Imagine you are a wealthy aristocrat in the early 1900’s. Suddenly, your posh neighborhood is invaded by the “new rich,” people from poor, underprivileged families who have made recent fortunes in steel, railroads, and retail. Technically, they are every bit as rich as you, but practically, they share almost none of the values that you and your old money friends have come to celebrate. Your previous criteria for judging people as either in or outside your social class fail you. You can no longer be sure that everyone at your country club shares the aristocratic values of your friends, family, and predecessors.
As a necessity, you design new, more subtle criteria—criteria that are obvious only to those who have enjoyed wealth their entire lives, but invisible to those who are newly wealthy. Perhaps there is a certain way you wear your suit, stir your tea, or twirl your mustache. Once these small mannerisms and tendencies percolate throughout your community, you can once again judge people at a moment’s glance as either being in or outside your group. This process is known as cultural sophistication, and it makes a huge impact in your business—whether you realize it or not.
In the Digital Age, cultural sophistication has taken on a new meaning. Sophistication today often means owning the newest iPhone, using the newest hot app, or having a plethora of followers on the newest social network. It’s not that owning the newest iPhone makes you better at your job…anymore than twirling your mustache a certain way makes you a better aristocrat. It’s simply that people who understand the subtleties of cultural sophistication tend to apply their cultural advantages across the board, whether it be in the purchase of the hot new gadget before it goes mainstream or the deployment of new technologies to best represent a client. Detail orientation means understanding and providing for every detail—not just the ones that make an immediate, measurable impact in the bottom line.
With that in mind, I’d like to share one quick method for amplifying your technical cultural sophistication—find your secret weapon app. A secret weapon app is an app that you love using, that you expect to be big soon, that isn’t well known yet. Having a secret weapon app gives you an opportunity at any lunch meeting, social outing, or business situation to display your cultural sophistication without being obnoxious. “Have you seen the new x app,” always captures peoples’ attention. As a bonus, it usually starts a conversation about apps that the rest of the group loves using. After a while, you don’t even need to go looking for new secret weapon apps, because every conversation provides you with a few more.
Okay, comment time. What’s your secret weapon app?
Categorized in: Runway Blog