Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What is Cutting Edge?

So many people use terminology like "cutting edge" to describe their new business these days, but what really is cutting edge?

It was not so long ago that getting a job in any kind of office meant men wearing suits, ties and short haircuts to work, women wearing dresses or skirts and heels. I always felt it was uncomfortable and absurd to insist on dressing in a suit and tie when it was 90 or 100 degrees outside.

What I see as real cutting edge is the use of computers to enable more people to have their own business. You can dress how you like, communicate with customers wherever you are thanks to the cell phone and laptop. Remember when if you were in sales or some other job that required you to leave your office to do part of your work, and you had to keep change in your pocket and look for cell phones to call customers back or call your office? Now, it is noteworthy when I do see a pay phone.

The web is the real cutting edge. You can present your self and your business however you see fit, and you can change your web page every day if you want. Where we used to type letters and mail them, we can now email someone and get a response within minutes, or the same day.

We can post our writing, our art, our music online for everyone to experience and enjoy without needing the official representation of an agent, although real life agents can help open other doors for us.

Many of the wonderful healing modalities that people offer now are not new at all, rather just that many people have a new level of appreciation of old modalities such as herbalism, aromatherapy, massage, meditation, sound therapy, shamanic healing, psychic readings, dream interpretation and energy healing.

After a century of ignoring all these things in favor of drugs and surgery, we are willing to reconsider these ancient methods. And of course, drugs and surgery are often the best or only course of action for some problems, but the traditional ways can work for a lot of other things.

I was surprised the other day to be driving in my car, listening to the radio and hearing and advertisement for a medical marijuana dispensary. Surprised, but not really. It was just a matter of when.

Anyone who knows the history of this issue knows that it was all politics that made it illegal in the first place, same as the prohibition against alcoholic beverages. The ban on marijuana was just as futile as the ban on beer. It was inevitable that it would become legal again. In spite of the billions of dollars wasted on hiring more police and purchasing all kinds of equipment, there are more smokers now than there used to be, not less. Just like people refused to quit drinking beer when it became illegal. So it is not completely legal yet, but we are stepping in that direction. It is nothing but stubbornness on the part of politicians that keeps the new prohibition on the books. It will end completely one day. We are already moving in that direction.

The web helped inform people about medical marijuana and gave people ways to motivate voters. Marijuana itself it not new. Ancient people were using that too. The legal dispensaries are now able to use the web to connect with customers. These are the parts that are new.

Perhaps the prohibition on beer and alcoholic beverages would have ended sooner had there been computers and internet back then. Perhaps. Perhaps stubborn politicians would have insisted on denying reality for years after it was apparent then too. It is just their nature. Remember the Emporer's New Clothes?

The web makes it possible for like minded people to meet without leaving home. The web makes it possible to do the kind of research that used to require a trip to the library. Of course, there is definitely something to be said for getting out of the house and interacting with real people.

So what is really cutting edge? The methods of communication we now have. The content of what we are doing is really timeless in most ways. Styles cause the actual presentation of messages to be different, but what is inside the message is familiar. Cell phones and laptops have changed communication as much as cars and aircraft have changed travel, only faster.

What is important is not really so much about what is new. It is really about what works.

1 comment:

Jordan said...

I full-on dig the way you think! Leading edge? Bleeding edge? Still people at the edge of experience, and I most often raise an eyebrow when I hear either of those phrases used. Feels to be a marketing hook not too evolved from "Look Mom, watch me dive!", except with the caveat of "...& buy this!"

Thank you wholeheartedly for this post! You make a grand expression of how things really haven't changed, except that technology, a toothpick after dinner basically, facilitates people having the ability to create, make, and tailor their business and business experience in just the way that is fitting for them. . .and keep in touch with clients and friends that much more easily. Thanks for your post, Dan!