Talent Gap: 50% are below average, even online

Ari Kaplan asked an interesting question this past week in his National Law Journal article, “Would law school warning labels make any difference?” Ari wondered what would happen if prospective law students were warned that 90% of students graduating law school are ranked below the top 10% of the class?

While this is completely obvious, it is funny because it seems to be overlooked by so many.  The top 10% are bright, hard working and talented students- and by definition it is an exclusive group.  If students aren’t in this group, they aren’t failures- but they are not likely to get the posh summer associate jobs (that pay 4-5 times as much as other internship opportunities) or land the jobs after graduating that often pay 3-4 times as much in salary.  We live in a competitive world, one where there are winners and losers.

Businesses and firms follow the same statistical break down of law students.  10-20% are very successful and handle most of the business, while the other 80-90% fight to survive.  This is more true than ever online where competition is so extreme.  In an article by Jay Baer this past week, he asked the question “When Will the Social Media Losers Emerge?” Not everyone can be a winner, this is a sad truth of business.  It may not be zero-sum but it will always be competitive.

There has been a recent backlash in the legal community towards so much positivity online.  Individuals re-tweeting blog posts that aren’t that good, congratulating new websites and businesses that have little chance of success.  The online community tends to be overly positive.  For those who work in a virtual office, and don’t have a traditional office atmosphere to socialize in- it helps get through otherwise challenging or boring days.  Unfortunately, with all this positivity online, we often forget to ask the hard questions.  Is it working?  Are you making any money?  Have appointments or new client matters resulted from your time and efforts?  If not, it may be time to reevaluate.

It is easy to learn to use social media, to learn to blog.  It’s easy to have conversations on Twitter and share content.  Creating engaging content is a very different matter.  Thousands of new books are released every day and most of these will never sell 100 copies.  Millions of new blog posts will be published today that nobody will ever read.  At the end of the day, no matter how big blogging, social media and the internet become- roughly 50% of the content created will still be below average.  The talented will survive, the top 10% will thrive- and the others?  They will be ok, but not doing this.

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