The World's Greatest Salesman: Preface
Whether it was the Stone Age, the Agricultural Age, the Industrial Age or the Information Age, there has always been a single constant flowing through the communities that benefited from these major cultural and societal changes. Men and women—the pioneers of each age—embraced the shift and pulled their communities, their organizations and their countries with them.
We are once again entering a “New Age.” Advancing technologies are empowering individuals to achieve ever greater heights of creativity and self-fulfillment. Activities that, just a few years ago, would have taken significant monetary investment and dozens or hundreds of people can be realized by one person with determination, drive and hard work. New creations, at one time only within the realm of corporations, are now within the grasp of individuals.
Consider the new technologies that made this first book possible:
- Understanding copyright law, once the domain of attorneys, is now available online and easily understood through Columbia University.
- Researching, documenting and certifying a copyright, once locked away in buildings in Washington, D.C., is now easily accessible online.
- Older works, such as the 1930 and 1934 versions of Men-Minutes-Money (the basis for this book), are competitively priced, purchased and shipped to arrive the next day.
- Transferring a book into a word processor for research purposes, once a manual, tedious, expensive and error-prone process, can be accomplished with a $100 all-in-one home office printer/copier/scanner and its included software.
- Searching across all these documents is done in seconds with Microsoft Windows' indexing service.
- Establishing a corporation and associated bank accounts is all online.
- A marketing website, once the playthings of technologists, can be built with drag-and-drop software with online commercial transactions.
- Printing a book, once requiring initial startup funding, inventory tracking and warehouse space is streamlined with On-Demand Printing. E-books are eliminating shipping costs.
Such technologies await pioneers to combine and exploit them. Such technologies free us from the confines of thinking as those in the hierarchy above us think; doing what those above us do; acting and behaving as they act. If we disagree; if we are not listened to; if our ideas are not valued; if we get frustrated with the lack of corporate vision and commensurate rewards; we can and should launch our own undertakings. We can become, as Tom Watson wanted every person to be, a thinking man or woman. We can realize the benefits of our own thinking.
This doesn’t mean the end of organizations. A road traveled alone is still a lonely path. Self-education in a home office is good; but a supportive environment with cooperation is better and far more powerful. But those individuals who embrace this new potential, those corporations that position themselves as a whole greater than the sum of its parts, those countries that enact laws encouraging an environment of personal self-growth and risk taking—these will be the individuals remembered, the companies celebrated and the countries growing as we push toward the twenty-second century.
Organizations, to exploit this New Age, must adapt and design their policies to empower and encourage men and women to channel their energies towards a common good; capture the individual’s desires and dreams into a common set of goals—whether that is in the field of education, business or government. Such organizations will lead the way into this “New Age”—just as Thos. J. Watson Sr. led the way with The IBM into his “Man Age”—setting the foundation for a century of growth from 1914 to 2011.