Every chapter of Living Networks is being released on this blog as a free download, together with commentary and updated perspectives since its original publication in 2002.
Network Strategy for Free Agents
OVERVIEW:As the rise of the connected economy blurs organizational boundaries, the individual is increasingly becoming the center of value creation. Workers—whether they are employed or free agents—must develop and implement effective career strategies. They need to position themselves effectively in the evolving networks, and ensure they extract value from the intellectual property they create.
Chapter 10 of Living Networks – Commentary and updated perspectives
While most of Living Networks still seems to be almost as relevant as when the book was written, this chapter on the role of individuals in the network economy is particularly pertinent today.
The points that kick off the chapter are:
* Value is shifting to the knowledge worker
* Technology gives the means of production to creative and knowledge workers
* The role of the individual is far more fluid and flexible
* Work flows through connectivity and exchanges
These trends have gone considerably further since the book was written, and the final point has developed into crowdsourcing, that we explored in detail in our Future of Crowdsourcing Summit a few months ago.
What comes out of this are key recommendations of building a unique personal identity (now often referred to as personal branding), generating deep and broad networks, and adding value to the communities in which you participate. This is clearly manifest in the world of Facebook and Twitter of today.
Another aspect is managing intellectual property in a connected world. One of the most important facets is in carefully selecting between working with publishers, and publishing directly.
The core strategy I recommended, as illustrated below, was one of using open distribution to attract attention, using professional publishers to build on that through their power of distribution and promotion, and then monetizing directly after that.
I later wrote about the self-publishing strategy of David Maister, who featured in the original chapter. Seth Godin, whose approach was also described in the chapter, has since followed a similar path.
One change in my approach is that I now believe it is often better to use establishment publishers and direct distribution in parallel rather than sequentially. More on that in another post.
An important development over the last years is the explicit development of personal branding as a key theme. This is something I will be spending a lot more time looking at and writing about in the near future.
You can read or download the full chapter 10 from Living Networks below.