Friday, November 25, 2005

Funky business

Funkybusiness This is definitely an interesting book to read. The authors convincingly outline the dynamics of today's economy as it edges closer to a market driven, knowledge hungry space shaped by the combined forces of cooperation and smart competition, where you and I are freelance agents, autonomous companies, brands. Me Inc. as the authors like Tom Peters claim. And Me Inc. has to be a brand that generates powerful positive emotions. Me Inc. must be an experience customers love.

On the negative side of the book: the extremism of the authors in making their case of a society of individuals who are fully in charge of their fate and who "are what they do", who "are their projects", who "are their contracts".  It does make sense to question the ways in which labour relations, contracts, business deals, employer-employee dynamics were organized for the industrial age. However, that does not necessarily mean that welfare systems should disappear or that as a society we should stop caring for those of us who are impaired temporarily or permanently to take care of their interests alone. In addition to that, as an NLP practitioner I have hard time accepting that people can ever be what they do. A projet, a professional activity, human behaviour are not tantamount to identity. And while I agree that our jobs will be more and more project based, temporary, uncertain, changing and defined by the benefits they bring to the customer, I think there is a way to be passionate, committed, valuable to a project, loved by the customer and to have tons of fun without necessarily reducing the extreme and unique beauty of the individual to that individual's activity.

There are a few other things in the book I feel skeptical about, like for example the assertion that the role of Government is more or less irrelevant, that the nation state's ability to influence events is more or less negligible and the creation of an elusive factor called "the forces of funk" to justify phenomena that would be worth studying.

Overall though it is an excellent read and good food for thought that should be a good introduction to the Information Age and the knowledge economy.

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