When we're acting like passive consumers, we take what we're given. We do what we're told to do in school and then at work. We buy what's on the shelf at the store. We pay the ticket price the travel agent gives us. We watch the TV show when it's broadcast. We read what appears on the printed pages of our newspaper or magazine subscriptions. We listen to all the music tracks on a vinyl record or prerecorded tape.
When we're acting like active consumers, we shop around and make up our own minds. We get the results we're told to accomplish in the ways we choose. We compare brands, specs, reviews and prices as we shop for the best choice. We time shift broadcasts to watch at our convenience with interruptions at our own discretion. We cancel subscriptions and read selectively. We listen to CD's or MP3 players where we can shuffle play the music tracks and push a "next" button.
When we're acting like prosumers, we identify with successful consumer brands. We discover our strengths and recognize our own talents. We sell ourselves as hired guns who can solve problems, put out fires and deliver results. We expect people to buy what we're selling once we establish our credibility, prove our reliability and display our popularity. We generate content, connect with colleagues, follow news from others and share our latest incidents transparently. We brand ourselves and then invest in the brand, stay true to it and protect it from damage.
When we're acting like collaborators with and contributors to productive communities, we internalize the models that make entrepreneurs successful. We question what we're bringing to the table. We realize our offer is getting compared to rivals with different mixes and specialties. We enter the world of those we expect to buy what we're selling. We see ourselves through their eyes and value our offer on their terms. We look for ways to solve their problems, ease their pain, facilitate their progress, and support their endeavors. We figure out how to be of service, make a real difference and turn our caring for them into results they appreciate. We become a business model as we monetize these impacts, outcomes and solutions. Our value proposition gets bought and buzzed by others without hype, spin or showing off from us. Our brand gets hijacked, crowdsourced and owned by the buyers.
When we realize this fourth stage of personal development, we're ready for the next economy. We're well placed to change in every which way that's getting brought on by pervasive connectivity. We're in a good place to connect at an emotional level with actively engaged tribes.