Any global crisis doubles up as a rather unforgiving mirror. Forcing societies to look at themselves. Reexamine values and fundamentals. The recession wherein the well oiled machinery of the progressive world has been showing the naked clinks have done just that. The party is over. The balloons are bust. The good timers have left and have taken the fence down as they go. There’s an awful lot of mess to be cleared. And then you start realising who your friends are. That is if you have friends left at all. Because in an uni-directional world we were not really cultivating ‘friendships’. Friends or networks were by the way dots which automatically attached themselves to us in parties, boardrooms or golf courses. In a self-sufficient world you did not really require friends. Or supporting communities. You only required to know enough interesting people who could fill up your party. Made sense. It requires a tremendous amount of effort to nurture communities of friends. A whole lot of commitment. The rule is you usually give more than you receive. And then one day when you are desperately looking for someone to mend your fence the community will descend on your place. Someone will mend the fence while a second one will bake comforting cookies for you. While a third will repaint the fence and the fourth will replant the bougainvilleas. A mutually symbiotic relationship. Not transactional mind you unlike the marketplace. Instead returns get evened out if at all over a longer timeline.
No wonder an embattled world is suddenly talking in terms of communities. Creating networks of trust. Safety nets of people who can warm the soup on a rainy day. Huge implications for the society. As lines are redrawn. Ofcourse in the post economic recession world, the deeper ramifications of a community centric alignment is for business houses. Where markets are being shaped or have the possibility of being shaped around community lines. The ties between random buyers is becoming stronger aided not only by social realignment but by a shrinking of distance courtesy Facebook and the digital community clan. Creating both opportunities and threats. Businesses can now more effectively cluster their markets along community lines, engage with influencers and leverage community ties to virally sell products or ideas. Ofcourse communities as I have said have sprung as a defence mechanism in fractured markets are not likely to be conducive to businesses by default. These units are mostly formed to protect the members or the buyers explaining the tremendous initial success of sites such as Group-ons. So business houses would not have a red carpet welcome in these circles. This is where executives have to come down from their high chairs and start engaging at a grass-root level. Where a lip service to community welfare is not sufficient anymore. A growing scepticism of touch and go global corporates and a realignment of the world’s market place require businesses to look out for all opportunities to build a fence. Or break the fence with the 99% who have very strong reasons to congregate. Build organic business with the communities at the epicentre. It may not be an exaggeration to say that the future of the planet hinges on such symbiosis.