The 21st Century Industrialist Is Not a Capitalist
Day 4 of 21 days with Chuck’s new book, Why Employees Are ALWAYS a Bad Idea
The 21st century Industrialist is one of the core business diseases to come out of the Industrial Age. “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful; that’s what matters to me.” – Steve Jobs
People who hate business think that Wall Street and all it’s excesses, actually represents capitalism, and therefore hate Capitalists. Capitalists want to do “something wonderful”. But Wall Street and most of the Bigs of today are not Capitalists at all. They are just old-fashioned Industrialists running smokeless, digital factories. I’m a fire breathing, rabid Capitalist who wants to do something wonderful. I can’t find anything in common with either the Industrialists of the 1800s or those of today that masquerade as Capitalists.
Attributes of the 21st century Industrialist
Following are six distinct attributes of a 21st century Industrialist that separate them from traditional Capitalists who are focused on doing something wonderful.
Attribute #1 – Being Big vs. Being Great
Being big, not being great, was the primary driving force behind the famous Industrialists of the 1800s. 21st century Industrialists like Microsoft, GM, the publishing industry, and most banks assume it is the holy grail of business. For them, being big trumps being great.
Attribute #2 – Closed Markets
The Industrialist’s goal was not to be the best, but to destroy everyone else in a zero sum game of dog eat dog. The modern day 21st century Industrialist works hard alongside politicians to keep the markets closed to small newcomers.
Attribute #3 – Resistance to Progress – Status Quo
Industrialists are brilliant at squeezing the last dollar of profit out of the present market, and are unparalleled at doing so. But this massive investment in legacy systems make it very difficult to adapt and move forward in a fast-paced world. The constantly changing world threatens the Industrialist’s dominance, and puts them at an extreme disadvantage to newcomers. Progress is the enemy of the Industrialist. The status quo is their friend.
Attribute #4 – Users, Not Creators – The Cash Cow Rule
Industrialists rarely create, invent or innovate. They are users of existing products, services, sectors and industries in order to gain power for themselves. They look around for proven winners that can be controlled and spun up to great efficiencies, with bigger opportunities to dominate and be powerful. It’s about building a cash cow, not creating or innovating.
Attribute #5 – Focus on the Competitor (Destroy, Mimic, or Buy)
Industrialists worry a lot about what the other guy is doing, because the other guy could end up creating something that will take market share away from their fiefdom. Instead of focusing on being more creative, they work to destroy, mimic of buy those who might threaten their control.
Attribute #6 – Short-Term Decision Making
Businesses controlled by investors make almost all of their decisions based on what is good for the company’s quarterly report, even if it hurts them in the long run, which it usually does.
Industrialists Are Not Capitalists
Let’s stop lumping Capitalism in with industrialism. Instead, let’s identify which companies are embracing 21st century Industrialism for their own short term gain, and which ones are focused on building sustainable companies that Make Meaning in the world around them, for the benefit of everyone in the process.
This is a summary of a chapter of Chuck’s new book, “Why Employees Are ALWAYS a Bad Idea (And Other Business Diseases of the Industrial Age)”. Click here to pre-order this new ground breaking book at a discount on IndieGoGo.com until July 28.