Nilofer Merchant – The Future of Work in the Social Era

Nilofer Merchant

Nilofer Merchant – The Future of Work in the Social Era – Contents

  • Nilofer Merchant Biography
  • Nilofer Merchant’s Big Idea: The Future of Work in the Social Era
  • Interesting Facts and Insights about Nilofer Merchant
  • The Future of Work Quotes by Nilofer Merchant
  • Social Era Quotes by Nilofer Merchant
  • Quotes about Nilofer Merchant
  • Nilofer Merchant Inspirational Quotes
  • Books by Nilofer Merchant
  • Common Questions about Nilofer Merchant
  • Videos about Nilofer Merchant

Nilofer Merchant Biography

Nilofer Merchant has worked as an executive at several technology companies, having spent 25 years in the technology industry. Today she serves on boards and writes books about collaboration.

Nilofer Merchant has written “The New How: Creating Business Solutions Through Collaborative Strategy, and Openness” and “11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra” Her books have featured on various lists of Best Business Books.


Nilofer Merchant’s Big Idea: The Future of Work in the Social Era

Nilofer Merchant coined the term “Onlyness”, to explain how to unleash undiscovered talent, ideas, and innovation lying within an organization. Merchant argues that, in the face of new, transformative technologies, organizations need to re-invent themselves, which means opening themselves up to the new social era.


Interesting Facts and Insights about Nilofer Merchant

  • Born: Nilofer Merchant was born in Mumbai, India.
  • Hometown: Nilofer Merchant home town is Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • Economics: Nilofer Merchant completed her Applied Economics degree at the University of San Francisco, 1989 – 1992.
  • Apple: Merchant was a Senior Manager Server Channel Development and Planning at Apple, 1989 – 1996
  • StartUp: Merchant was VP WW Sales and Channel Marketing at GoLive Systems Inc., 1996 – 1997
  • Autodesk: Merchant had the role of Business Development, Americas at Autodesk, 1997 – 1999
  • MBA: Nilofer Merchant completed her MBA at Santa Clara University, 1995 – 2000.
  • Rubicon: Merchant was the founder and CEO of Rubicon Consulting, 1999 -2010
  • Lecturer: Merchant has taught business strategy, collaborative management and leadership at Stanford University and Santa Clara University, and has been a guest-lectured at Yale.
  • Author: Merchant has written three books and numerous articles.
  • Listed: Merchant has been listed on the Thinkers 50 List.
  • Home: Merchant’s home is in Los Gatos, California

“Learn. Unlearn. (Repeat.) Rather than viewing change as an aberration, we understand it as a natural part of the organization’s development.”

– Nilofer Merchant

The Future of Work Quotes by Nilofer Merchant

“Purpose is also a better motivator than money. Money, while necessary, motivates neither the best people nor the best in people. Purpose does.”

“I believe that at the very root of our humanity is a passion to create value with heart, to work alongside others who care, and to make a difference.”

“Learn. Unlearn. (Repeat.) Rather than viewing change as an aberration, we understand it as a natural part of the organization’s development.”

“Power shapes our relationships because, when we lack power, we can’t negotiate for our own interests. When we have power, we can assert what matters to us and have it count.”

“When we stop ourselves from saying that opinion only we might have, they don’t need to dismiss us since we’ve already done their work.”

“If we hide our true selves from our colleagues, we’re denying them the opportunity to get over their own discomfort and celebrate your onlyness.”

“If we don’t pitch the idea we think matters because we fret they’ll hate it, we’re ALSO not giving them a chance to pick that idea.”


Social Era Quotes by Nilofer Merchant

“If the industrial era was about building things, the social era is about connecting things, people and ideas.”

“The social object that unites people isn’t a company or a product; the social object that most unites people is a shared value or purpose.”

“Let’s remember this: love isn’t rational, but a combination of logic and emotional needs.”

“There are the things that we do. There are the things that we care about. And then there is the story we tell about it.”

“I believe that each of us has something of value to offer — all 7.5 billion of us.”

“While not everyone will, anyone can.”

“Sharing is how an idea starts.”

“We often think of blue ocean ideas as bright sparks of creativity, created by an individual with superhuman insight. In reality, every new idea needs a crew to coax it into being.”


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Nilofer Merchant Inspirational Quotes

“Fresh air drives fresh thinking.”

“Stop waiting for a big idea, because you can make your idea big.”

“To the extent that the incredible lives of society’s winners are driven by structural injustices—racism, sexism being born into wealth—civility is aimed to cool the tempers of those who were on the wrong side of the same metrics.”

“Of course those who have won in the current order of things value civility above all. Civility means nothing changes. Civility means anger is tamped down.”

“These are always weird human moments in any relationship. Mistakes are made. Boundaries are crossed. Negotiations of interests. No one does it “right”. Then we have to figure out where we caused hurt and how to repair the social fabric.”


Books by Nilofer Merchant

  • 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era, by Nilofer Merchant, 2012
    • This book explores the new rules for creating value, leading, and innovating in our rapidly changing world. These social era rules are provocative they challenge hierarchy and control. The Social Era promotes collaboration and getting the most out of all talent. It encourages customers to become co-creators in an organization. It inspires employees through purpose.
  • The New How: Creating Business Solutions Through Collaborative Strategy, by Nilofer Merchant, 2009
    • This book proposes that people don’t lack the ability to collaborate. They lack the ability to pick ideas that matter, and this keeps them from collaborating.  
    • This book shows organizational leaders how to solve the gap between strategy and execution by taking an inclusive and collaborative approach to solving tough problems.
  • The Power of Onlyness: Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty Enough to Dent the World, by Nilofer Merchant, 2017
    • This book looks at how the Internet has liberated ideas to spread and scale through networks rather than hierarchies. Power is no longer determined by your status, but by “Onlyness”—that spot in the world only you stand in, a function of your distinct history and experiences, visions, and hopes. By building upon your unique purpose and connect with those who are equally passionate, you can create a new lever by which to move the world. Your ideas might be enough to dent the world.
    • This book is for people who want to use networked leadership to scale their ideas, especially when they don’t have traditional power and status.

Articles by Nilofer Merchant

  • How Ava DuVernay Is Finding Blue Oceans in Hollywood – Three counterintuitive moves to succeed in new markets, HBR, by Nilofer Merchant, 2019
  • Stop Eliminating Perfectly Good Candidates by Asking Them the Wrong Questions – Too many applicants are screened out because they don’t fit a particular pattern, HBR, by Nilofer Merchant, 2019
  • To Change Someone’s Mind, Stop Talking and Listen – You can’t build consensus by arguing, HBR, by Nilofer Merchant, 2017
  • How to Invent the Future – The ideas industry needs to stop monkeying around, HBR, by Nilofer Merchant, 2017\4
  • INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP DIGITAL ARTICLE Nilofer Merchant

Common Questions about Nilofer Merchant


“Purpose is also a better motivator than money. Money, while necessary, motivates neither the best people nor the best in people. Purpose does.”

– Nilofer Merchant

BIG IDEAS:

“Strategies for Influence” explores and shares the BIG IDEAS from the Leaders of Influence that can help you with your Career, Business, and Leadership. Click on any of the links below to explore the Big Ideas that have influenced our work and lives.

Mini-MBA of the big ideas that have shaped Careers, Leadership, and Business.


Videos about Nilofer Merchant

Nilofer Merchant: Got a meeting? Take a walk

Nilofer Merchant “The Power of Onlyness: Unlocking the Capacity of Each of Us” – Talks at Google


“Stop waiting for a big idea, because you can make your idea big.”

– Nilofer Merchant

Image Credit:https://www.flickr.com/photos/nilofermerchant/7776251498/