Frank Fenner is an eminent Australian scientist; he is not some “whacky weirdo”. He helped eradicate smallpox from the world and is a Fellow of the Royal Society – an accolade that is not won easily. So, we need to sit up and take notice when he says that “humans will be extinct in 100 years“. That’s right, children being born this week will be amongst the last of Homo sapiens to walk on this planet. Far from human beings being able to save the Earth, Professor Fenner is confident we have little time left here.
Of course, it may be that Professor Fenner is merely saying this to get “some action” – to get the world’s leaders to do something about population growth and environmental damage, which are the two key components in the potential ending of human life on this planet. Maybe it is a “scare tactic” of sorts. But then eminent scientists are not usually given to scare tactics. Yes, they are always controversial – some went against conventional wisdom by saying the Earth was not flat, others provoked outrage when they suggested the Earth was not the centre of the universe – but leading scientists who gain respect of their peers, like Professor Fenner, are not usually playing politics. They are stating things as they see them.
So, it’s possible he is right; it may be that Homo sapiens will be gone and forgotten before the Football Association ever decides on how to run the national team, or before the G20 make a statement that is more than just fudge and bluster. It means that if humans want to do anything they have to do it NOW…!
In other words, procrastination is no longer an option, especially in the online world. Consider Google’s delay in organising its own social network. Facebook get on and “DO IT” while Google seems to keep on chatting. They eventually set up Buzz (same name as the Yahoo! competition anyway) but that went down like the proverbial lead balloon. So now, Google is rumoured to be working on a new social network called “Google Me” which is supposedly a “Facebook Killer”. Yeah, right. Google needs to face up to the fact that Facebook is so far ahead of them they are going to be almost impossible to catch. Procrastination was the Google problem. Yahoo! had social features for years before Google considered them – and online networks like Ecademy have been known to Google for over a decade. It’s not as though social networking is a surprise to them..! The main reason Google is behind is because of delay, procrastinating.
And so it is with your website. Your competitors are doing things online because they get on and do them. If you procrastinate, if you delay, if you “thoughtfully consider”, they will simply just act. The difference between online success and online failure is a six-letter word – ACTION.
Companies that take action succeed – even if it is the wrong action, they learn from it and move on. If you take no action, or delay action, you can’t even learn from the experience. Before the Internet came along procrastination was not too much of an issue – it took everyone about the same time to do anything using traditional methods. Now, with online technologies and global 24/7 access to advice and support a company can achieve things rapidly which only a few years ago would take, well, years.
If you want to achieve online success you need to act, rather than procrastinate, delay or think things over. Lack of action will allow your competitors to steal your market – ask Google. And besides, if you don’t take action you could well find that Frank Fenner is right and that the human race is on its way out before you can reap any benefits.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+