UPDATE: November 10, 2010 – we have removed the Amazon affiliate link in this post. All other text remains unchanged.
More than a best-selling book: a way of life for the buzzword-addicted. Here’s what’s wrong with Game Change(r)s.
If you think about the book “Game Change” you can learn quite a bit about when it makes sense and when it doesn’t make sense to use the term “Game Change” or its variation, “Game Changer.”
First, a layman’s definition, in plain English. Obama won not because he defeated John McCain, or even Hillary Clinton. He won because he campaigned against George W. Bush and Washington as usual. He was an outsider, outsider equals good, good equals electable. If you run a political campaign that accomplishes one of these things, congratulations: you have successfully created a Game Change. (BTW, if you want to get a copy of the book, our affiliate link to it is below. Rock on.)
In business, if you create a product or service that is a category unto itself (what they used to call a “category killer”), you are a Game Changer.
In fact, let’s use the 2010 elections and the holiday shopping season to give you a very short list of people, places and things that are right now “Game Changers.” For instance:
The Tea Party: Game Change. What’s most interesting about the Tea Party movement, to this reporter, is not its ubiquity but its lack of a concrete message. The seminal moment of this Tea Party is widely considered to be a rant by CNBC reporter Rick Santelli. Yet, hardly present in this current movement is any mention of derivatives, securities laws, mortgage-backed bond trading and stuff like that. (“Stuff like that” is a technical term.) The Tea Party appears to be about change – back to the Constitution in pre-bailout mode, where “Don’t Tread on Me” is a way of life.
iPad: Game Changer. It’s not a phone, it’s not a TV. It’s somewhere in-between. Gartner predicts that 19.5 million units of “tablet computers” will be sold this year. 54 million units are projected to be sold in 2011. The rules of the game changed: don’t sell people a phone, don’t sell them a computer, sell them something in-between.
Think about it in the context of what you’re doing in business: unless you are coming up with a new way of computing, or a new way of positioning candidates as you enter an election, you’re not a Game Changer.
Guess what: that’s okay.
We’ve bumped into literally hundreds of folks whose businesses are not in the middle of a Game Change. But they are watching the rules change and shifting their own strategy to follow along.
This can mean restaurants that tweet deals, or lawyers who blog, or fundraisers who abandon the old way of doing things and try something new.
You don’t have to be a Game Changer. But you should watch the rules of the game, and play along.