Connections have always led to wealth creation

[tweetmeme source=”ChazGunningham” only_single=false] I don’t now when it started, but it could have been a valiant explorer in a home made boat crossing the waters to another land, or trekking over a distant mountain. They found other peoples, communicated probably through sign language, and perhaps swapped some products in a mutually beneficial trade. All such quests have led to product exchange, but more than this, a deeper understanding of other worlds, what is possible and a broader context of our own situation. A wonderful sense of perspective you might say.

All through history, the opening up of new lands and connections of peoples has led to more trade and wealth creation. And peace – you are less likely to fight a war against someone you trade with and have an understanding of. The silk routes to China, the canals of England, the train tracks across North America, the highways across Europe, the airline routes criss crossing the globe. If you then add newspapers, radio, TV and the Internet – “media” – you open up huge swaths of connections between people and places and businesses. Each in turn have ushered in an orgy of new ideas and technologies, as we all either get totally swept away with the possibilities or (probably due to its threatening nature to the status quo) deny their impact as we try to hold on to what we’ve become used to.

If God had meant us to fly, He’d (sic) have given us wings.” There are a few flaws in that logic, whether you are an atheist or not. I remember sitting in a board room ten or so years ago. We were discussing the inevitable shift to online media. “Why would we turn a hundreds of million dollar business into a few million dollar business?” I was initially flummoxed, the question spat towards me with dripping with venom. Pausing for dramatic effect (but more likely due to a momentary loss for words) I replied, “Because you have to.” Neither of us really understood each other, and no trade was done that day!

New connections have always been the precursor of wealth creation, and they still are. Social media is yet more evidence of this. We are gregarious and social by nature. We like to connect, and if you have millions and billions connecting, there you will witness exchange. Exchange then leads to business opportunies and therein lies wealth creation. The question we need to ask now is – how? What business models? What’s your competitive advantage? in this age of new media, in this stage of flux, there are massive disruptions and huge opportunities?

About the author

Charlie has spent more than 20 years in Perth’s tech and startup sector, firstly as a founder himself, through to exit, and more recently as a writer, advisor and investor. Originally from the UK, Charlie worked in Singapore before arriving in Perth in 1997 to do an MBA at UWA. Graduating as top student in 1999 he set up online real estate business, running it for 10 years before selling to REIWA, whereupon Charlie ran In 2013, he moved to Business News to lead their digital transformation as CEO, and then worked for the federal government’s Accelerating Commercialisation program, funding pre-revenue startups and innovative businesses. He now works in an advisory capacity for multiple tech and other businesses, is managing editor of Startup News and co-host of the Startup West podcast. He also writes a column for Business News on startups. Charlie sits on the advisory boards of WA Leaders, TEDxPerth, WAITTA, the Perth Symphony Orchestra, and the full board of Rise Network.

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