The ancient world had a lot of inefficiency with infrastructure. Transportation and communications allowed for merchants to fill the gap between buyers and sellers. They were traders. Goods were purchased, transported and resold. The margins represented the extra value in acquisition and delivery of goods.
The industrial age had newer efficiencies. However, traders prevailed. Traders in the world of finance packaged sophisticated instruments and created products out of their work. They did not create value. They merely repackaged it. Finance became a product in itself, which is not sustainable nor valuable. It was merely focused on profit from trading. The efficiencies of information systems enabled this through speed and access.
The problem today is that traders are being squeezed out as information systems are filling the gaps between buyers and sellers. Builders are creating the value powering our economy. The neat thing is that if you want to build something of value and announce it to the world, it is easy. The hard part is being remarkable enough and strategic in execution to build a following.
So what does this mean to you? Take a look at where you are at in the value chain. If you are merely a trader or broker, your derived value will be short-lived as the information age continues to correct outdated industries. Travel agents, mortgage brokers, financial advisors, librarians, and a host of other professions got caught with the hot potato. Builders like Expedia, LegalZoom, Craigslist, Groupon and Wikipedia commoditized the traders with systems. They’re faster, easier and more convenient to deal with. If you’re caught trading, be careful when the music stops. It’s too easy for a builder to trump a trader’s position today.
If you’re a builder, opportunities abound in the new economy. Scope out what the traders have staked out and modernize it. Therein lies the winnings for your rightful value.