Last week, an article of mine was published in Fast Company online, which was a huge thrill. I’m a print subscriber myself, and greatly enjoy reading their magazine.
Many people were very kind to share and retweet the article, but it also seems that it was surprisingly polarizing (as you’ll see if you scan through the comments). This, in itself, is completely fine — as much as I enjoy persuading people of a new point of view, I have no expectations that everyone will enjoy what I write or agree with it.
That said, there are two things about the article I want to comment on.
1) IS THAT MY TITLE?
Somewhere between my writing and the publishing, my title got changed. I approved the title We Don’t Buy It: Embracing the Death of Ownership — this somehow got changed to Why Millennials Don’t Want To Buy Stuff. In my view, these are completely different articles, and it seems like the title that got assigned led to some unrealistic expectations, which then caused a few whiplash reactions.
This is a good lesson for me when I’m reading online: unless it’s directly posted on the author’s own blog, I shouldn’t assume the author had final editorial approval.
2) ALWAYS TRUE, BUT NOW MORE IMPORTANT
I should have made it more clear that, while the three components I outline in the article have always been a part of what ownership means, they are more important now.
In the new economy these things are essential to understand — for everyone across your entire company.
The very act of ownership has been commoditized, especially in places like the US. Here, we quite literally want for nothing, and when this happens, organizations and leaders must start to think more about the invisible motivators that power their customers’ decisions. Good marketing folks already think like this, of course, but I don’t know many other organizational departments that do this very well. Companies that can optimize this new mindset towards ownership across the organization are the ones that will thrive most.
If we want a work revolution, our goal is to design organizations that can leverage new mindsets towards ownership (and many other things). We can debate the philosophical underpinnings of the concept of ownership all day long, but that’s really missing the point — which is to create tribes that can build great stuff that makes the world better.