Live from Confab: The New How

The New How, by Nilofer Merchant

ConfabWhen Nilofer worked at Apple

  • Met Steve Jobs – was trying to impress him talking about their channel
  • He said “f**k the channel. We don’t need the channel.”
  • He saw something she didn’t:
      • In order to invent the future you have to be willing to let go of today
      • Be willing to unlearn
      • See around corners
      • Not “if that happens” but “how will I handle it?”

“Social” is the new black (turtleneck?)

  • Many people think social means media
  • But social means…
    • Interacting
    • Making connections
    • Sharing information
    • Human

Example: Fold It, a social game to solve bioscience puzzles

  • If proteins are mis-folded, it results in things like Alzheimer’s and AIDS
  • Colleagues gave more points in the game to people who had higher degrees
    • Essentially people were valuing the people who had the degrees
    • So they tried to stop people from seeing the high degrees
    • Found that the best protein folder was actually a woman with no degree at all
    • Lesson: If we can see one another face-to-face (through tech) we are able to see what really matters
  • Power used to come from
    • Size
    • Money
  • Now power comes from connectedness
    • Networking
    • Social
    • Now it’s better to be a gazelle with a tribe
  • The things that make organizations successful
    • Used to last 40 years
    • Now they last 5 years
    • We have to be able to leap from opportunity to opportunity
    • “Connected individuals can now accomplish what once only big orgs could.”

Anyone can be powerful

  • There are 8 forms of power
  • Now there’s a 9th: social power
  • We are all powerful in that 9th way
  • We are each standing in a place that only we are standing in
    • “Onlyness” – the only one with my particular background
    • So we each see things others don’t
  • Content is valuable because it is bringing out the personal information we each share
    • Unlike manufacturing
    • Even unlike industry work
    • Everyone counts
    • Good leaders invite everyone to play

“Even when wrong, minority viewpoints cause people to think better by 30%” –Berkeley Profs Nemeth & Goncalo

Being an “us” instead of a “me”

  • Collaborate
  • Create a shared purpose
  • Example: Patients like me
    • Parents with a sick child reached out to their network
    • Friends/doctors sent research papers and information
    • Patients Like Me is to benefit patients with illnesses that aren’t “profitable” to fix
    • Helps people connect to others with the same illness, to gather more info
  • “Relationships are to the Social Era what efficiency was to the Industrial Era”
    • We need to understand how to work together
  • What are relationships built on?
    • Trust
    • We are the parents (growing the product), not the babysitter (just keeping it alive)
    • Stay invested even after passing it off.
    • Purpose – it brings out the best people, and the best in people.
  • Listen
    • Listen loudly – ask “tell me more.”
    • Listen to the voice of onlyness
    • Listen in order to better adapt

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