E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Giving Up Control in the Era of Open Business

Prague - Old SquareIt’s rather interesting to ponder how, over the course of years, us, consumers, have been asking traditional industries to move on with the times and enter the 21st century (of the Digital Era), so that they could embrace and apply different business models, than those they have been operating under over the course of last few decades, to make themselves profitable again, in order to meet, at the same time, their potential new reality: a smarter, interconnected, mobile, always-on consumer force.

Of particular importance and relevance is the massive fight the Entertainment Industry has been putting together all along, where, instead of making that transition, it has consistently made things even more complicated and worse for their main constituents, i.e. us, consumers, to the point where they have tried, repeatedly AND unsuccessfully, to even criminalise both our behaviours and ourselves for something that in most cases is even part of our constitutional rights: that one of sharing our culture with others.

The fact they have never succeeded is perhaps a good indicator of how things may have changed in the last couple of years as they are starting to come to terms with the fact that they no longer control us (they never have) and that, instead, they would be much better off eventually handing over such control towards those who seem to know better not only what we are consuming, but also how, with whom, when, where and for what purpose we are consuming that particular piece of content.

Some times you eventually need to have some trojan mice. People who can disrupt the system from the inside out strongly enough to provoke a stir and continue to challenge the status quo. Specially, if you keep seeing how very little things have changed from the outside after all of this time. Essentially, no matter how many zillions of times people may be telling you about needing to change and adapt with the new times, stubbornly enough, you keep moving your own way ignoring those wise words of wisdom. Till it might be just too late. 

Well, Kevin Spacey is the trojan mice of the Entertainment Industry. A few days back, he gave one of the most inspiring, noteworthy, and refreshing speeches (for the keynote James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival) that I can remember in a long while. So much so that it was one of those rather mind-blowing dissertations that you would probably watch this year in terms of taking upside down an entire industry that kept refusing to move on with the times and that, eventually, will need to give in and relinquish control to that group they wanted to the least… their audiences. At the risk losing them, for good, otherwise.

Now, as usual, I am not going to spoil the contents of the nearly 5 minute long highlights that have been shared on this YouTube video clip about Spacey’s speech, I would rather encourage you all to take a look, watch it through in its entirety and then make the switch into a pure corporate environment and you will see how scarily accurate it is in terms of seeing that reluctance from various different industries to enter the Era of Open Business, the so-called Connection Economy


My favourite quote, you may be wondering, right? Well, without any doubt, this one:

And through this new form of distribution, we have demonstrated that we have learned the lesson the music industry didn’t learn: give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it and at a reasonable price and they’ll more likely pay for it rather than steal it.

Or also this other one that I am sure would resonate with those folks who have been following this blog for a while, as we have talked about this very same topic on a rather regular basis over here. To quote: 

[…] It’s all content. It’s just story […] And the audience has spoken. They want stories. They are dying for them. They are rooting for us to give them the right thing. And they will talk about it, binge on it, carry it with them on the bus, and at the hairdresser, force it on their friends, tweet, blog, Facebook, make fan pages, silly gifs, and God knows what else about it. Engage with it with a passion and an intimacy that a blockbuster movie could only dream of. All we have to do  is to give it to them“. 

I guess folks would now understand why I am such a big fan of services like Spotify and, most importantly, I suppose now people would understand as well how change in the (Digital) Era of Open Business, most of the times, doesn’t just necessarily need to come from the outside, i.e. from those outsiders who seem to know better than you what you are doing on a daily basis as part of that business transformation. Some times, it’s just right there, inside, right beside you, watching over your shoulders, … 

Thus, do you know who your trojan mice are? Can you find them within your own organisation and empower them to become those catalysts of change, pretty much like Kevin Spacey has done for the Entertainment industry? 

In case you haven’t, hurry up. You are running out of time. You may as well start looking around right away, as they may already be disrupting your business, without you not knowing it …

Remember, they are now in control…

0 votes


  1. Fantastic. I’d heard about the speech but not got around to seeing it, so I saw it first here and it’s brilliant and the points you make around it are profoundly true. Every brand in the world is facing this lack on control and giving up control is the greatest leap into the future any brand can make.

  2. Great post from a great speech. I think there’s a couple of other elements here in addition to the audiences’ thirst for stories irrespective of platform:
    1. The ability of the story teller to create something engaging, leading to,
    2. Trust in that story teller (to Spacey’s comment that Netflix had “run their data” and felt confident that the approach would work).
    I wonder would new story tellers without proven track records get the same breaks?

  3. That made me use precious limited bandwidth, but it was worth it.

    Just such a reality check, it makes you wonder where all those who ‘control’ the content stick there head. Certainly not somewhere where they can see the light of day.

    Great find Luis, thanks for sharing.

  4. Wow. This totally relates to a disruptive technology project I’ve been working on, and I can’t wait to share it.

    Many thanks to Rogier for pointing me to it, and Luis for being totally awesome, as always.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *