Finding Treasure Among the Trash

09/08/2007 | 30 Comments

Man, I love this blog.

I enjoy the give-and-take of this group as we hammer-out the challenges and issues in the Attention Age.

Your comments provide great material for Part 2 of The Attention Age Doctrine, which will be ready later this month. Thanks for your contributions and your patience. I promise, it’s going to be great!

As you may realize, one of the best attention-holding features of blogging is the opportunity to keep conversations alive. I do it here as often as I can.

While each blog post may survive on its own merit, it is also possible – and encouraged – to carry thoughts from one post to another as a viral thread.

After all, this is how some of the best ideas are spread.

arrow_graph.gifThat said, let’s return to the topic of Return on Attention (ROA).

Return on attention is the performance metric by which we measure the value of the attention we “pay” to other people and ideas.

You’ll remember from a previous post that I asked about the return you are receiving from the attention you freely give to others. Thanks for your comments on this topic and keep them coming. You’ll see in a moment why I asked for them in the first place.

Think of ROA as a financial transaction.

When you pay for a product or service, you expect something of value in return:

– Pay for milk. Bring milk home and drink it.

– Pay for housecleaning services. Come home to a clean house.

– Pay for business coaching. Get Rich Schefren. 🙂

The return should always be of great value, otherwise, there’s no point in making the purchase.

Yet, as I’ve noted earlier, we tend to give our attention away to many things, asking little or nothing in return. Seems strange, especially if you are trying to succeed as an online entrepreneur.

Since attention is such a scarce resource, we should recognize its value and only exchange it for something of equal worth.

It’s like bartering diamonds for gold pieces. The value of each must be measured accordingly.

Yet each day, we let our mind and our attention wander away from our own business goals. We squander our intellectual capital and waste our energies on lesser subjects and ideas.

By doing so, we take our eyes off the ball with regard to our own business goals. We divide and subdivide our own attention to our detriment, diminishing our power to achieve.

Re-read that last sentence out loud. See if it applies to your own online business situation.

Giving away attention devalues its impact. It dulls the force of our competitive nature.

It’s like giving up diamonds for rubber bands. You probably wouldn’t do it if you were of sound mind – unless you received a helluva lot of rubber bands – so why do we constantly give away our valuable attention?

ROA often comes in the form of knowledge. It’s what we receive as a benefit for having paid attention to a customer, a client, a motivational speaker, or anything else.

What we derive from that experience should have its own reward for us, either in the form of financial gain, wisdom increase or future benefit.

Our goal, as always, is to convert that knowledge into wisdom.

Entrepreneurs are the alchemists of the online world. We are innovative enough to make gold out of straw. But we can’t afford to give away our well-earned wealth – in the form of attention – without receiving greater value for our efforts.

Global business strategist and author John Hagel III has his own take on ROA. He says it is “driven by the proliferation of options available to us in all domains of our life, increasing the relative scarcity of an increasingly valuable resource – our attention.

I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I didn’t. That’s why I’m giving him full credit.

Hagel suggests that virtual communities, such as this blog, can be powerful conduits in delivering ROA by enhancing good fortune.

In other words, you’ll become “lucky” just by paying attention to my blog. I completely agree.

Don’t you get a rush of excitement when you “accidentally” discover a valuable, relevant resource of information that you didn’t even know existed?That’s what the web site is all about. It creates value from other sites that we “stumble upon” as we navigate our way around the Web.

As a former baseball executive said a long time ago, “luck is the residue of design.” You’ll be amazed at how lucky you’ll feel when you do things with real purpose – not just out of habit – like searching for knowledge to grow your business.

The challenge is to harness the power of these valuable resources and derive a healthy return on the attention we give during our quest.

How can you connect with others to grow? How can you take advantage of your skills for finding relevant “treasure among the trash” and use the materials as key building blocks for your success?

Your attention becomes an investment in that success. You have to mine the gems before you realize their value.

Let’s put it to the test on this blog.

treasure.jpgThink like a big shot banker… Where will your attention receive the greatest “bang for the buck?”

Share your attention wealth with my blog readers.

Tell me your top three goals for getting a great return on your attention.

It is possible to find treasure in the trash, if you know how to pay attention.

Let’s see if we can turn that attention into business gold.

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