Is the Social Business Gold Rush Over?

In U.S. primary schools, children learn about their state’s history around third grade. In Georgia, they hear about James Oglethorpe and settement by convicts. In Texas, they learn about a rocky relationship with Mexico. In California, they read about the 19th century discovery of gold and take field trips to pan for any remaining traces in the northern hills.


Yosemite National Park


As adults, most of us have an abridged understanding of the gold rush story — accidental discovery, influx of prospectors and displacement of native people, and the eventual naming of a pretty good NFC football team. For businesspeople, the lesson learned is repeated over and over again: as a class of participants, it was the outfitters (e.g. Levi Strauss) that made big money, not the prospectors.

It’s amazing to think about this story and watch the dynamics play out again in social media.

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