Consumers and producers

Consumer or producer?  At any given time we are likely one or the other.

As consumers we read what somebody else wrote, purchase what someone else made, ponder ideas someone else created, observe problems we hope someone else will fix.

Going to a movie, listening to music, attending a sports event, relentlessly checking Facebook or keeping abreast of the latest scores on ESPN are all about taking in content generated by someone else.

Being a consumer is passive and typically enjoyable. Little is required of us. And it’s virtually always safe. I might feel a bit guilty about spending my Sunday afternoon watching golf on TV but hey, no harm, no foul.

As producers we are doing the work, writing the blog post, making that new product, bringing our art to the world, challenging the status quo, embodying the change we wish to see in the world, putting ourselves out there. But as Seth reminds us, this might not work.

By its very nature, producing takes more energy, more focus, more grit and is riskier than mere consumption. Producing something with the potential to be truly meaningful and remarkable is more challenging and riskier still. It demands vulnerability.

Of course we are all consumers and producers. There is no such thing as a pure consumer or a 100% producer. On any given day, we will spend our waking hours engaged doing some of both. Life, as we know, is ebb and flow, yin and yang, give and take.

So it’s not about being one or the other. And it’s not about labeling consumption as inherently bad and production as fundamentally virtuous.

But I do think it’s worth thinking about whether we’ve got the right mix.

And then working intentionally to produce a better outcome.

 

A version of this post originally appeared at http://www.stevenpdennis.com

 

Author: stevenpdennis

Steve Dennis is a strategic advisor and thought-leader on retail innovation, marketing and growth strategy. He has served as the chief strategy officer and led the development of omni/multichannel integration efforts as a member of the executive committee of two Fortune 500 retailers. He was recently named one of retail's top 20 influencers and is a retail contributor for Forbes. As President of SageBerry Consulting he helps retail, consumer and social impact brands accelerate their growth and improve their customer focus and results. Prior to founding SageBerry, Steve was Senior Vice President, Strategy & Multichannel Marketing for the Neiman Marcus Group where he drove major strategic initiatives and led the company’s multichannel integration, loyalty marketing and customer insight strategy. As a speaker, Steve delivers keynotes, leads workshops and moderates expert panels on how retailers and brands can reinvent themselves to thrive during an age of digital disruption. Steve’s blog at www.stevenpdennis.com is one of the retail industry’s most followed and his thoughts on the future of retail have been featured at Bloomberg/Business Week, CNBC, Fortune, the Harvard Business Review, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and many other media channels. Steve is a member of several for-profit and non-profit Board of Directors and Advisory Boards. In the social impact sector, he is a long-term partner/Board member with Social Venture Partners Dallas and its immediate past Board Chair. Steve is also actively engaged as a Mentor and Advisor to the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ GroundFloor Social Innovation Accelerator. He has worked with numerous non-profits and social enterprises to amplify their impact, including Education Opens Doors, the Akola Project, Bonton Farms, Children@Risk and Leadership ISD. Steve received his MBA from Harvard and a BA from Tufts University.

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