We’re making this up as we go along

I’ve spent a few hours today watching Jeff Jarvis spread his evangelical new media message to various audiences. I love everything about Jeff, from his vision to his passion for sharing it, and any time “at his feet” is well spent.

During a live hook-up with an audience in Norway, a woman asked a question in the follow-up that I want to give a couple of thoughts about, because I think it’s important. After the presentation, this woman said, “Much of what you talk about is in the abstract, and I think we want a whole lot more. Are we expecting too much of you?”

Yes, lady, you are. Jeff did a nice job handling the question, but here’s my take (because I get this a lot myself):

Media people desiring insight want a road map from those of us who are making it up as we go along. “Give me the bullet points,” is what we hear. “Show me the plan, man, especially the revenue projections for the end game (parenthetically), so I can decide if it’s worth the time and effort.”

Innovation doesn’t offer a road map, and that’s at the core of what this woman was asking Jeff. “Get away from the abstract; I want the friggin map!” I’m sorry, ma’am, but you can’t have one. Not yet anyway.

This is one of the essential problems with all “industries;” nobody wants to be the first one to revolt, because, after all, if this new idea really worked, we’d all be doing it, right? We want the new paradigm all tied in a bow, so that we can just move from one to the next. Not. Gonna. Happen.

The logic is impeccable, but this isn’t the time for logic. We’ve got to take risks, plow headlong into the chaos, and move the damned rock!

What Jeff Jarvis is doing is way out there, but I think it’s based in a right alignment with trends, and I’m surprised that some others don’t see that. The idea is to get ahead of a rapidly evolving concept, because if we don’t, the only way we’ll see downstream success is by floating above the work of others as ghosts.

We are making this up as we go along, ready at a moment’s notice to alter course but steady on the horizon of tomorrow just the same.

I’m sorry if that’s abstract, but that’s all you get.

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