I went to a Bob Dylan show the other night and was struck by how appropriate the lyrics to “The Times Are A Changin’” are to today’s business climate.

I couldn’t help but rearrange the lyrics a bit to the way I think the song should sound to today’s small business owner.

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you sell
And admit that the waters
Around you have swelled
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your business to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come bloggers and commenters
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' whose business
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come vc ’s, bankers
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come ceo ’s and marketers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.


Social order in the 1960’s is to Small Business in the 2000’s. The way societal hierarchy (between races, between genders, etc) was broken down in the 1960’s relative to the 1950’s reminds me of the way organizational hierarchy (between organizational levels, between buyer & seller) is breaking down today. The advent of high speed networks and search engines is making information transparent immediately which is flattening organizational structures and flattening markets. The times they are a changin’ (for the better)!

 

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Originally published Nov 16, 2006 2:40:00 PM, updated July 11 2013