The Social Shark Tank

by Jay Deragon on 10/11/2011

Shark Tank is a reality television series based on the Sony TV/BBCTV Dragons’ Den.It premiered on ABC television in August 2009 and features a panel of five wealthy entrepreneurs who are called “sharks”. The panel evaluates and negotiates investment proposals from entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs would come into a room with five sharks, present their business plan and model then the sharks would ask questions. When the entrepreneur didn’t have the right answer is like fresh blood in water filled with swarming sharks.

While not a broadcast on a reality show made for TV the reality is we see brands presenting their products and services every second of every day to crowds within their reach.  The crowd’s reaction can be silent or it can be like sharks smelling fresh blood leading to a victim waiting to be devoured.

The Web Is the Tank and We Are the Sharks

The web has become one big advertising bill board. Marketers view us as eyeballs that deserve their attention so the “tank” has become cluttered with irrelevant messages. Then comes social media and now every brand is attempting to become our friend thinking we all need them as a friend, we don’t. As Doc Searls has said “We regard advertising as an independent variable: something ya gotta have. But in fact advertising is a dependent variable. The independent variable is the individual human being. As Chris Locke put it so perfectly nine years ago, we are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. e are human beings and our reach exceeds your grasp. Deal with it. What we need is to equip demand with better ways of engaging supply. Not just better ways for supply to create and manipulate demand.

The “tricks of the advertising trade” are no longer considered to be “social” and brands that continue in those practices are at risk of being bitten by consumers, the sharks in the tank. The little fish in the tank are the brands and their marketing machines are doing nothing more that stirring the water and irritating the sharks.  This is also true of employer/employee relations. The more employers use the web incorrectly, hiding behind politically correct languages and slick marketing, the greater the risk of being bitten by the employees, the sharks.

The Social Shark Tank represents a reversal in power and influence. the video below is from a movie titled “Swimming With The Sharks“. There are a few spots where graphic language is used but consider the context as we become the sharks and brands and employers that don’t serve our needs and don’t listen will be on the receiving end of the message.



{ 1 comment }

Amanda March 4, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I love Shark Tank, it’s a great reasource for entrepreneurs! I’ve had a few business ideas myself but am never sure if they’re good enough to “make” it. I recently read a book titled “HOT or NOT: How to Know if Your Business Idea Will Fly or Fail”, and it helped me pin point the areas of weakness in my idea so I could work on them before trying to find investors. If any of you other aspiring entrepreneurs out there would like some help, I’d definitely recommend checking this book out!

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