New Book Reveals Secrets for Adapting to Future Changes

Scott Scantlin’s new book The Relevance Gap is a much-needed aid for anyone who wants to make sure they won’t be left behind as we move into the third decade of the twenty-first century and beyond.

Scantlin begins by defining the relevance gap as “the distance between where you are and the speed of the world changing around you.” If we don’t keep up with how the world is changing around us, we will be left behind. For most of us, that means staying on top of ever-changing technology, but it is more than that. It is realizing the skills you already have that you can evolve and use to stay relevant as the world changes around you. Scantlin once asked his ninety-four-year-old grandmother what her secret was and she replied, “Stay away from senior living facilities and never stop moving. When you stop moving, you die!” Scantlin reminds us that the same is true in our career-we are either expanding or contracting; there is no in between.

Scantlin spends considerable time discussing how the world is changing and how the younger generations are driving that change. He discusses how Millennials and Gen Z, unlike earlier generations of consumers, are not driven by survival or the need for extreme wealth, but rather, they want to belong to a community and make a difference in the world. We need to keep up with them by adapting to their communication preferences (they’d much rather text or use social media to communicate than talk on the phone or have an in-person meeting), and we need to get behind the products and services that serve the causes they support. As Scantlin says, “By 2020, Gen Z will account for about 40 percent of all customers, and they’re prepared to speak with their dollars.”

Doing things the old way also will no longer work in the future. A perfect example is how taxi cab companies are suffering in the wake of Uber. Scantlin states: “The future of artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, and blockchain does not belong to big business; it belongs to the creators of disruptive innovation who make things simpler, easier, and more affordable. For example, Netflix owns no movie theaters, Uber owns no taxi cabs, Airbnb owns no hotels, and LegalShield owns no law firms, yet they are dominating their market categories. What do they all have in common? They are disruptive, technology-based companies that connect the consumer to the product through a mobile app.”

Scantlin knows what he is talking about. He shares his own story of how the market collapse of 2006-2008 made his marketing business irrelevant. Now he’s revamped his business to make it scalable, and he is on target for soon achieving $1 million in residual income.

But how do we stay relevant? It’s actually easier than you might think. As Scantlin explains, it’s about being aware of what is going on in the marketplace and using that knowledge to your benefit. For example, biohacking may sound like some scary scientific experiment out of a horror film, but Scantlin brings it down to a level we can all understand by explaining that companies are already doing it. They are analyzing how the brain reacts and using that to sell products. For example, Facebook has been built to create dopamine rushes that become addictive. Scantlin also talks about the power of the subconscious and how we can learn to use our subconscious to our benefit so our brain works for us when we may not be working.

One of my favorite discussions in The Relevance Gap is about knowing what your core values are. Just because the world is changing around us doesn’t mean we have to be like a leaf blowing about wherever the wind takes us. Instead, if we establish our core values, we will know what is important to us and abide and follow after those things rather than chasing after the latest trend. We will then be steady like a tree, able to withstand the strongest storm. In my opinion, the chapter on core values alone is worth the price of this book.

Scantlin discusses many other things, which surprisingly, turn out to be more about how we can cultivate self-esteem, eliminate negative self-talk, set goals, and develop a vision for what we want. Then we don’t have to worry about chasing after the latest technology trends, except those relevant to our purposes. We can develop clarity on what we want and pursue it in a focused, career-oriented, purpose-driven way that will benefit us, our industry, our clientele, and our relationships. This honest and visionary focus is refreshing, eliminates fear, and is, best of all, realistic.

I really feel that in The Relevance Gap Scantlin has captured in a nutshell the essential elements to stay relevant in the 2020s or any decade to come. It’s a book that can benefit any reader, from high school students to ninety-four-year-old grandmothers and everyone in between.

Not All Tragic – The Comedy of Shakespeare’s "Hamlet"

One of the key elements of Hamlet apart from the revenge and amidst all the bloodshed there is a sense of dark humour that takes place by the key character Hamlet. This dark humour is used most effectively. An example in Hamlet would be in Act 4 scene 2 where Rosencrantz and Guildenstern go searching for Hamlet just as he has hidden away the dead body of Polonius. In this scene it starts with Hamlet saying “safely stowed!” This indicated towards the dark humour and here Hamlet talks about the dead body as if it were a piece of meat that he put away to be safely stored away. He goes on to say “Who calls on Hamlet?” This can be seen to be deliberately bringing out the farcical element.

One of the good characteristics that Hamlet has is his subtle and constant ability to use humour in every situation. It is used almost in every serious situation or right after a serious situation and it shows the essential soundness of his mind. This also goes on to show constantly that Hamlet is indeed not consumed by madness nor is he mad at any point though it may seem to other characters in Hamlet that he is. Though Hamlet is troubled by the events that take place to those around him making his task of revenge and that too being told this by a ghost is enough to unbalance almost any mind, Hamlet keeps a calm and collected mind in every situation even the more complex ones.

The quality of humour is important in comedy, it is more important in tragedy, whether it is in the tragedy of life or in the tragedy of the theatre. In terms of the element of humour in the play of Hamlet for instance, the darkness of tragedy is made blacker by the jewels of humour with which it is portrayed. This can be best shown in Act 1 Scene 2 where hamlet says “A little more than kin, and less than kind.” This is said in the form of a pun as here hamlet in his typical humour characteristic does a play on words as he indicates that the kings designates himself as not only Hamlets father but he is also his uncle and he is acting in a way that could be seen as unnatural. The reason this would be seen as unnatural is that the king is Hamlets uncle yet he is taking the role of his father and trying to bond with Hamlet in a father figure level which can be seen as an unnatural thing to do. After Hamlet says this the King replies “how is it that the clouds still hang on you?” “Not so, my lord; I am too much in the son,” says Hamlet, toying with grief. Again we see Hamlets humorous side especially whilst he is depressed as the king uses the metaphor of clouds to hint that Hamlet is still upset and depressed and typical to Hamlets characteristic his reply is a sarcastic pun on the words of sun and son.

In the graveyard scene in Act 5 Scene 1 with the clowns Hamlet is shown to take part in a grim and melancholy humour. On the first skull he says: “It might be the pate of a politician… one that would circumvent God, might it not?” In my opinion this would be the best example of the comic tool being used most efficiently and to its most effectiveness as essentially here Hamlet makes light of the serious situation he is in which is in a graveyard whilst being face to face with skulls of those who once lived but now are dead. There is also a light humour theme when the gravedigger just throws out the skulls from the graves.

In conclusion I think that Shakespeare uses the tool of comedy in Hamlet very well. The evidence of just how effective Shakespeare is with using comedy as a tool in Hamlet is best shown in the gravedigger scene. In this scene Ophelia is being buried after she killed herself in the church which back when the play was first written which was in a time where Catholicism was powerful and so a person who killed themselves and was being buried in church would have cause a few people to get upset the serious mood is quickly lightened through the humour of verbal joust which takes place between Hamlet and the gravedigger.

Preparing a Business Plan – Components of a Business Strategy

Who do you want to help or serve with your business? What issue or problem does your product or service solve? What is the composite of the profile of the members of your target audience? What do these questions have to do with business planning?

In Starting to Plan

All of the above questions need to be answered directly or indirectly in some part of the plan that identifies your business strategy. At some point, the plan needs to be as detailed as possible and written even if it is not written initially. A record needs to be made of ideas that are attempted that were unsuccessful because of market timing or lack of resources.

Start a checklist that is expanded from the executive summary draft. On the checklist, make sure that you include information that is needed for funding sources. Information needed for making decisions for starting, developing and growing the business should also be included. “As texts that represent a given organization’s strat­egy, strategic plans are of course specific to that organization, and yet the notion has a generic quality that draws on shared institutional understandings of what such a text should include (its substance), how it should be structured (its form) and what it is intended to achieve (its communicative purposes)” (Cornut, Giroux & Langley, 2012, 22). Keep in mind that time spent in business planning could make the difference between a successful business venture and one the struggles and eventually fails. Be prepared to do research to find needed information. Remember if all you do is copy what everyone else is doing you may risk ending up with only the level of success of everyone else.

Identify the personal brand of the CEO in order to insure that it is in line with the business brand. The vision and mission should show its relationship to the target market in the marketing message that is cohesive on the web and in printed materials like mailing pieces, letterhead and business cards.

Plan Inclusions

The master copy of the business plan will include information and sections that may not be contain in other versions for some audiences. The purpose of having a plan that includes everything is to create a resource to be shared with specific audiences for specific purposes at the appropriate time. There may be a risk in sharing the entire plan to the wrong audience. Therefore, it will be necessary to cut some of the information out of the plan according to the audience for which it is intended.

Work in process

The business plan of a thriving business is expected to be forever changing to reflect the current operating activities of the business based on what ideas have been tried and adjusted to best serve the stakeholders of the firm. When the business plan stops being a changeable document, the business is endanger of stopping its growth and development processes.


Cornut, F., Giroux, H. & Langley, A. (2012).The strategic plan as a genre. Discourse & Communication, 6, 1, 21-54.