin with itself, but puts things back in their place. It puts the world before life, life before man, and the respect of others before love of self.

So, for me, balance can’t be self-centered, it must be world-centered.

So I seek out people that consider that as a balanced mindset, and who go deep with that as their polestar, as a guide.

In our view, firms wishing to disrupt the Gartner and Forrester models must have two particular attributes. First, they need a significant differentiator. It can be in specialization, the business model, service delivery or other areas. Equally importantly, they must be able to scale. That means substantial funding, an effective sales operation, well-honed M&A skills, or a combination of all three.

One of the potential differentiators getting attention lately is “open source research.” In theory, it follows the open source software model: research is developed openly and collaboratively with a marketplace and published under a Creative Commons license. Benefits include lowering research costs while driving consulting and other revenues. Challenges include quality control and the prerequisite of building a large and engaged community of collaborators that will be equally accessible to competing Advisory firms.

- Barbara French and Gideon Gartner, Advisory Industry Competition: Pushing Past ‘Business as Usual’ (Part 2)

I think the key factor in microadvisory firms will be narrow focus. In my case, for example, I exclusively focus on social technologies, and as a result I can remain deeply aware of what’s happening in that (growing) niche. Others will track mobile, or enterprise software, or CRM.

This allows a different sort of scale — not breadth but depth.

As I said a few years ago, ‘I am giving up on balance, I am going for depth instead.’

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