By Jim McCarthy Jan 15, 2010 6 comments

Change is Only Dramatic to People Used to the Current Thing

…and if you’re not steeped in the way things are, rapid, dramatic change isn’t nearly as frightening or even surprising.

The other day, I was asked to speak to a graduate school class at USC about entrepreneurship.  Almost everyone in the class of about 50 aspires to be an entrepreneur, and all of them have been required to developed a business plan as a pre-requisite for this class.change

I thought I was dropping some serious knowledge on them when I said that Goldstar hardly advertises at all and that we spend our money on developing conversation-worthy information and getting it out to the public.  How many of them, I asked, had advertising as the key way they were going to promote the business they were planning.  I expected most of the hands to go up.

One went up.

“Really?” I said.  Honestly, I was really pretty desperate to make this killer point.  “Come on, just one of you is planning to advertise?  There must be more.  Seriously?”  It wasn’t pretty.

But no more hands went up.

“Ok, then, I don’t need to say anything else about that.  You guys are wicked smart.”

Five years ago, that was a no-fail question in a group like this.  Even two years ago, but like I’ve been saying for the last year, things have changed.  We’re not just having a humdinger of a recession; as Jeff Jarvis says we’re in the midst of the “shift from the industrial economy to what follows.”

It shouldn’t be a surprise that today’s young entrepreneurs get that intuitively.

Well done, gang.

UPDATE: Because of the interest that’s been expressed in the comments and on Twitter (thanks @jeffjarvis) in what these budding entrepreneurs DO plan to do to make their businesses work, I will find out.

After 12 years in the internet business and watching these things ebb and flow, I am going to hazard a guess that they will almost all say ‘social media.’

Also, as long as we’re on the topic, here are my more extended thoughts on this subject.

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    • Ulrike Langer

      Good point, but it would have been equally interesting to learn how entrepreneurial journalism sites do plan to earn money. Or are they sustained on grants and fellowships?

    • Jim McCarthy

      Because of the interest in finding out more, I’ll see if I can dig in with the class and see what their plans are.

      BTW, Ulrike, this wasn’t a group of journalism entrepreneurs, necessarily. Just budding entrepreneurs all of kinds.

    • Störungsquelle

      Change is the only thing that stays the same 😉
      Without evolution, we wouldn’t be able to make improvenets. Change is good, even if we sometimes fall. There is still a hope that we learn something and come back to the top!

      Europeans should communicate more!

    • Tom

      The opportunities for entrepreneurs today are endless because they have learned to master change and therein change their lives.