Tonight I started the book “The Start-up Of You” by Reid Hoffman (cofounder and chairman of LinkedIn) and Ben Casnocha. The subtitle of the book is:

Adapt to the future
Invest in yourself
And transform your career

That subtitle and what I read in the first chapter brought to mind my challenge to records and information managers. The authors spends a lot of time talking about the auto industry in Detroit and their failure to adapt. As records and information managers we need to be able to adapt to the changing information landscape. To quote the authors, “Adaptability creates stability.”

A concept the authors talk about in the first chapter that I anticipate will be in the whole book is that of permanent beta. This is mentioned in the dust jacket and it is a mindset that we must have if we are going to tackle electronic records and provide governance over information. “Permanent beta is essentially a lifelong commitment to continuous growth.”

The biggest challenge for adaptability is that, unlike those in other industries, we do not see the immediate danger of not adapting. It is easy to get the false sense of security that indictment will not happen to us. This can lull us into trusting past success. The authors state, “The moment you begin to take success for granted is the moment a competitor lunges for the jugular.” Remove the phrase competitor and replace it with disruptive technologies, risk of indictment or whatever is most applicable for your situation.

Over the next couple of months (seven chapters and the plan is a chapter a week) I want to blog through this book to find out what lessons we can learn from Silicon Valley so that our information governance programs can be continually adapting and in permanent beta.