A Small, Beautiful Army of Davids

August 29, 2006

Something is happening here and what it is Glenn Reynolds can make perfectly clear. What is happening here is that technology is treating us to a remake of one of the oldest stories in human history – the story of David and Goliath.

Glenn Reynolds is the author of the new book, An Army of Davids. Glenn is, by the way, also the blogger at www.instapundit.com. Wall Street Journal writer Adrian Wooldridge summarized his book’s theme in this one sentence: “The balance of advantage — in nearly every aspect of society — is shifting from big organizations to small ones.” Wow.

Glenn Reynolds tells us that technology is arming the Davids (individual entrepreneurs and small business owners) with a pretty darn good slingshot these days. You can now buy super cheap web sites, and even cheaper blog sites to empower your business. The Internet makes it possible for you to sit in your living room (or at your local Panera’s) and access more information than the best reference librarian could get to just 20 years ago. That same Internet can help you find new customers, track the movements of your competitors and collaborate with experts around the globe.

When it comes to technology, you will often hear from us that the real value is not in the technology, but in the ingenuity of those who are using it. And, as a corollary, the real value is not in technology, but in those who are translating and teaching it.

That latter assertion came home to us recently while talking with Jon Schallert (www.jonschallert.com), a marketing consultant who helps small business owners turn their companies into what he calls “consumer destinations.” Like us, Jon believes in translating technology into terms that a small business owner can readily grasp (no wonder we like him).

Jon explains web optimization in terms of being out in the ocean in a small fishing boat with one line in the water – comparing that to what can happen if you were to have a thousand fishing lines in the water. By that analogy, perhaps blogging is the boat where the fish just jump in on their own?

Jon’s tenth step in his own pyramid of success is a term he calls “omni-present mentality.” You’ll have to sign-up for Destination Business Bootcamp at his web site to know exactly what that is; but we will tell you that it has something to do with technology and 24/7 customer access.

Our point (did we wander a bit off point?!) is that the success of the small army of Davids is not only propelled by technology but also by the people who are dreaming up new and better ways to teach those technologies – and new and better ways to use that technology.

An Army of Davids tells the story of something that is happening not just to the world of small business ownership, but also to the world of work. In fact, if Mr. Reynolds is right, Dilbert himself may soon be quitting to start his own business.

Mr. Reynolds has been blogging longer than Kentucky has been a state, yet despite that obvious hindrance he seems to know how to write a clear and compelling book. You will recognize yourself and the world around you in the pages of his book. And, whether you’re starting a small business, running a small business, or just thinking of starting a small business, you can’t help but be encouraged.

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