In his latest NYTimes editorial, Thomas Friedman continues his ongoing crusade to drive up American competitiveness in an age where the world is flat and we compete with everyone at all times.  In this edition, he tells us, “Everyone today… needs to think of himself as an ‘artisan’…and bring something extra to their jobs…Average is over. We’re in the age of ‘extra,’ and everyone has to figure out what extra they can add to their work to justify being paid more than a computer.”

He goes on to describe several services that can be done by anyone with training – barber, nurse, or waiter – and says that only the ones who do something extra, who add their passion and provide more value, can be truly successful and earn wages above the average.

Have you ever paid more for a basic service because the provider offered a little something extra?  Certainly we do that at nice restaurants all the time.  How about the dry-cleaner who offers to drop off your clothes at home?  Wouldn’t you purchase your computer from a store that offered extra support?

The real question is this – what are you doing to knock your customer’s socks off every single day?  Are you adding value to their lives by giving them more than they paid for?  Are you differentiating yourself from the next guy?  Or the next 100 guys online who do the same thing you do?

If not, look over your shoulder.  The guy coming up behind you is.


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