New time calls for new rules – First 5000 puts the individual back in business

| October 25, 2010

When I was a child I must have hated authority. It might have been because I was brought up in a Communist country where authority was pervasive.

I never wanted to be run by anybody but myself and that has stayed with me.

I believe people should not have to ask permission to do things, or to have their thoughts filtered through others. In Australia we have a democratic framework which allows people to live their lives more or less the way they want to.

Through history growth in population required society to bring in a management class, which slowly usurped the role of the owners as it were, and that is now in very significant proportion ruling our lives. I describe these representative groups as aggregators, organisations such as collective agencies, associations and lobby groups. These groups have been put together because of the impossibility in the past for every one of us to act as individuals and as our own spokespeople.

Aggregator organisations have their place. But what has happened in the last 15 years through the internet means individuals can claim back a certain degree of independence. It means we can be direct participants rather than have to act through representative bodies.

First 5000 will use the internet and web 2.0 technologies to reclaim some of that territory for the individual.

Old way, new way

We have experienced a paradigm shift in engagement through the directness of the internet. The old way was about aggregation, excising, reducing. The new way is one based on mass production methods, but individually tailored.

We all share issues around investment, regulation, access to markets and so on. Those issues might be relevant collectively, but not at the same time. We run our own business 24 hours a day. So what we need is a different way of engaging and having access to government and access to each other unfiltered, in real time, 24 hours a day.

I want First 5000 to recognize that every business is unique with specific issues at any one point in time. I want to be able to provide the means to service that uniqueness.

First 5000 endevaours to use technology to cater to need as it arises on an individual basis. We are talking about just-in-time engagement and direct access – access to each other, to politicians, to decision-makers – when we need it and what we need.

The power of connection

Business is not a complicated endeavour. Business is about doing things and delivering things. It is about engagement, and that is what we are doing through First 5000.

So who do we want to connect with? We want to connect with customers and prospects, that’s basically what business is about. First 5000 provides a marketplace where we can do that. Where we connect among ourselves and with large companies. It is a small enough group that that can be done on a one-on-one basis.

Opportunity knocks

There are 2 million businesses registered in Australia. Medium-size enterprises account for just 4 per cent of all actively trading businesses and yet contribute roughly one quarter of GDP. Within this group, only around 6, 500 companies turnover more than $10 million per annum; these are the companies eligible for First 5000 membership.

Because this is such a significant part of the economy, we should strive to capture the power and weight of the group.

With First 5000 you get the benefit of the community by voicing your views, with the authority of the community behind you. You get immediate feedback. You have access to a market which is uncluttered by the noise of smaller players who are not relevant, or other non-relevant companies.

First 5000 will increase the business opportunities that are now being lost in a sea of noise because problems and solutions can’t really find each other. Members can give access to their products through this market to others. They also have for the first time direct access point to large corporations which are the Category Partners.

A new model

I want to increase access to individuals and to businesses on a one-on-one basis through First 5000.

I want to be able to reach the person such as a politician who I have elected to represent me – I don’t need to put an intermediary between myself who second guesses what I actually need today.  I’m not saying  aggregators and chambers of commerce should disappear. I am simply saying they have grown out of necessity, and now we have technology that can give us a direct voice. It’s a new model on new foundations. It is a paradigm shift that is only possible because of the technology that has emerged in the last 15 years.

I believe strongly that if a paradigm shift occurs, you cannot use the old foundations because foundations will pre-determine the shape of the organisations and the building you have built. You need to build on new foundations for change to manifest itself.

Welcome to First 5000.  

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Peter Fritz

Peter Fritz AM is Managing Director of Global Access Partners, and Group Managing Director of TCG – a diverse group of companies which over the last 38 years has produced many breakthrough discoveries in computer and communication technologies. He chairs a number of influential government and private enterprise boards and is active in the international arena, including having represented Australia on the OECD Small and Medium Size Enterprise Committee.