For the best part of the last 10 years I haven’t been able to explain to my mum what I actually do for a living. Both with startups I have created and jobs I have had. Probably more so with the paid roles I have had. And this is an important insight into the world today and how we all fit into it.
How my mum responded to various activities I have undertaken:
My blog: Why do you do that? What is it about? Who pays you for it? Why do people want to read about startups?
Startup School: How can it be a school if they don’t get a certificate at the end of it? What curriculum do you follow?
Rentoid.com: Why would people trust strangers with their things? Why would people rent or share stuff when they can just buy it?
Director of Strategy: If you don’t write the ads or make the film at this Advertising agency, what do you actually do? I don’t get it.
Twitter: Who cares about what you have to write? Why can’t you write more than 140 characters? What do you mean people follow you?
In fact, without being disparaging, we need to ensure our mums don’t understand what we do. It’s the best indication that we are a scarce resource in a rapidly changing landscape.
When everyone understands what we do, it almost certainly means there are plenty of people who can do it. And if there are lots of people who do what we can do, then there is less chance we can extract significant value in the marketplace.