Funny Business: The Paradoxical Nature of Business Success

I know I’m probably giving my 11 regular readers (as opposed
to you irregular ones – ed.) whiplash by breaking one of the 10
rules of blogs by not focusing on only one topic. But hey, that’s
the way my mind works. I’m interested in all kinds of things (and
he can’t avoid talking about them – ed.).

So I was surfing the ‘net reading that preeminent
business commentator Robert Scoble
and came upon a link
to the Dilbert Blog
. From there, I followed a link to
a cartoon called “Pearls Before Swine.”
The cartoonist uses
the metaphor of animals and their stereotypical characteristics
(e.g., rats are, well, ratty) to make social comments that are
funny and insightful. For example,
this panel with a crocodile
made me laugh. Then think about
how sometimes people end up in the jobs they have.

Getting back to Mr.Scoble, he may have hit on one of the major
paradoxical truths of successful businesses in
Robert Scoble’s post on, among other things, Google
. The
truth? That if you focus only on making money, you won’t make as
much as if you focus on making stuff that people want to use and
are therefore eventually willing to pay money for. In
the case of Google Maps, the primary customer may not even be the
average person. Perhaps the money is on the cool applications
that can be built on top of Google’s Maps. But there is no way
even Google can predict which types of applications would work
well. So, the genius of Google is in creating the infrastructure
that developers then use to create their own applications which
fill a need and by doing so, creates oodles of money for Google.
It may sound like the same thing, but it’s not. Deciphering the
difference is the difference between being fabulously successful
and wondering what happened to your job.


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