People are always asking me “what is e2”? It is understandable, there I am bandying this terminology about like everybody ought to know exactly what it is with respect to its literal meaning and in actuality. So, taking the perspective of those outside of my e2 infused bubble I concur. What’s required is not only an explanation as to the meaning of e2, but my observations that lead to me coining the phrase.
Having lived through a long enough period prior to the availability of the consumer internet, and subsequent to its introduction, provides one with sufficient perspective to be able to make a reasonably good judgement on the societal changes that have occurred during that time span specifically in response to the internet and its associated technologies. This then is the subject matter with which we are concerned with respect to e2.
What is glaringly obvious looking back, was the dearth of information around these technologies by way of what used to be the, if infrequent certainly memorable, Public Information Films (PIFs). Commissioned by one imagines, some obscure government agency titled something akin to ‘The Public Information Films Service’.
In a blinding flash these productions would appear unannounced in campaigns that lasted for a few weeks and disappeared just as quickly. Narrated by a faceless, unidentified bureaucrat whose task it was to deliver the guidance. The personage that did so always seemed to me to epitomise ones deepest fears about who and what those privy to the sort of information not available to the masses but charged with disseminating in its diluted form may embody. You often hear this peculiarly British (note not English) tone used in documentaries where mysteries concerning the rich and famous are under investigation. Its clipped delivery, punctuated by shallow breaths, mildly patronising always carried a note of the sinister to my ears.
The Public Information Films though on occasion aimed at the adult population were mainly targeted at children, as they nearly always appeared during advert breaks at periods where the on screen content was clearly intended for consumption by the younger demographic. They focused on public safety issues ranging from ‘not talking to strangers’, to fastening seat belts during car journeys, a famous jingle being ‘clunk click even on the shortest trip‘; through to how to prepare for and behave during a nuclear attack. The sirens and mushroom cloud imagery from a PIF concerning the latter haunting my dreams for many years after first viewing it in an English lesson during my 3rd Year at secondary school.
Oddly, the same class in which a piece of written work Id handed in as homework received acclaim from my then tutor for being the first piece of work he’d ever had the pleasure of receiving from a pupil for which he had no need to apply any red ink for corrections. It was subsequently framed and hung on a wall for other pupils to be inspired by. “What’s the point in striving for excellence”? I pondered “if we are going to be blown to smithereens”?
There was a highly memorable period lasting about 18 months from Spring 1999 to Christmas 2000 when if not the first then certainly the most high profile of the UK’s internet service providers (ISP) was launched and rolled out on a national basis. Its availability meant members of the public could through a variety of high street retail outlets, walk in and pick up a CD rom provided by the company called Freeserve. The ubiquity of the service and ease with which it could be accessed would have made it the perfect vehicle in which to embed, if not the full Code Of Conduct for Safe Internet Use or some such, at least provide guidelines and or directions – in digital era parlance referred to links – to the full content.
Freeserve could, given the technologies in use, have embedded an obligatory viewing feature integral to the download and installation process, essentially forcing people to view said information and respond by completion of forms indicating their awareness as to the safe usage of internet technologies prior to being granted full access to it.
Beyond the bounds of the internet itself, the type of public awareness content being referred to could and I assert should have been extended to and implemented across not only existing media channels, but also have included offline advisory facilities, which could have for instance, been accessible via local authority neighbourhood offices or a nationally available service such as The Citizens Advice Bureau. Regardless of the possible options what with hindsight is evident is that no such initiative was either conceived or introduced and as such one can only assume that it wasn’t deemed important enough an issue to have been so.
Whatever the case you may be thinking “why harp on about what is now a largely bygone age and issue”? Well the answer is, the impact of the neglect to make decisions concerning provision of the type of advice referred to has lead to more and more of us witnessing first hand the quite horrifying compounded effects (on human behaviour,physical and mental health) of the internet related technologies, and will continue to while such issues remain un-debated and unresolved.
What’s more, consistent with the ‘dawn of the internet’ period referred to above, as at now there neither exists nor is there any intention to provide in any classified sense, a definitive body of reference content which can serve and be viewed as an authoritative source of information and supporting data, with respect to the guideline protocols around digital technologies, their usage and observable effects. Again wholly viable given the technologies to hand and in particular a phenomena to have resulted from their widespread use, that which technology industry aficionados refer to as ‘Big Data‘.
It is not my intention to dwell on the negative but to reiterate what remains a key point of concern: this being that untrammeled the internet technologies and the forces they unleash, contrary to delivering the benefits many perceive them to,actually serve to lessen the ability and thereby capacity of the individual to engage in the aspects of life which deliver the fulfilment, empowerment, freedoms and progress one would hope were attainable.
The ratio of consumption to creation of online content is reflective of the significantly lower level of effort required to consume rather than create said content and as such guarantees a far greater volume of passive consumption. Where one would expect to see a far higher rate of activity is with respect to strategic innovation that utilises the digital mediums, is concerning the subject of vocation. It is the noticeable lack of initiative both on and offline in relation to this sphere of activity, being as it is subject to fierce competition, that set alarm bells ringing for me.
It is not surprising, since those charged with offering guidance and support towards life and work related development, whether family members in the candidate’s home, academia or others so tasked are themselves, due in large part to increases in use and capacity of digital technologies, employed to administer legacy processes in legacy organisations. In addition to which they are further hobbled, firstly by dint of their not being entrepreneurs, or in fact enterprising in any sense, and as such are not inclined, accustomed, experienced or equipped to operate in a cultural paradigm that dictates use of spatial faculties and strategic methodologies not historically required to fulfill their operational functions or achieve their career goals.
Not having lived through a cycle comprising the technological components present in the world today they remain unable to form an objective view as to actionable strategies with which to furnish those they are trying to assist.
In these instances, not wanting to appear devoid of use, invariably results in the issuance of advice that is so redundant that it is barely worth issuing at all “send your cv via the internet”, “register on Linked In” “look in the local paper”, giving the recipient all the strategic advantage of a Mini Metro at a Grand Prix.
Another harbinger of the ill defined era Im seeking to apportion a description to is the inability to either access or decipher real so called ‘news’ from that which is dubious in content and origin. Of course this is not in any sense a new phenomenon. We have long been fed state sanctioned and or sponsored propaganda via seemingly respectable and trustworthy channels like the BBC, to hideous abominations like Fox News who have long since given up the ghost of airing anything with even a vague resemblance of truth and in many cases even pertaining to reality.
Where does this leave the mass of the inter generational populace? Encompassing as it does a significant and increasing segment who have known no other point of reference as far as an objective social reality is concerned, all of whom remain wholly reliant on and likewise enslaved by the very thing that with one hand would appear to offer salvation and with the other the assassin’s sword, while at the same time them being sufficiently awakened to understand that they despite the seeming advantages of their age, are somehow being left behind, with no means by which they are able to catch up.
With my initial interest and subsequent forays in and around the internet being centred on enterprise, the said platform from its inception in my view, and in actuality, being one vast marketplace with countless customers for whatever one wished to sell. I like many others at that time observing this phenomenon was witness to, and equally inspired by the seeming rise in entrepreneurial culture here in the UK. The said cultural shift was it transpired a media driven illusion drawing its hype formula and energetic zeal from an intoxicating 5 year bull market in north American internet stocks.
Subjected to a barrage of frenzied reporting by a media taking the art of spin to new heights, it seemed for a brief period that previously undreamed of money was being and by inference could be minted by owner operators, of what were in essence well dressed databases, with at the time nothing more than rudimentary transactional functionality.
The true picture emerged very shortly thereafter, when the dizzy heights achieved on the bourses were brought to a halt with a sharp downturn in IPO listings and rapid fall in the values of internet stocks, based on the market no longer being able to stomach and turn a blind eye to the glaring inconsistencies and law defying metrics the new entrants sought to codify as signifying ‘the new economy’. These (companies and stocks) were dogs with fleas, without an icebergs chance in hell of generating any revenue much less turn a profit.
Catching the proverbial cold after the US having sneezed, the recent upturn in ‘entrepreneurial culture‘ here duly went into reverse with scores of would be Mark Cubans and Jim Clarkes swiftly coming to the realisation that perhaps they were after all more suited to life at Accenture or KKR.
All of a sudden in 2005 the internets’ somewhat less radiant lights seemed to come back on again, when a former darling of the first boom era one Julie Meyer who if you remember was the founder of the UK’s first internet focused networking event, First Tuesday, was one of the first to announce that a company which her company Ariadne Capital had advised and invested in called Skype had sold to eBay for $2.6bn barely two years are being founded.
What Ive found surprising about the generation who have grown up during this period, one in which we’ve seen Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice formats become fixtures in the mainstream viewing schedule, and where via Apple and Google and the opportunities their respective ecosystems have spawned, is that very few of whom everyone assumes are budding or actual entrepreneurs are in fact not!
Seems to go against conventional wisdom doesn’t it? Not when you put said conventional wisdom under the spotlight. The thing about the pre internet era was that people relied a great deal more on innate characteristics, instincts, tenacity, wit and other faculties necessitous for navigating the waters of human affairs. None more so than in the arena in which trade and business in general took place.
Here one was and still is able to observe the sharpest and most deadly of the species dependent and surviving on their know how, guile, grit, cunning, patience and most valuable of all, their much treasured networks. Centred on mutual benefit, very often glued together by trust and the instinctual understanding that it is safer to hunt in packs, being as it is that wisdom and information critical to survival travels along the wires of human networks.
As the internet has taken hold, along with its ability to provide the layman with unparalleled access to information of near every kind, many of the aforementioned traits, in the same way muscle does when not utilised, have atrophied in those who formerly relied upon them, and for those who never had to have not developed at all.
Moreover, the degree to which those in the latter category rely on and utilise the internet for their basic socio-emotional sustenance and the behaviours its incessant use in this aspect instils in them, is resulting in a whole new strain of humans, who while empowered with the ultimate communications and transactional tool set display an alarming lack of interpersonal skills most noticeably empathy, and likewise enterprise nous, instinct or inclination. On consideration not that surprising with neither the digital era operational gestalts pertaining to enterprise having been established, nor the little that is known disseminated in a form consistent with formal learning curricula, nor the macro cultural backdrop being supportive of it.
What is emerging are two distinct classes. One of which can only be described as out and out anomalies, so far ahead in their respective fields that their achievements are without parallel. But even among these high achievers their vocation and associated financial success seems to be largely derived by way of sponsorship by legacy brands due in large part to their capacity as influencers as opposed to any real breakthrough innovations by way of product or service. Not a criticism I hasten to add, just an observation.
Its an era Ive termed e2. The reason for the name is simple. If you are thinking that the ‘e’ represents ‘economics’ you are partially right, what it actually refers to is ‘enterprise’, a term that not only refers to a subset of economics but in a more general sense a modus and state of being embodied by an individual or organisation. Enterprise and more specifically to be ‘enterprising’ will I predict emerge as the principle drivers that lead to the formation and wide spread adoption of the socio-economic gestalts of the 21st century.
As a result of the internet and the efficiencies it introduces, combined with the equally potent force that is globalisation, we are living through the second great economic revolution. It is these factors that are signified by the ‘2’. Combined, the ‘e’ and the ‘2’ are an abbreviation of the term ‘enterprise (version) 2.0′
“Why not economics 2.0”? You may ask. Here’s why. Economic/s is the most misunderstood and thus frequently misused term. Its literal meaning is the dynamics and variables that relate to the availability of supply or lack thereof of anything deemed useful as a resource which may be traded during the course of commercial transactions, or in fact any activity requisite of the resource/s in demand.
My perspective on this is, that the principle resource in the present and ensuing (e2) era is that of the human being with respect to (a) intrinsic value they embody and represent as a knowledge holder in a world dependent on information and (b) their capacity for creativity, and how these factors once channelled via the enterprise infrastructure set up to harness them for greatest effect, everyday people regardless of their stage, status or rank in life are able to impact and simultaneously be rewarded by the commercial marketplace in their capacity as wealth creators; and likewise other aspects of the wider social landscape.
With the said modus and associated methodologies so structured to facilitate and maximise the enterprising, this term and its implicit meaning is the most appropriate by which to describe the current era.
Having identified the macro trends underlying the e2 era I looked ahead and asked the question “how will this play out in a practical sense”? As I thought my way through the scenarios I arrived at the four factors I consider to be the fundamentals requisite for the sustenance of a collective,community centric socio-culture :-
the principles: the founding principles that serve as the foundation for the protocols that should be integral to the outlook and conduct of all who participate in the e2 cultural paradigm.
the culture: the distinct enterprise centric aims adopted and adhered to by the representatives within a specific locale, in commitment to building and maintenance of their local thru regional economic and cultural blueprint in accordance with the e2 principles. The umbrella term being ‘enterprise culture’.
the enterpriser: the term used in a generalist capacity that describes the every man, and woman, who whether acting in an individual or collective (crowd dynamics /organisations) capacity adopt the modus of an enterpriser in regards to their understanding of themselves as a holder,representative and purveyor of value in its broadest sense, and as such adhere to and apply this principle in the work place and or market.
the engine: a centralised digital platform comprising a suite of integrated facilitators enabling commercial transactions centred on consumption, ecommerce, vocation, communication, information sharing, investment and resourcing between individuals and organisations; extending to local thru national media, physical infrastructure and cultural events. The key tool by which the individual and organisations subscribing to the e2 protocols are able to conduct their work / life activities. The enterprise engine.
The following are the terms that constitute the lexicon that you will have and will continue to see and hear me use when referencing e2 and its associated subject matter. They are deliberately and by necessity few in number, profligate creation and use of new terms serving only to dilute the gravity of those in existence. My wish is that you too incorporate the terms most favourable and relevant to you with respect to e2.
e2: – enterprise (era) 2.0
#e2engineer1: – hey that’s me Emile Emiabata founder of the e2 Advisory. The hashtag applies to Twitter where some of my comments can be found. You may have observed the convenient doubling up of the ‘e’s in the title i.er..e? – e2e and ee(r)
#enterpriser economy: – another hashtag principally for use on Twitter, though may appear in visuals on Instagram. It references the chief characteristic of the e2 era that being the macro-economic, systemic backdrop geared to the modus and perspective of the enterprising individual.
enterprise engine: – the entity consisting of in large part the centralised digital platform designed to facilitate the personal thru enterprise related transactions within the commercial markets during the e2 era.
#enterprise culture: – the objectives and protocols that constitute the foundations by which communities are able to become self determining, fiscally autonomous resulting in their ability to develop and grow as self sustaining, enterprise centric ecosystems.
#Me2: – the catch all term that encapsulates the underlying sentiment with respect to the right, desire and intent concerning social, economic and cultural inclusion in the current and future events and activities across the social, economic and cultural spheres.
#its all about you: – the consistent reminder to all and everyone who engages with the e2 media content and cultural components detailed above that irrespective of the enabling technologies, infrastructure and activities, foremost above all of these is YOU the individual whose conscious decisions drive the activities and transactions that these tools merely facilitate.
That, since you were so inclined to ask is e2. I would love to hear your thoughts, feelings and suggestions in the comments. Please share this article among those you believe will find its contents interesting and useful.
We are building a socio-economic innovations advisory business based upon these e2 protocols. This sees us providing a digital tool an integrated multi application digital tool (the enterprise engine) learning content (webinars) and enterprise development blueprints, (literature) all of which are designed with the intention of enabling
(a) mass inclusion in the digitally enabled modern economy
(b) local community management of macro and micro civic investment and infrastructure
(c) development and growth of regional enterprise ecosystems.
You can follow the progress of the e2 movement via Twitter at @e2engineer under the hashtags #Me2 #enterprisereconomy and #enterpriseculture.
We also welcome your Likes and comments on /Facebook.com/pages/e2-enterprise-engine/
We have a number of opportunities to work with us for people seeking to gain experience, secure a job or build a business and who are motivated by our social impact objectives. These include:-
If any of these opportunities are of interest to you send an email to email@example.com titled ‘e2 opportunities enquiry’.