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TEDTalk: Reinventing Consumer Capitalism – Screw Business as Usual

I’ve always admired TED’s approach to presentations. More importantly, I appreciate how this approach inspires its presenters to in turn inspire audiences in the room and around the web. This evokes the concept of having an “audience with an audience of audiences” where those on stage break through the fourth wall to speak to and through audiences to extend engagement to social networks. TED stimulates the sharing of inspired experiences and it’s the nature of those experiences that foster greater dialogue in and around each event.

It’s because of this that I was a bit hesitant to step up to a TED stage. My good friend Debbie Landa of Dealmaker Media introduced me to Janine Shiota who organizes, quite impressively, TEDx Presidio. Between the two, I was encouraged to speak at the most recent event. I was nervous to say the least. It’s not just about that moment, it’s about how that moment is shared and interpreted now and over time. TEDTalks are truly social objects and as such I was moved to rethink everything.

I wanted to share this personal moment with you as I was inspired by Debbie and Janine along with the other speakers and people at the event who helped me see what TED is really about…ideas and how those ideas touch people and inspire something bigger than any one person.

The theme for the event was Re-inventing Capitalism and I literally took it personally. If ideas start with an individual then so can change. I decided to focus my talk on you…

Here are the storyline:

Capitalism – an economic and political system in trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.

Relationships are defined by the way in which two or more people or organizations regard and behave toward each other.

This is a #socialeconomy and we are its exchange. Our actions or inactions are our currency.

Screw business as usual…

The social economy is giving rise to a new consumer revolution. In an era of connected consumerism, Social Media strategies aren’t going to save your business.

Businesses are at risk of irrelevance, which gives rise to an era of Digital Darwinism.

Digital Darwinism is the evolution of consumer behavior when society & technology evolve faster than your ability to adapt.

Social media has started a revolution in how people connect, learn and communicate, and its effects cannot be undone.

Business leaders shouldn’t have to experience a customer revolution …if employees care enough, the Corporate Spring will happen from within.


There’s too much talking in social media and not enough listening and learning.

There’s too much “me” in social media and not enough “we” in the social web.

We underestimate the opportunity before us…

The idea that a presence on a social network will make your organization more human is the equivalent of showing up to an election and expecting to win.

Welcome to the EGOSYSTEM

We live in a time when…Brands are now people and people are now brands.

You are now part of an audience with an audience of audiences. We are connected now more than ever before. Relationships are powerful. What do we want to do with this opportunity?

The people defining connected audiences are earning influence. The era of consumer hierarchy is upon us. Organizations too, earn or lose influence.

I can’t help think about the importance of social capital as we re-think capitalism. Naturally Robert Putnam comes to mind.

“Social capital can be measured by the amount of trust and “reciprocity” in a community or between individuals.”
-Robert Putnam

And of course Nan Lin

“[Social capital is the…] investment in social relations with expected returns in the marketplace.”
– Nan Lin

Take a moment to visualize your status update window of choice…whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Path, Tumblr, Pinterest, et al…

What other people say here contributes to the social capital of your brand.

What you say here contributes to your social capital as well.

If your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos once said, then shared experiences affect impressions. No amount of marketing will change an experience.


The social economy is a human network and it is stitched together by emotions and activated through empathy. Defining meaningful experiences in the moments of truth is where our work begins.

Sometimes capitalism isn’t just measured by profit, but by the richness of relationships and earned social capital

Understanding the relationship between cause and effect is the first step in designing strategies where ROI represents the Realization of Influence.

The future of the #socialeconomy is YOURS TO SHAPE!

It takes empathy.
It takes courage.
It takes vision.
It takes perseverance.

Investing in Social Capital is the true value of any human network

Please take a moment to watch the presentation…

Thank you.

Connect with me: Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+

The End of Business as Usual is officially here…

34 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “TEDTalk: Reinventing Consumer Capitalism – Screw Business as Usual”

  1. Dr. Rae says:

    Bravo, 2 thumbs up…

  2. Nick Weisser says:

    Great TED talk, very thoughtful and inspiring.

  3. Jason Kemp says:

    Thanks again Brian. I have 50 students who will see this later in the week. You are at the top of the “has cut through” list for marketing. I made a brief post over here

  4. Bruce Perryman says:

    at last…unconditional collaboration.

  5. says:

    What a great talk….really enjoyed it and what you are saying is so very true….keep up the thought provoking and great work.

  6. HI, Brian, great talk, congratulations. Let me ask you…what do you think of de teching and a kind of movement that I’ve been noticed of people starting to get bored of social media ? Do you think that we can actually live without social media???

  7. I really enjoyed that. It’s thoughtful all the way through. I laughed at the beginning, but then the airline word cloud drove it home for me. Thank you for teaching me something new.

  8. I love how you point out that we don’t listen enough.

    Reminds me of one of my favorite sayings in a quote and one of them in the form of an acronym.

    The first reminder I need to hear often relevant to learning says, “I never said anything I didn’t already know.”

    And the next is W.A.I.T. – Why Am I Talking?

    Our alert attention is the most valuable asset we possess as it is the mother of intelligence. We need to choose wisely where we invest this asset if we wish to become a force for good in our little corner of the world.

    Thank you Brian for bringing to the forefront of my mind such an important life lesson.

  9. mankul65 says:

    The fact that you were on stage wearing a 3 piece suit without a tie, says an awful lot about being social.

  10. Arun Kumar says:

    I found this talk to be very superficial, I have been learning from your blogs brian I was expecting data, analysis and in-depth insights to support the talk.

    Business (from capital point of view) is very different and very far away from social connection & communication. Many of the companies are able to see that social media is not able to bring capital but it is able to shape other non tangible stuff like brand, customer experience, trends, fashion etc.

    Socialeconomy is not equal to business and Old ways of doing business and earning revenue will persist no matter how many modern crazy & funny ways of social media behavior people keep doing. You are collapsing social media as a only change agent which will revive or reinvent business and economies that’s not true.

    • briansolis says:

      Arun, that is not at all how this speech was prepared, presented or intended. Instead, it was a demonstration of behavior change, which is very real. And yes, change is forcing the adaption to new touchpoints, which I also cover. It’s also bigger than business. I took a crack at how behavior change starts with the individual. And, I specifically say in the speech that thinking social media will save your business is absurd. This is about understanding how decision making is evolving. So, thank you for your comment…but data, analysis, in-depth insights are what I blog about and speak about…just not at TED.

  11. Mark K. says:

    Good stuff Brian! Have been following Brian for a while now and have a lot of respect that he has been pushing this, and very important message(s), to the rest of the world while many still wonder the significance of his talks and blogs.

  12. Hi Brian,

    Wow – Never actually though about social media in such a way… A bit mind
    boggling when one tend to think about it. Thanks for sharing the awesome and informative video. Really
    interesting views shared on the video. (Especially when reading the comments on
    the blog)

  13. Mike Kawula says:

    Truly inspiring! In 1 Word what I took away about the awesome new world – Accountability!

  14. Pingback: STFU

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