Focus on the underlying principles

We love shiny new things. The latest hype, oh, let's talk about it! But is it really new or does it just have a new name?

Just think about how we talked about 'groupware software' back in the day. Nobody calls it that way anymore. We talk about 'collaboration software/tools' now.
The same goes for 'web 2.0'. Nobody says that anymore. We call is 'social media' now, although I'm sure we'll have a new term for it soon.
A last example (as I could list many more examples): everybody is talking about 'digital transformation' now. Before that all the talk in town would be about 'social business' and before that it was called 'enterprise 2.0'.

Definitions are important. It's all about being clear about what we mean. What I don't understand though is the way many present something as completely new while it clearly isn't. The term is different, but the underlying theme is the same. That's why I try to focus on the underlying principles. If they are different or have changed then something is really going on. This is why a book like 'The Cluetrain Manifesto' is so good. It's about the underlying principes of the new web, the social web, web 2.0 or whatever you want to call it. It was written in 1999... Read it and don't focus too much on the terminology that is used in the book. We use different terms now. But the big change they described, the principles that have changed in 2nd age of the web haven't in the last 20 years.

And the good thing about focusing on the underlying principles is that it saves a lot of time and energy. Instead of running after all new shiny things, we 'only' have to think about the real changes. The fundamental ones. And that's hard enough.

Would love to hear your thoughts about this. Leave a comment and we'll continue the conversation!

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