To start a business in the agricultural era, you need dozens of mules and horses and hundreds of acres of fertile land to build a foundation, so you have the courage to toss around; to start a business in the industrial age, a production line, a dozen workers, and a factory building of hundreds of square meters are all necessary. It is standard configuration; now starting a business, you may only need a computer, a mobile phone, and a capable self, which is enough. Two recent incidents have made Brother K feel more deeply about the above statement.
Mr. EcBasis’s friend, Mr. P, is the CTO of a traditional enterprise. Last year, when the job market was bleak, he voluntarily resigned. He recruited a group of freelancers, built an industrial big data analysis software, and sang bad words from the people around him. , In the midst of constant doubts, sales through agents, consulting companies, and ISV platforms have achieved an astonishing annual income of 3 million. Moreover, most of the 3 million income is his profit, why? Because his company has only one full-time staff and two part-time customer service staff, the overall operating cost is extremely low. The benefits brought by my friend’s “one-person company” are what he can’t earn even as a CTO for 5 years.
Another thing is that there is an internet celebrity named Caryn Matjorie abroad. With the help of an AI company, he used his 2,000 hours of video to train his own AI digital human clone – Caryn AI, and then use this digital human to Providing chat services for fans is such a seemingly simple model. It has only been online for one week, and it has helped this Internet celebrity earn $500,000.
These two things clearly show that in the second half of the Internet and today’s rapid iteration of various technologies, starting a business to make money no longer needs to rely on a huge team, abundant funds, and complicated business models. The simple model of “one person + crowdsourcing/AI tools” is enough for one person to thrive and earn a lot of money. The core reason is that in this era when traffic is king, traffic portals have quietly changed from being platform-centric to individual-centric. That is to say, as long as you have the ability to accept traffic and create and output value, you can exchange benefits with the outside world, instead of being passively attached to a certain enterprise or company like a “screw”.
The social and economic form is becoming more and more decentralized, and its basic unit will no longer be an enterprise, but an individual. This is a development trend that is visible to the naked eye. With the rise of mobile Internet and artificial intelligence, each of us may become an individual. “Network interface” opens its own “super individual” era. Moreover, this will no longer be an individual case, but will appear in the form of a “trend of the times”.
What is a “super entity”?
What is a superorganism? As early as Luo Zhenyu’s New Year’s Eve speech in 2016, this concept had a vague prototype: this is an era of rising individuals, and personal influence will become more and more important. The famous career planner and best-selling author Classic Teacher later extended and supplemented Luo Zhenyu’s views, and he put forward the concept of “super individual” for the first time: it can continuously renew and iterate itself, continuously produce information, radiate power, and continuously A person who generates links, creates value, has strong exploratory power and self-motivation, and can make money and develop by relying on his own love and ability without being attached to a certain job, is probably what a super individual looks like in the eyes of classical teachers.
The super individual reminded Brother K of the concept of “one-man enterprise” proposed by Paul Jarvis in “One-man Enterprise”. The so-called “one-person enterprise” means that under the new entrepreneurial model of the digital economy, individuals can achieve personal business growth in a small and beautiful way. The author also believes that starting a business is not necessarily as big as possible. To obtain profits at a low cost, to establish a business that is too small to fail, and to maintain focus and competitiveness through small-scale operations is the most secure business model for ordinary people.
Why does Brother K admire super-individuals and one-man enterprises so much? Because before I set up a self-media company, I was running my own “one-person business” in the form of a “super individual”. At that time, all the assets of our company were “self-media account + 1 brother K + outsourcing team + 2 part-time jobs”. Brother K is responsible for content planning and overall operation, and the outsourcing team is responsible for layout optimization and platform distribution; 2 part-time jobs help me with customer service and preparations for offline activities. It is this team of only 6 or 7 people who are full of efforts and calculations, but they have helped me realize my own business closed loop, undertaking commercial advertisements, publishing books, selling courses, being hired by companies as consultants, and cooperating with major manufacturers in online and offline activities, etc. In the second year, my income from self-media alone was enough to buy a small three-bedroom apartment in downtown Shanghai. Back then, there was a hotly searched news saying that the profits of many listed companies (not counting losses) were not enough to buy a house in Shanghai. From this perspective, the profits of my “one-man enterprise” were well beyond those of many listed companies. company.
A few years have passed, and various AI technologies have emerged. With the blessing of various efficient and fast intelligent tools, not only has “one person = one team” had a more realistic support, but also derived more cash. The carrier and realization method have laid an objective foundation for more ordinary people to become super individuals, and have improved the feasibility of this “path” to a greater extent.
Why do you say: the end of the worker is a super entity?
In the book “Naval’s Book”, which records the speeches and thoughts of the famous Silicon Valley investor Nawal, there is a passage like this: “The previous money-making model was to go to college for 4 years, get a degree, and then work in a certain professional field for 30 years. .It’s not the same now, times are changing fast, you have to master a new major in 9 months, and the major is obsolete in 4 years. But in the 3 years that the major exists, you can become very rich.”
Looking at it now, there is something right in Varner’s words, and there are also “inappropriate” things. The right place is to rely on 4 years of college and try to change the idea of 30 years of stability, which has long since become unrealistic. What is less accurate is that in today’s rapid iteration of various technologies, whether the newly learned skills will allow you to “support” for 4 years is a big question mark.
Today’s migrant workers lack all kinds of certainty, and are more like workplace herdsmen who live in pursuit of new trends and new skills. Multi-stage careers and high-frequency iterative professional careers will be very common. Combining the employment situation, workplace metabolism, and the objective law of the waves pushing forward, eventually transforming into a super individual will be a choice that migrant workers have to face. And, it’s probably the best option, too.
1. The money earned by working as a worker is getting less and less
In recent years, the unstable and uncertain connotations of the “Ula Era” have been vividly interpreted. There are fewer and fewer development opportunities for migrant workers, and enterprise personnel optimization, cost reduction and efficiency increase have gradually become the norm. Facing the situation of job instability, unreliable companies, and loss-making businesses, many migrant workers are anxious and confused, worrying that they will suddenly receive notices of layoffs or salary cuts one day.
Although Rollo May, the father of American existential psychology, said in the book “The Meaning of Anxiety”: “Anxiety is a normal state in which human beings face threats and hope to create themselves. In such an era of rapid development, only those who maintain anxiety He is a person who is really healthy and feels the pulse of the times.” But Brother K never encourages anxiety (nor does he think that “anxiety” can be “created” out of thin air), but I advocate that everyone should have the spirit of planning for a rainy day.
There is a “pond effect” in economics. The lotus leaves in the pond double every day, 2, 4, 8… Until the 49th day, the lotus leaves covered half of the pond, but on the 50th day, it was only overnight In a short time, the lotus leaves can cover the entire pond. If you do not respond and prepare for certain uncertain adverse factors in advance, it is easy to squeeze yourself out of space as described by the “pond effect”. And letting yourself slowly become a super individual is the most effective preparation, perhaps none of them.
2. The rise of the platform economy
The wave of digital economy has given birth to a series of large-scale platforms such as WeChat official account, Douyin, Meituan, Didi, etc., attracting a large number of individuals to participate.
Taking Douyin as an example, more than two years ago, the National Academy of Development and Strategy of Renmin University of China conducted a research on the employment opportunities of Douyin, and concluded that “the direct and indirect employment opportunities driven by Douyin as a whole reached 36.17 million”, two years later, I believe this number will only increase and will not decrease. Take Meituan again as an example. According to the financial report of Meituan, as of 2022, Meituan has a total of 6.24 million riders. Thinking about the ridicule of workers who regard being a rider as the “end” of their profession, this number will probably only increase in recent years. reduce.
Behind this phenomenon, it reflects the transformation of the employment model from the traditional “company + employee” to “platform + individual”. From the previous 8-hour shift work and monthly salary, it has become a multi-channel and multi-way realization of my knowledge, skills, and services through traffic and platforms. It has provided many people with low threshold and diversified wealth creation opportunities. Just as the epidemic has forced the leap of “online collaborative office” in the workplace, this “platform + individual” employment model has also to some extent forced the maturity and growth of super individuals.
3. Technology democratization
The era of AI is menacing and shocking. Zhang Yong, the well-informed former CEO of Ali, couldn’t help shouting “All industries are worth doing again with AI.” The AI large-scale model technology represented by ChatGPT is slowly showing its impact on all walks of life, especially some efficient AI tools have even begun to subvert the cognition of the existing workflow and structure, allowing “one person + AI = a team”, gradually becoming a reality.
In the workplace, we can let AI tools write copywriting for us, write code, do design, produce drawings, write PPT, and edit videos. Most of the technical barriers. More importantly, the cost is extremely low, even negligible.
Under this kind of technological change, there will be fewer and fewer labor-intensive companies, and more and more “one-man companies” will appear in the form of a few, a dozen people, or even super-individuals. It started a historic transformation from “human-driven” to “algorithm-driven”.
4. Weakness to the big environment
In Alice in Wonderland, the Red Queen has a famous saying: “You have to run as hard as you can to stay in the same position; if you want to move forward, you have to run twice as fast as you are now.” But sometimes, even if you run twice as fast as you are now, you may not be able to move forward, or even keep in the same position. Under certain circumstances, it is inevitable for people to bow their heads to the general environment and reality, because you are powerless to fight against it.
For example, many industries, including the Internet, are unfriendly to 35-year-old front-line workers, making them “abandoned children” in the industry when they are working. But just as the classic line in “Jurassic Park” says “Life is unrestrained, they can always find a way out”, the way out for these migrant workers who are forced to leave the workplace may be to become a super individual.
How does a migrant worker become a “super individual”?
1. Productization of personal ability
The classical teacher had a point of view that it is not knowledge that changes destiny in modern society, but the improvement of ability brought about by knowledge. Brother K very much agrees with this point of view. We must not only have the ability, but also be able to commercialize this ability. This is a necessary condition for becoming a “super individual”.
Why do you say that, because a person’s ability is only an objective existence, but it does not necessarily reflect value. Only when it becomes a product and can provide services to anyone in need can it continue to show its value. There is the possibility of trading and realization. For example, you have a lot of experience in fitness, which is your ability, but only when you sell your ability to others in the form of courses or training, your ability can be called a product, Only when it has the meaning of realization, is the value that a “super individual” should embody.
The same is true for other abilities such as programming, writing, training, consulting, etc. If you have them, please extract them, systemize, standardize, productize, and commercialize. This is the first step for you to become a super individual.
2. Create a personal IP
Zheng Zhihao, CEO of Maoyan Films, said: “Aunts buy gold, rich people buy real estate, but first-class investors buy IP”; Luo Zhenyu also said: “Personal brand is the most effective connector and traffic entrance at present or in the next few decades. It is a sharp tool to achieve a leap in life.” These words reflect the necessity and importance of creating a personal IP.
With a personal IP, it can indeed bring great help to the advancement of a super individual. It can gain user recognition more quickly and directly, reduce the cost of customer acquisition, and increase the conversion rate of products or services. Even compared with other similar products (services), it can also bring different degrees of brand premium.
The basic principle of creating a personal IP is to continuously amplify one’s own advantages from the perspectives of professionalism, emotion, and value in one’s field of expertise, and then form an influence and appeal to a certain audience. The implementation path is not complicated. You can try it by opening a blog, writing a public account, making short videos, participating in industry conferences, and publishing books.
3. Light Entrepreneurship
Fan Deng said: “The real starting point for starting a business should be to step on two boats.” He himself did this at the beginning, secretly developing his book club business while working. This may sound like a bit of nonsense, but it is precisely this kind of “nonsense” that is safer and does not affect the results in the slightest. Besides Fan Deng, isn’t Liu Cixin also writing science fiction novels while going to work?
Especially in the current environment, starting a business must choose the “light entrepreneurship” model, and must not adopt the risk-taking approach of selling houses and betting on land. If an entrepreneur is always under tremendous pressure and full of insecurity, then he will inevitably not be out of shape in doing things and thinking about problems. And this is by no means the best state of being a startup.
Brother K’s own practice path is to start with a sideline job and start his own self-media business while working; after the self-media has a certain improvement, he will start a light entrepreneurial model, spend money to hire part-time jobs, find outsourcing teams, and make his own The self-media business accelerated and achieved a rapid leap in the window period; after I completely clarified the business operation model and opened up my own business closed loop, I began to formally recruit and expand the team, and established my own new media company.
Here I still suggest that you use Taleb’s “barbell strategy” to build an anti-risk model that suits you. One end is a relatively stable job, and the other end is your own light entrepreneurial plan. Remember, in times of uncertainty, certainty and stability are more important than anything else.
The classical teacher once described the super individual in his column “Super Individual”: “(A super individual is) a person who is independent, self-driven, self-achieved, successful and happy.” Finally, I hope everyone can become such a person and encourage each other .