Inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of societal misfits — from convicts to literal and internet pirates — Alexa Clay and Kyra Maya Phillips set out on a journey through the underground economy. They studied underground innovation throughout history, across practices from art to technology, and all over the world. It turns out that us above-ground folks could learn a lesson or two about creativity from our subversive counterparts. Check out the 8 surprising key insights from The Misfit Economy:
Our social and professional environments are in flux, and a dose of misfit ingenuity can help you keep up with constant change.
The days of the one- or two-company career are long gone, and innovation and creativity are more sought-after than ever. Take a page from the misfit book and get familiar with constant change. Adaptability might just be your greatest asset.
The underground economy is more familiar than you might think.
Criminals disregard the rules and conventions of society, and inhabit an environment of fierce competition and rivalry. Sound familiar? The similarities between an entrepreneurial office and a ring of societal misfits shed light on the tools necessary to succeed.
Hustling isn’t a crime; it’s a way of life.
In the misfit economy, “hustle” means making something out of nothing. It means finding opportunity and acting on it immediately, with whatever resources you have at hand. Hustlers are committed to their goal in the face of potentially daunting odds, and are never stopped by roadblocks — just momentarily challenged.
Copycats might have the right idea after all.
Modeling your pursuits after another person’s idea isn’t stealing; it’s clever, practical appropriation. Copying business models, products, and ideas limits monopolies, and has led to some of the biggest success stories in recent history (Facebook, anyone?)
Collaborate, don’t compete. Abandon the hierarchy.
Misfits operate according to a more fluid hierarchy than traditional businesses. Remove the office walls, collaborate across departments and teams, and recognize each employee as a valuable contributor.
Hacking is bigger — and more valuable — than just credit card scams and pirated music.
In order to deconstruct something, you first have to know how it was made. Hackers seek to understand the systems with which they take issue, and take action immediately as soon as they see how to bring about change. In the misfit economy, hacking is about revolutionizing the establishment and changing it for the better.
Innovators challenge and provoke.
Rather than abandon their vision or purpose, misfits challenge the status quo. Though they may not always propose a solution, misfits understand the value of provoking conversation and raising awareness about the issues most important to them.
Misfits take risks.
Risk-taking opens up new opportunities and makes the misfit more prone to jump at those unexpected open doors. It encourages adaptability, fulfillment and innovation.