Define the Internet.
In one sentence.
This should be easy: you’re using it right now, after all.
And, since all of your friends and colleagues live, work and play on the Internet, too, I’m sure they could do the same thing, and everyone’s answer would be the same, because everyone uses the same Internet and shares the same understanding of it.
So go ahead, define it. Explain how it works.
I’m sorry, was that a cough? All I heard was something muddy about “networks.”
Oh, you’re not so sure?
How could the transformative technology upon which your entire life rests escape even the most basic definition?
The answer, of course, is that you don’t care how it works. You care how it works for you.
And this is the central opportunity facing the growing industry of blockchain evangelists.
(These evangelists, should they be reading this article, are of course midway through their introductory remarks on the origins and nature of human networking. We’ll move on without them, trusting they’ll catch up in time.)
They tell us blockchain will change the world. Some call it the most important technological revolution of all time.
But they don’t understand their audience: dweebs like us.
In their fervor to spread the blockchain gospel, these experts expend the majority of their communications energy trying to explain the foundational underpinnings of the technology in published articles.
“Imagine a ledger in a bank,” they tell us ledger-immune dopes for the thousandth time.
At best, after suffocating us beneath an extended accounting lesson, the author might offer a few short examples of how blockchain will change something in a specific field, like healthcare or retail. These examples generally receive a fraction of the care, because of course, they aren’t authored by a healthcare or a retail expert, they’re authored by a blockchain expert.
This approach emphasizes what the blockchain people find fascinating, while deemphasizing our interests. It wouldn’t be a problem if their goal wasn’t to convert as many of us lousy impediments to technological progress as fast as they can. Revolutionaries don’t like to wait, after all.
They seem to think the problem is that we don’t understand blockchain. But they don’t get it: we will never understand blockchain! What we need to be able to wrap our simplistic, selfish little minds around is what we’ll do with it.
To accelerate the adoption of blockchain technologies throughout the global economy, they should focus on engaging us with stories and visions on their terms, in their language.
I’m in commercial real estate. I’m an architect. I’m a plumber. I own a small chain of local coffee shops. I’m a pro wrestler with a fledgling movie career.
What does blockchain mean for me?
How might my world change because of it? What opportunities might I be able to take advantage of if I get ahead of the curve? What will I miss out on if I don’t?
In other words, enough about your blockchain, let’s talk about me!
Come into my world and hang out for a while. Lend me your ears. Listen to my problems, my opportunities and all of the daily drudgery that defines my existence.
Then, and only then, should you begin to speak.
Tell me a story—about me. Paint me a picture—of me. Help me see what you see, but for me, doofus, not you!
Show me how blockchain will make me rich, famous, beautiful, desired and loved. Or, at a bare minimum, show me how to stay employed.
A sincere effort on behalf of the custodians of our future to spend more time in our shoes and less time in theirs will bring upon the change they so desperately desire faster and more efficiently.
This, of course, isn’t just the secret to accelerating the growth of blockchain. It’s good communication.
But take note, you architects of our common destiny, that I didn’t waste your time explaining the fundamentals of communication, because you don’t care about that.
I showed you how it could work for you.
Now go forth, blockchain people, and change my world.