The old idea was that “all men are created equal”. Well, this is still true. But not in every sense. We are not all equal in our capacity to add value. Some folks are very good at this. Others actually destroy value. So, in our “job markets” we constantly look for folks who we think will add lots of value and say “so long” to folks who we think will not.
This way of thinking is starting to extend a bit further. And this “further” relates to whether folks are “in tune” with value propositions as they evolve. Some folks are very good at creating value within a given system. But they have zero interest in change. Think of highly skills buggy whip makers at the dawn of the automobile age. See the problem? These folks were great to work with. But they are less likely to be great to talk with about what is coming next. Perhaps this is why kids have been so successful in tech, while older fuddy duddies (like me) have been less so. These kids are interested in change. They see next steps that the rest of us do not.
This observation is morphing into a networking principle. Most of the value that will emerge from a network will come from a very small percentage of people in the network. Some put it like this – 80% of the value added will come from 20% of the people involved. An adaption of the old Pareto Principle.
This is pretty important if you are on the lookout for what is next. First, it means that most of the people who are in your networks will not help you. Second, it means you need pretty powerful tools to identify and connect with those who will. As we rely more on digital networks, we are likely to see more platforms that help us sort out “who is who”. That will be interesting.