What Twitter Can Teach Us About Income Inequality

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In the past few years, talk about “income inequality” has leapt into the forefront of political discourse. Some say its not a problems while others say its not. Some say massive wealth redistributionist measures such as a higher minimum wages and higher taxes for high income earners are needed. Disagreements even exist to as acceptable levels of inequality in society;  little consensus on its roots and the possible solutions exist.

I have never taken such talk seriously for a number of reasons. First, such talk is not really about solving any problem but about politicians rallying interest groups to win elections with promises of a fix. Secondly, proposed solutions are silent on how to empower and make those at the bottom independent and self-sustaining individuals. Lastly, some policies advocated to address this issue while having the best of intentions actually do make matters worse.

I believe the issue is as big as to the extent by which it is created by political privilege and crony capitalism.  It should not be an issue if people are doing genuine and honest business but it should be an issue for people not doing so. But today, the line between where genuine market based business and crony capitalism starts and ends is murky in many cases.

Recently I have been reading The Social Organism by Oliver Lucket and Michael J. Casey. The authors contend that the emergence and  of social media has parallels with evolutionary biology – which they say can be compressed down to an “algorithm of life” – as social media keeps taking on more sophisticated forms through its constant interaction with humans. Furthermore, they say that this phenomenon is nothing new and should be seen as a positive and not a negative.

The authors made a curious comparison and statement. In talking about the reach of social media and how it parallels that of nation states, they talked about the parallels between Twitter usership and the famous income inequality graph. They then talked about how the share of those who have many followers and produce the most viral content on Twitter parallels the income graph graph.

Though I realize that care must be taken in trying to draw parallels between both because a lot more is at play than meets the eye, this got me thinking and making some comparisons. I reasoned that signing up for Twitter to produce content is relatively easy once an internet connection exist. I also reasoned that ability to produce engaging content will differ with those producing viral content being a small percentage.

In the real world, artificial barriers to entry and other impediments exist which protect incumbents and to a large degree are responsible for their position. In discussions of income distribution amazingly little talk is given to the role of political privilege and crony capitalism. It should be asked how this distribution will look if somehow all these impediments were removed tomorrow (fanciful thinking). I don’t know how it would look. But something tells me even though the shape of the distribution will change, it will still be very skewed in some form or the other.

Looked at another way, in commerce – just as in many areas of life – some are better than others in what they do either through superior training and experience or even just sheer talent. Some are exceptional business people who know how to judge conditions right while others are not so good just as in the social media world its a handful of talented people who produce the most viral content.

At the end of the day, this is a very complex issue with a lot more than meets the eye and many more variables at play than can be quantified. This is why careful and level headed analysis which can never be gotten in the emotion and cliche laden world of politics is needed in discussing this issue.

Keep Moving

Even if you are on the right track you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

– Will Rogers


In different post I’ve talked about how a few things here ad there on the margins done consistently over time produce big changes and results.

Ill confess that on some days, I simply don’t really feel like doing anything or feel overwhelmed and don’t really know where to begin.  But the I’ve learnt to over come this by getting just one thing done for my startup which I know puts it in the right direction. It could be as simple as updating my business contact list or making a few changes of letters used in email campaigns.

I have no clue what you do or what you goals and aspirations are. Even if you know exactly what your calling is, never get complacent. At the least, do a thing here and there each day and very soon you will be talking about sizable results.

What Advice Would I Give My 18 Year Old Self?

Stop overthinking and just do it!

I’ll confess that at times I enter periods of chronic overthinking and analysis paralysis. This is something I’ve had to tackle and am still tackling. I probably can’t count the number of ideas I’ve had which I overthought till I did nothing.

The solution is to come up with a quick idea and general outline of whatever you want to do and implement it. Then see what works and does not work, gain some knowledge, and iterate from there. This does not only help in entrepreneurship but in virtually all areas of life.

This is a key trait which separates those who talk from those who act while those who talk watch.

 

 

 

Patience

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

– Harriet Tubman


I’m a very patient person. But how I went from a once hot tempered adolescent  to a very patient person is something which amazes me at times.  This is one trait which has help me so far in my entrepreneurial journey and is continuously being tested. Simply put, this thing (i.e. entrepreneurship) is simply not for impatient people or people who are looking for quick results and quick answers.

Everyone can dream; that’s very easy. Few people can actually put their words into action. But very few people have the patience to slug it out when no easy answers exist and no magic-bullet solutions are in sight. But in the end, its those who slug it out who win and who reap the disproportionate benefits.

The Final Say

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”

– Og Mandino


Failure is never final. Failure is only a method of learning and making changes. What makes it final is giving up and giving in. As we enter the week with different goals and challenges, we must determine in our hearts that failure will never have the final say but we will have the final say.

The Art Of Pivoting

Humans are primed for inertia. People would prefer to continue on a certain course than change. I’ll confess that my inertia levels at times is probably beyond average and its something I battle against at times.  Deciding to become an entrepreneur this early without years of “work experience” is partly due to my awareness of this.

But for people to progress, they must beat inertia and the tendency to want to stay on the some path. People must have the ability to change course as fast as possible when it needs to be done.

In entrepreneurship, changing course is called pivoting. How rapid pivoting occurs can the difference between entrepreneurial success and failure. Not everyone is into entrepreneurship obviously. But this approach and insight can be carried into virtually all areas of life. In trying to get ahead in life, mastering the art of pivoting is key and whoever becomes a master of this skill is probably already ahead of at least 50% of their peers.

Below You And Beyond You

One thing I tend to see and also hear about are people who think certain things such as jobs and some task are simply “below them” and not things they can do. I sincerely feel sad for people with such sentiments because of their short term thinking and how they lock themselves out of possible opportunities which can help them get on in life.

I’m not really someone to air the in and outs of my life for public consumption. Its simply not part of my nature. But I can say in my entrepreneurial journey so far – something which if I never took the plunge now I know would never happen – one of the best lessons I’ve learnt so far is taking on task which some people might deamn as “below them” or even degrading. I can say that such helped me massively at those points in time and I don’t know where I would be now without such and I came out a much better person.

Look at it this way. For task which some people say are below them, they might miss out on gaining experience and key skills which can help them move up the ladder of life. They might even miss out on chance encounters with people who might change their lives and accelerate their career advancement in ways which might not have been possible through conventional routes.

People saying somethings are “below them” does not only happen on jobs which might not match what people think they are truly worth.  People saying somethings are “below them” happen within jobs they believe they are worth when ask to do small office task or task which they believe they should not be doing. The secret to overcoming this is never to complain or talk about how your job title does not include some task you are asked to do.  People are watching and its small things like that which count in big ways eventually. So, just do it!

I have a law, which I am sure exist all over the place in different forms: if you deamn somethings below you, many better things are going to be above you and out of your reach. 

Drop the mentality of somethings being below you. Do what you have to do when you have to do it and go to lengths – once obviously within ethical bounds – which very few people will go in order to advance in life. Most importantly, always have a positive attitude and believe that things will be better tomorrow regardless of how things seem and also believe its in your capacity to help in bringing about a better tomorrow.