You are the New Economy: Meaning, Experience, and Connection as Commerce in the 21st Century

To make it really work, we might need a new indie economics (of creativity and innovation), plus a new indie set of political policies.
— Bruce Nussbaum, Fast Company Design

I’m nailing my theses to the NYSE door. This is economic Reformation.

What is the New Economy?

What Nussbaum terms “indie economics,” I call “you-centered economics.”

You are not used to being at the center of the economy. You have not been the linchpin of economic growth. You have been a mere cog in the machine. You were a commodity to be traded.

You are becoming the heart & soul of a new engine of economic growth. You are influencing giant corporations through your words & actions. You are forming microbusinesses and taking earning into your own hands. You are less dependent on “the system” and more dependent on your community.

But “you” doesn’t just mean you. You is also “the other.”

When you make business decisions, you not only think of “me,” you consider the “we.” It’s not enough to make a business decision for your own singular benefit, you make business decisions that serve others as well.

You understand that a business is nothing if it doesn’t serve a greater good. All business is social entrepreneurship, to you. All business has an obligation to create a legacy of sustainability, creativity, innovation, and service.

Businesses serve people. People do not serve businesses.

Global is the new local.

Indie economy is local. They are small scale. They are built on relationships, trust, and mutual appreciation. They find power in the individual and growth in the community.

Indie economy is global. Communities are no longer limited to location. Convenience is no longer defined by how quickly you can get there in your car. Accessibility is no longer constricted by long-distance phone calls and postage stamps.

Businesses operating in the You-centered Economy realize that community is connected through values, purpose, and affinity. What we have in common is more important than where we live. The internet is a tool for intimacy and connection not a weapon of anonymity.

Local economies have gone global. Global economies are local.

Are you a member of the Entrepreneurial Generation?

Today’s ideal social form is not the commune or the movement or even the individual creator as such; it’s the small business. Every artistic or moral aspiration — music, food, good works, what have you — is expressed in those terms.
— William Deresiewicz, New York Times

This generation – defined again by affinity and not by year of birth – is attracted to small business as our chief medium of expression. Entrepreneurship is a manifestation of the commerce culture we grew up in, heightened by an ever-increasing accessibility to the engines of that commerce.

Entrepreneurs are not just salesmen. We see entrepreneurs as innovators (bringing us one step closer to the realm of science fiction), beacons of hope (business brings change – for good or bad), and a key check in a system that is increasingly without checks.

By becoming entrepreneurs, we’re inserting ourselves in a system that we don’t fully understand – because we crave the connection. We crave the understanding. We crave a different way.

It’s not that we hate consumption – it’s that we hate what consumption looks like now. It’s not that we hate big business – it’s that we hate what big business looks like now.

The Entrepreneurial Generation is one that still has hope – despite college loan debt and a poor economy. We have hope that we are a part of the change.

Entrepreneurs are artists, reformers, saints, and scientists. We are innovators, communicators, leaders, and visionaries. We are attracted to business not because it is business but because of what business allows us to accomplish, how it allows us to express ourselves. Click to tweet it!

It’s the fierce ideals & vision of this kind of entrepreneur – paired with infinite accessibility to communication – that are propelling her & her generation towards affluence.

The bellwethers of a New Economy entrepreneur…

New Economy entrepreneurs are always looking for the triple bottom line: profit, people, planet. They believe individualism can coexist with collectivism. That sustainability can coexist with growth.

New Economy entrepreneurs value themselves and the work that they do. They are so over the romantic notion of the starving artist. They set prices and work in business models that reflect a desire for quality over quantity. They understand just how special their product or service is in the lives of those they serve.

New Economy entrepreneurs seek purpose & meaning in everything they do. Instead of asking themselves “What?” they ask “Why?” Instead of seeking to fill a need, they seek to create an experience.

New Economy entrepreneurs pursue mistakes. Why play it safe when you can challenge yourself? Why default to status quo when you can invent a new standard?

New Economy entrepreneurs are more interested in what they don’t know than what they do. Business is a learning opportunity. Customer service is an education. Sales is scholarship.

New Economy entrepreneurs embrace the quirks of a niche. They’re not in the people-pleasing business. They’re in the right-people-pleasing business. They don’t walk on the eggshells of the mass market. They look for ways to crack all the right eggs. They invite others to crack eggs with them. Mostly from free-range chickens.

New Economy entrepreneurs understand that there are infinite choices. There is no such thing as competition in the New Economy, only opportunities for differentiation.

Towards a Connected Economy

Why now? The sense of disconnection has reached a boiling point.

The average consumer is tired of being thought of as a wallet to be put to use by government policy, big business, and corporate fat cats. It’s a system based on disconnecting us from our humanity.

We crave the connection – with ourselves and with each other. We crave control. But, ultimately, we crave our divine creative power.

As we reconnect with our creative power – as artists, makers, developers, writers, philosophers, designers… – we have discovered the need for critical selling. Critical selling is the process by which we examine our output in the marketplace. It connects our humanity with others. And it does so in the universal language of our times: money.

This is the You-Centered Economy. This is the commerce of connection, meaning, and experience. This is how you & I do business. Click to tweet it!