October 24, 2014

What’s Ahead in Our Brave New Cyberworld

Manga - latest trend from JapanI found Anita’s recent blog entry on spotting trends fascinating. One key point she made was that she is not necessarily interested in trends in general. Rather, she becomes interested when trends start affecting small businesses.

My interest has always been to track trends before they affect us. I like to be way out in front, and that’s why I follow closely anything that has to do with global small business trends.

For example, when blogs burst onto the cyberspace scene, I knew it would be huge (and so did Anita!). I could tell by the number of folks setting them up — in 2004 there were about 400,000 blogs and now there are more than 73 million — and the way in which people expressed themselves. It made me rethink my all-time favorite Madonna song, “Express Yourself,” and just how on-target she was about that concept back in the late eighties. Just think what she could have accomplished if she’d had YouTube back then!

Suddenly, thanks to all the Internet tools, our world has changed because technology lets us do just about anything in front of everybody on the planet. For example, we no longer have to rely on the media to feed us news. Instead, we can rely on the collective genius of a select group of elite bloggers to fill us in on what’s really happening in the world.

The rollout and huge popularity of social networking and social media tools are changing the way we do business and how we connect with people on a global basis, to the point that the only thing holding us back is our lack of imagination and our shortsightedness about how to use the technology.

When someone develops a social networking platform that enables us to easily create our own environment (like MySpace or Facebook) geared toward people like brain surgeons, litigators, and turtle watchers, for example, we will see the numbers of social networking zones or hubs grow to numbers that will rival blogs. Ordinary global citizens will create their own niche social networking environment with specific, targeted demographics. We might use these tools to form strategic groups (pursuing a similar strategy), to gather all our global buyers in one place, or to monitor complementary products and services. It will be niche social networking aimed at anything, anywhere.

What else is ahead? Ever hear of manga? You will be reading a lot more about it over the coming months. The heads-up began in Wired magazine’s November issue, with Dan Pink’s article Japan, Ink: Inside the Manga Industrial Complex. Jason Thompson has already published a book on the subject, Manga: The Complete Guide, in addition to his ten-page article in the same Wired issue, How Manga Conquered the U.S.: A Graphic Guide to Japan’s Coolest Export. Dan Pink is so into it that he spent the spring in Japan and also is writing a book on the subject, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need, to be published in 2008.

What does this mean? These people are onto something big. Will it impact us on a global, small business basis? You can count on it. How so? Hard to say. What to do? Keep your eyes and ears on the street and your nose to the grindstone. And hire your graphic animation artist soon.

* * * * *

Global business expert Laurel Delaney is the founder of GlobeTrade.com. She is also the creator of “Borderbuster,” an e-newsletter and The Global Small Business Blog, both of which are well known for covering global small business.

11 Comments ▼

Laurel Delaney


Laurel Delaney Global business expert Laurel Delaney is the founder of GlobeTrade.com (a Global TradeSource, Ltd. company). She also is the creator of "Borderbuster," an e-newsletter, and The Global Small Business Blog, all highly regarded for their global small business coverage. You can reach Delaney at ldelaney@globetrade.com.

11 Reactions

  1. It is truly amazing how much blogs have changed our world. When I’m researching something – I reach for blogs. When I crave information, I go to blogs. The future is indeed very bright!

  2. Anime is conquering the U.S. all right! Will there be a blog burst in the end?

  3. What a great post, Laurel. It’s funny how we can discuss small business and global in the same sentence now. SMEs have come such a long way in such a short time.

    I look forward to educating SMEs about the global potentials for everyone.

    Robert Scoble of http://www.scobleizer.com talks a lot about the social media networks and how they are changing our digital landscape. He’s dubbed it the “social media starfish”. Check it out.

    Thanks, Jason

  4. Hi Laurel,
    Ok. I will be the first to put my foot in my mouth. Ready. Set. In.
    MANGA. What the heck am I going to do with Manga?
    Put a Manga in my Blog-a?
    Or on my Site-a?
    The big question is what are YOU going to do with it.
    Last question. {For the capitalists in the audience}
    How is one going to to make $$ from MANGA?
    Joel Libava
    The Franchise King Blog-a

  5. Chris, David, Jason and Joel … thanks for your comments. As my ending says, “Keep your eyes and ears on the street and your nose to the grindstone. And hire your graphic animation artist soon.”

    W have to take another look at Second Life (virtual but it looks very animated) and Manga to figure out what’s happening or going to happen next in the United States for a big movement or big shift in the way we think or do business. I don’t have an answer. I’m merely bringing these tendencies to heightened awareness so we can come up with our own conclusions and prepare accordingly. Manga reflects a way we interpret or process information. In Japan, it’s big. Why not in America too, soon?

    Remember when Friedman came out with “The World is Flat?” It altered the course in how we “think” about globalization.

    Maybe Manga will cause us to rethink how we offer, exchange, process and interpret business information?

  6. Chris, David, Jason and Joel … thanks for your comments. As my ending says, “Keep your eyes and ears on the street and your nose to the grindstone. And hire your graphic animation artist soon.”

    W have to take another look at Second Life (virtual but it looks very animated) and Manga to figure out what’s happening or going to happen next in the United States for a big movement or big shift in the way we think or do business. I don’t have an answer. I’m merely bringing these tendencies to heightened awareness so we can come up with our own conclusions and prepare accordingly. Manga reflects a way we interpret or process information. In Japan, it’s big. Why not in America too, soon?

    Remember when Friedman came out with “The World is Flat?” It altered how we “think” about globalization.

    Maybe Manga will cause us to rethink how we offer, exchange, process and interpret business information?

  7. Laurel, what a great article. I had to read your ideas several times before I caught up with your point of view. Very interesting stuff. You paint a business playing field scenario in a fashion much like what I imagine a 3d chess board would demand.

    You speak to the maturation of the new medium providing specific opportunities to obtain truth and unvarnished news, unbridled from traditional media new sources. You continue to inform us about an exciting illustration concept called:”manga”. My question is simple: How do you suggest today’s small business owner incorporate this strategic awareness and develop a business model that harvests the attainable opportunities over a 3-5 year period? What should we be reading, what statistics should we consider in order to cost justify an investment in a sustainable advantage?

    Clearly, you have a handle on the futureeducate us on how we go from vision to brick and mortar.

  8. Neal … back w/you on your post late Thursday. Off to NY but didn’t want you to think I was unresponsive. Many thanks!

  9. Hi, Laurel. Very interesting. I’ve been hearing a lot about Manga lately, but hadn’t considered how it would impact small business. I can always count on you to shed new light on things. If you say it’s a trend to pay attention to, I’ll pay attention. (I remember when you were an early believer in blogs long before I was convinced that they were here to stay!)

  10. Greetings Jennifer ~ Let us know what you do with Manga and nice work with your blog!

  11. If you really want to no what’s next, it is called the Cyber World. You probably think you know what that is but a gurantee you don’t. It is bigger then big. It is the next frontier period. No one could have imagined a technology that will make the web obselete, but it is comming. You won’t have to suffer through another shame of web 3.0 like Web 2.0 was.

    http://www.Webkiller.net

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