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The Role of Sidekicks in the Next Economy

Guides to Self Improvement will be the New Global Brands in the coming Hero's Journey Economy

The new marketplace will be one where consumers spend a considerable amount of their discretionary dollars on personal transformation and improvement. This new era will be called the Hero’s Journey Economy. Joseph Campbell points out in his bestseller, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, that across all cultures and throughout history, humankind has been hardwired to take on challenges and journeys of transformation.  A common theme in these journeys is that people looking for personal development reach out to companions and sidekicks to aid in their adventures.

Image Credit: Bruce Lee as Kato

In many cases for profound personal transformation to take place, the traveler or hero is pushed to their brink and often gets to an “all is lost” moment before tangible change occurs.  These assistants in the quest play a critical part in that they bring a specific set of skills to the journey that aids the traveler through this challenging and soul-searching time.

  • Complementary or specialized skills – Assistants often have a unique specialization in a given area that provides aid during the adventure.
  • Belief in the goal – Sidekicks are not passive watchers of events but often have an equal passion for a successful outcome.
  • A different perspective – Companions can provide unique insight and can offer up tools or advice that propel the hero through a challenge.
  • Encouragement – Real change is hard and is fraught with multiple setbacks. Sidekicks can inspire when the mind of the traveler grows weary or discouraged.

Not too long ago, a sidekick was hard to find and was left to chance meetings.   Sidekicks needed to be living in the same locale. It required a fair amount of luck to find just the right person that had the specific skills necessary to help in the journey.  The details of how Alexander Graham Bell met Watson or how Warren Buffett met Charlie Munger are great origin stories that could be movies unto themselves.

Image Credit Fortune Munger and Buffett

In the Hero’s Journey economy, technology will change all that. The internet, mobile phones, social media, and collaboration tools make finding and working with a sidekick on a project much more accessible and efficient.  Specialized freelancers now stand at the ready and are available to assist on short notice and with flexible pricing models based on the project.  Web designers, life coaches, fitness trainers, and meditation guides all can be easily found in minutes.  Reviews, ratings, and comments from other clients allow people to tap into the wisdom of crowds for a personalized fit. In this new economy, people on a quest may not even meet or speak with their sidekick.  The guidance, assistance, and skill transfer can occur virtually through YouTube, Podcasts, and Blogs.

Credit Image: Brady Guerro and Belichick

Technology also provides easy access to experts and the latest ideas on a specific transformation.  Alex Guerro, Tom Brady’s fitness guru, offers online assistance to individuals using the same techniques and tools that have helped Tom Brady become the greatest professional football player of all time and have helped him to play in the NFL for 20 years.  

YouTube provides access to famous instructors in areas of personal development and for all skill levels for free. Training on a Peloton Bike includes access to exceptional spin instructors and allows you to build rivalries with people halfway around the world all from your home.

In this new Hero’s Journey Economy, many times the sidekicks and assistants helping on a transformation may not even be human.

  • The Apple watch tracks multiple bio readings during physical activity.
  • Nike Go provides progress mile updates and encouragement to an individual’s headphones.
  • WW and Lose it, are just two apps designed to help individuals with weight and fitness goals.
  • Alexa, Google Assistant, and Bixby are AI driven digital aides that can schedule reminders and soon will be able to provide recommendations based on an individual’s mood or mental state.

Next generation sidekicks will tap into vast reservoirs of data to offer personalized coaching and advice based on personal readings and progress against the journeys.  For example, Headspace, the company behind the successful meditation app, has behavioral scientists, meditation experts, and rich data collected from all users and combines this information to optimize meditation results for the individual.  Overtime headspace is getting smarter about how people new to meditation either succeed or fail in building a mindfulness practice. Headspace can quickly identify the personality type and tweak the recommended path for that new user, essentially working behind the scenes to hack the process to ensure transformational success.   

Image Credit : HeadSpace

These individual apps will soon converge through the use of AI and Machine Learning to create uber sidekicks that can provide comprehensive transformational guidance and expertise across a full host of criteria.  Transformational sidekicks that consistently provide successful change outcomes will become the new global brands of this Hero’s Journey Economy.  These brands will take on a unique personal relationship as a trusted advisor and lifelong companion to individuals.  Products and services not in this inner circle may find themselves as a less relevant commodity or may not be needed at all

For a whitepaper or to have someone speak at an event on the Hero Journey Economy – www.theherosjourneyeconomy.com

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