Opinion: Sleeping through a revolution

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by Igbokwe Ifeanyichukwu

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Why does a brand sell more than the other? Why does Sprite sell more than 7up? Why would a customer prefer one brand over and above the other? Why do Eva and Nestle consistently upgrade their table water containers?

In October 1908, Ford introduced the Model T. He had done his homework extremely well and had taken his time to make it far more advanced in technology and design, easier to repair, more innovative and most of all cheaper. He knew quite well that the working class American of his day needed cars but they could not afford it so he gave them model T.

It was a phenomenal success, in a few years about half of the cars in American highways and elsewhere came from Ford. He had produced over fifteen million copies of this easy-to-drive car and had begun to think the model would last forever. While his competitor were busy building faster, more durable and better cars Ford could not bring himself to think he would ever need to make another model. While away on holiday, his workers improved on the design and built a newer better model and presented to him as a surprise on his arrival but he destroyed it, viewing it as a threat. When after two decades sales had begun to decline massively, Ford decided to build a new model but not after it had forfeited its coveted number one position to his competitors.

Why does a brand sell more than the other? Why does Sprite sell more than 7up? Why would a customer prefer one brand over and above the other? Why do Eva and Nestle consistently upgrade their table water containers? Why would two people who graduated from the same university the same year be hired by a company into different position with such disparity in wages such that one earns N150, 000 and the other smiles home with N75, 000, given that the company is an equal opportunity employer?

Could it be that there is something one knew and the other doesn’t? Could it be that there is something one is doing better than the other or does the other is not aware of? Could it be that one is doing a thing the other is not considering important yet? We have come to dwell in a time that handsomely rewards hard work; a generation that has no time eulogizing the weak or the not-so-good-enough.

Therefore the worth of a man is more of what he can do with his head than what he can accomplish with the strength of his muscles. The ability of an organization to do what the other does not know of yet and keep far ahead of the competition has become their strength and the very advantage with which it rules in the market in which they exist. For surely the employer would always go for the best, the customer would go for the best leaving the good with little or nothing at all.

So the question is: How much do you know what you do? Do you know it enough to be preferred over your neighbor? Are you busy wasting away time in the name of waiting for employers to come with nothing in your head to attract them? Are you among the workers that just go with the flow, trudge along with the crowd without any unique output to distinguish you? Then you may be in for a shocker. For it is almost sure that one day there will come the need to restructure the workforce. It would become obvious that those who have no significant input to offer the company would be the first to be dismissed. Until you give an employer a reason to keep you, it’s a pity you have no job and even a worse pity that you are not aware and are not ready for it

Have you come to ask yourself why it is in the building of any great architectural edifice, the casual laborers who actually do the bulk of the personal physical labor required to put the structure in place earn peanuts when compared to what the architects and engineers in reality do more intellectual work than strength-based work on the project.

Why do business owners, CEO’s and managers who often sit in their big offices dishing out orders and doing no much physical work earn almost everything and be millionaires while the employees who actually do the bulk of the work that generates the revenue go on year after year, managing to stay an inch away from poverty. Could it be that the business owners, CEO’s and managers do something that the employees don’t do or know something they don’t know? I tell you YES!

Time has changed and is changing. To thrive in the information economy in which we are, an individual would require a lot of intellectual capital.

The world’s population stands at seven billion while Nigeria’s population is an estimated 170 million. These figures are expected to double in the next couple of decades. Out of the seven billion, what would we need and people would recommend you as the person that knows how best to do? What do you know more? Why would anyone prefer you to your neighbor? Until you we address these issues personally, things may never change.

Being an individual survival, relevance or dominance in a sphere of existence in an information-driven economy would largely depend on how much you know, which would give one an edge, advantage or preference over the other. More than in any age would it be an unpardonable crime to exist in an age like this with a central nervous system capable of storing all the names of the sand grains of the earth, had they got individual names and carry it about everywhere empty.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

 


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