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Why the Speed of Marketplace Drift is a Concern for IR#4 Businesspeople

The use of computers and the internet are speeding up how the marketplace drifts in The Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR#4).

Marketplace drift is the name we at The Aji Network give to the continuous appearance of changes in the marketplace, or the marketplace environment, caused by fundamental forces that affect everyone’s concerns, situations and practices. It is always a concern for ambitious businesspeople for three reasons.

Marketplace drift is a concern for businesspeople

First, it produces threats, which are different degrees and likelihood of harm to their concerns, situations and capabilities or to the fulfillment of ambitions.

Marketplace drift eventually makes all business offers, practices, narratives and strategies common and then obsolete.

Second, it produces new opportunities, which are “real” structures or components in the marketplace that affect concerns, situations and capacities to think and act effectively, such as new offers, practices, tools or laws.

Ambitious businesspeople must continually exploit new opportunities to accumulate power and counter inevitable reductions in value to their current offers and practices.

Third, it produces new obligations, which are requirements to organize thought and action respectfully by continually accumulating new knowledge and power to cope with threats and exploit opportunities.

Disrespect for marketplace drift, which characterizes the thoughts and actions of IR#3 business labor, results in loss of opportunity to compete effectively to “earn a living” in IR#4.

To earn a living in IR#4 means to earn and save enough money to afford immediate expenses and fund 25+ years of old age, or roughly $400k to $4m in annual income.

Five fundamental forces cause marketplace drift

Innovative offers and practices produced by competitors, which are also sometimes called “competitive pressures”.

This category is sometimes broken down into its own groups of changes businesspeople need to anticipate in order to fulfill their intentions.

Competitors are under constant pressure from marketplace drift to produce competitive advantages and superior value with innovative offers and practices that we characterize as minor, substantial, major and radical.

Every successful innovation produces two outcomes simultaneously.

First, it improves customers’, employers’, employees’ or colleagues’ capacities to think and act more effectively to take care of a concern or produce a situation.

Second, it produces new breakdowns or opportunities that can be exploited with even better offers and practices.

New technologies

Technologies are human practices for taking care of concerns or producing situations. Tying one’s shoelaces is a “low-tech” technology. Practices that use computer-driven tools are “high-tech” technologies.

New tools are opportunities people exploit to invent new practices to take care of concerns, produce situations or acquire even greater capabilities to think and act autonomously, strategically and powerfully.

The new practices that people invent make the production of new offers possible and constitute “marketplace drift” by making existing offers and practices common or obsolete.

Changing Economies

New methods of manufacturing, distribution and transaction change everyone’s spaces of possibilities for thought and action.

They produce:

New markets — flash drives and cell phones

Changed markets — mail delivery and air travel

Obsolete markets — bank tellers and record players

Changing Politics

Politics are the “rules of the game” people and cultures invent and enforce.

Some politics are formalized and codified into laws by governments.

Some politics are informal and enforced by social pressure.

The rules of the game always take 3 fundamental forms:

What people must do

What people may not do

What people are allowed to do by choice or under certain conditions

New rules change people’s spaces of possibilities for thought and action when producing offers or performing practices to produce competitive advantages and superior value.

Changing Demographics

Changes in people or a marketplace’s population equal changes in concerns, situations and capabilities for thought and action.

When there are more old people in a market, more of one gender than another, more educated people, or more poor people than wealthy ones, then different offers, practices, narratives and strategies are valued.

Exploiting marketplace drift requires “strategic knowledge”

Computer-driven tools have given individuals and small groups enormous new technical capacities to communicate, coordinate actions, and design fresh, new, and highly-valued business offers, practices, narratives and strategies.

Businesspeople and business organizations who learn and use new, “strategic knowledge” are exploiting the opportunity while those with only common sense and common knowledge are being left behind.


This is an excerpt from a larger paper written by Toby Hecht, Founder of The Aji Network. To learn more about the knowledge and skills needed to compete successfully in IR#4’s new competitive situations, read the Preview of his upcoming book at

Start learning “strategic knowledge” today.

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