What I learnt when I cleaned my room

I’ve been on holidays the past two weeks and this week I did a major clean out of my study / music room.  I’ve tidied this room up a few times, but that usually results in piles being moved from one place to another.  This time I decided to get a bit more ruthless, and I threw out a lot of stuff that I don’t need any more.

I’m a musician and I’ve been a big music fan for years, so this post will use a musical example to get my message across.

I had a big collection or records – you know, the black vinyl albums we all used to buy.  I’ve got rid of a lot of them.  As I was looking at them I remembered how I used to listen to music.  I’d save up my money to buy an album, ride my bike to the local record shop to purchase the album, then I’d sit by the turntable, put the record on and listen to it from start to finish while reading the record cover.  I didn’t skip tracks, I didn’t listen to tracks out of order, and I had to turn the record over when it was half way through to listen to the other side.

I came across a collection of cassettes.  I was probably in my teens when we bought a cassette recorder.  This enabled me to create my own mix tapes where I could record my favourite songs from my albums, onto a cassette that I could listen to .  As time went on, I was able to listen to those cassettes in my car or on a Walkman (remember them!).

Next, I came across a collection of CDs that I’d burnt.  Most of these were songs from CDs that I owned.  I ripped them onto the computer, then made various compilations of my favourite tracks.  I used to have a CD player in my car that played mp3 disks, and I found a few discs that I created full of mp3’s.  You could fit so many tracks on those CDs that if I had to do a country trip for work I still wouldn’t be able to get through all the songs when I was on the road.

As I was cleaning up, I stopped and thought about the changes in how I listened to music.

When I started buying albums, I’d listen from start to finish.  There are certain albums that became the soundtrack to periods of my life.

The introduction of cassettes enabled me to mix together various songs onto the one tape.  Burning CDs enabled me to do this too, but the quality was vastly improved.

Now, I rarely buy a CD.  I buy most of my music through iTunes, and I buy more single songs than albums.  How I consume (or listen to) my music has also changed.  Most of my music sits on my computers or mp3 players.  I now have access to so much more music wherever I am.  I don’t even need to go to the shop to buy it.  The shop now sits on my PC and I have instant access to the songs I buy.

In the Online World…

So, this has got me thinking about the online world, and how technology changes things.  As technology changes, it creates fresh opportunity.  In the music world, it’s so much easier for anyone to write, record and share music with people around the world using the internet.  It’s so easy for anyone to write an e-book and sell it to people around the world who are interested in that particular niche.

But technology will change over time.  Will you be ready, or will you still be producing the online equivalent of an album, when everyone else is selling CD’s?

Some of my predictions for the future include:

  • People will become a lot more comfortable purchasing products online.
  • As technology makes it easier to find resources and products online, there will become downward pressure on prices as people give away things that once cost money.  The smart marketers will work out how to articulate their value and obtain a premium price.
  • A web site won’t be enough.  You’ll need to also use social media, video, audio etc.
  • More will be stored online.  As costs of online storage drops, we’ll become more comfortable using online products rather than PC-based products.  Google is a great example of this – I can use Google docs instead of Microsoft Office, and Gmail instead of Outlook.
  • A lot of opportunity exists in the Long Tail.  Millions will be made by people who target niches and become well known in their niche.
  • Barriers to entry will fall further.  It is so easy now for anyone to set up a blog for a very low outlay.  As time goes on, this cost will drop further, and there will be a huge range of outsourcing options available through sites like elance.com.
  • Offline concepts will work online.  One of the reasons this blog exists is to introduce you to business strategies that work in the offline world and look at ways they can be used to help your online business.  Just as a lot of direct marketing strategies have been successfully transferred to the internet world, there are a range of other strategies and concepts that can also be used.
  • Traditional media will lose some of it’s power, creating opportunities for smart people to influence others.  Become an expert in your field, build up your credibility, and people will be interested in what you say.

I’ve still got some of my old records – some have sentimental value, others just aren’t available as mp3’s at the moment.  I still have a lot of books, but over the past year I’ve started buying and reading more e-books.  I’m looking at how technology changes things in my industries, and I’m keen to be at the forefront of new technology to give myself an advantage over some of my bigger, but slow-moving competitors.

What changes do you see ahead that could impact the industries you’re active in, and how will they affect you?

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Allan lives in Adelaide, South Australia with his wife and two boys. He is the founder of Blogger Business Plan and loves helping bloggers learn how to transform their blogs from hobbies into sustainable businesses.
When he's not blogging or working in his financial planning business, you'll find Allan playing guitar, reading or coaching his son's soccer team.

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2 Responses to What I learnt when I cleaned my room
  1. Jean-Philippe Maltais
    September 11, 2012 | 7:11 pm

    Ah, cassette tapes and the walkman. How can I forget them? I was too young to appreciate cassette tapes then, however. I remember playing with my dad’s collection of cassette tapes and pulling the tapes out of the case because winding them back in was so fun. Now all we need is to download music. Even songs that were once rare and hard to find can be found on the web. The Internet has changed the way we live life, whether it’s how we listen to music or how we promote businesses.
    Jean-Philippe Maltais recently posted..Infographics: A Creative SEO ActivityMy Profile

  2. Trinity
    November 10, 2012 | 10:56 pm

    This is a wonderful write up, Allen. While I love the topic I can’t seem to get past the image of you cleaning up your room! Sometimes things never change I suppose? Boys will always be boys with messy rooms, regardless of how successful or articulate they grow to be. :)

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