Chuck Blakeman

Author, speaker, and founder of the Crankset Group.

The Industrial Age is Dead - Time is the New Money

Going to work is a bad idea.


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This article was published on December 11, 2010. So far, 14 people have left their thoughts. Share your own thoughts.


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As a business owner, you’re likely carrying a lot of baggage from the Industrial age (1800-ish to 1965-ish) that won’t fully go away for decades to come. He who makes the rules wins. You need to stop running your business on Industrial Age rules.

The Industrial Age brought us two incredibly bad ideas that led to many other bad ideas:

  1. Retirement
  2. Separation of work and play

A few weeks ago we said retirement is a bankrupt industrial age idea . Here we’re saying separation of work and play is a bad idea.

Time vs. Money
A young web designer friend of mine just one year out of college was given a huge pay raise by an ad agency, from $48,000 to $69,000. The company saw him as indispensable and didn’t want him going anywhere. A few months later, as winter approached, he quit. They wanted him there 8am-5pm and in the winter the only time to ride a bike was in the afternoon.

He would have worked in the evening, and that would have had no impact on the company, but they were stuck in the Industrial Age that valued money over time, and couldn’t see it. They were giving him the same tired “I’ll trade you money for your hours” deal that was dominant in the Industrial Age. He now runs his own very successful company and goes for a run or bike ride in the middle of the day any time he wants.

The Old (and Returning) Normal
For thousands of years people lived where they worked (over the storefront, on the farm) and played where they worked. Community was built around work and small markets. The kids ran and played, learned and worked there, the grandparents helped out – everyone was involved.

And there wasn’t much separation of work and play in the process. We look back and have a dreary and incorrect view of what life before “jobs” was like. What we miss is that above all else, we had community, something we’re only now beginning to recapture.

Humans as Extensions of Machines
It’s easy to see how this happened. During the Industrial Age, machines needed humans to become extensions of them in order to serve the machines properly. The machines needed people to be there all the time to run them, so we created humans in the image of machines. That “condition” was spread across all vocations, and “jobs” that separated work and play become the norm, even where there were no machines.

The Silent Generation – the worst label ever given
And it all worked in response to the needs of the machine, not the person. As the companies that owned the machines became huge, the pervasive need was to serve the corporation, and we were told to shut up, sit down, live invisibly, be loyal, don’t make waves and go out quietly. The generation which lived at the pinnacle of the Industrial Age, who are now in their late 70’s and early 80’s, have been labeled by marketers and sociologists as “The Silent Generation.” Can you think of a more condemning label? But it accurately reflects the damage the Industrial Age has done to us as a culture.

Time is The New Money
The Industrial Age taught us to value money above time. Giant Corporation, Inc. wanted you to focus on making money, not on having time to do anything with it. They needed all your time to run the machines. In the 21st Century we will understand that riches may equal money, but wealth equals freedom – the ability to choose what to do with my time. We will understand that money does not give us freedom, only time can do that.

Do you have time (wealth) or just money (riches)? Stop focusing on making money (see my book, Making Money Is Killing Your Business on the same subject), and intend to be wealthy instead. You’ll actually make more money and have a lot more fun in life, too.

Share a Thought

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Elvi Bjorkquist


Loving what you do will lead to success and wealth far better than putting your time in at something you don’t enjoy in order to reach retirement and die shortly after. Working at what you enjoy till late in life will lengthen your life and increase the quality as well. I think the secret is to find out what you like to do and find a way to make money at it.

The industrial age took away the spiritual inside part of life so people try to gather as many toys as they can to make up for their discontent with the mistaken idea that those outside toys will make them happy. Actually, this attitude brings more money to the companies that employ the workers.

In poor societies and societies of the past, people worked closer together because they needed each other in order to make it in the world. In our society we have become individualistic with an attitude we can do it ourselves which has led to loneliness. Happiness seems to mean acquiring as many toys as we can rather than enjoying community and reciprocity.

Garry Seaber


Chuck Blakeman is one of the greatest business thinkers of our time. He has revolutionized my thinking of myself, my business, and my Big Y – What is my purpose through my 50’s, 60’s and beyond. If you haven’t read his book “Making Money is Killing Your Business”, its a must read for any business owner. Forget retirement…build a business that creates cash flow to fund my future years! Ahhh… I finally get it…

Garry Seaber

Doug Root


Chuck, you are completely correct. It’s not about the stuff, nor whomever has the most toys wins. It’s about quality of life, and having the time to enjoy it.

Wealth isn’t stuff. Wealth is quality of life / the ability to have choices.
As I advise my clients (and have done in my own business) ‘Build a business that pays you while you aren’t there, and enjoy the choices it affords you’.




You do get it! And it’s great to see the blue flame coming out of your backside to get there.


If your clients want a Mature Business like yours, they’ll be smart to listen close and take on the things you’re passing to them.

Jen Orvis


Two months ago I was having a conversation with someone and their exact words were “people should just get a job, show up and take care of their family”. I think I know who the ‘person’ in the ‘people’ generalization.

Could the profound things have happened if we all thought that way??? Everyone that answers that question would say “No”.

To make this a bit more clear…

If you tell someone to “just get a job”, you are implying that they are not someone capable of doing anything profound.

The most frustrating thing on the receiving end of comments such as this, is that throwing out schools of thought that contradict with an individual’s deep desire, is offensive.

I actually enjoy this topic because as a parent I feel that I will be challenged with the perceived safety of what I have been taught and my boys living out life according to their purpose.

Thanks for challenging my thinking Chuck!

Trish Moore


Couldn’t agree more Chuck. Isn’t it a wonderful thing that we are switching gears to towards significance and what our legacy will be! Time is absolutely the new currency!

David Sandusky


For business owners who are passionate about how they spend time and live life, this post preaches to the choir. As does the concept of retirement. Who wants to stop adding value? The real trick as a business owner is hiring people we trust to provide autonomy and ownership. A creative and innovative culture that keeps those we pay for adding value ALIVE!



Trish, David,

More people like you in biz will push this whole thing forward a lot faster. My experience is that most are not seeing time as the new money yet – thanks for being part of the transformation.

Hit the spot! people should look at productivity in an overall sense…not based on hour to hour!

Holly Mais



I believe when the economy picks up and Giant Corporation wants to attract the best employees, they will have to change their work model. The brightest young people learned from watching their parents’ lack of freedom with the Industrial Age model and don’t want that for themselves. They value their time as much, if not more, than their money. The brightest will either start their own companies or negotiate for the lifestyle they desire with Giant Corporation.

I drank the kool-aid, as you say, and am now enjoying that freedom for myself with the full intention to become the myth behind the company.

Maureen Coleman


I love this article! Chuck is dead on! I am a founding member of his second the “3 to 5 Club”. It is given me the tools to spend all the “time currency” that I have. My life is fuller, my family, causes and life and benefit a hundred fold. Let go of work as your security and you will be amazed at how secure your LIFE is.

Do something for your business that is doing something for your life. Small is the new sprall and time IS new money.

Maureen Coleman
ABC Custom Framing
Organizing Thangs

Dorne Pentes


groovy stuff. we’ve managed to build one business that give su s time—now we’re going for another…now how to make it do some GOOD for people beyond just employing them….



Thx, Scott.

Holly – couldn’t agree more. Giant Corporation, Inc. (and small biz’s that emulate them) are in for a long tough slog trying to figure out how to employ people who don’t want to leave themselves at home.


We’re all excited to see your next business grow to Maturity like the last one!


GREAT idea – do some good for people, not just employ them. And you’ll do that as you live that out for yourself. Time is the new money and hooping is a good way to spend some of it! :)

monika hardy


nice post. great thoughts.
thank you for directing me here.

i was just at a funeral, one statement really stuck with me. ..
adversity unveils privacy.
and privacy is the wall keeping us from each other. from rich community.

i totally agree – time is the new money. i love Jason Fried’s take on how to change that up.
i also believe – transparency is the new money. the more we unveil, the more we see/know each other, the closer we become.




Love your thinking/doing process. I’m a recovering rugged individualist who had to learn that Committed Community was a key to a significant life.

We all need a place with a few people were we can safely say “I don’t know”. John Wayne is dead and we should have buried the rugged individualist with him.

Time and money are often used interchangeably. The challenge is that we began to believe that money was the only thing that gave us worth. The industrial age shifted our value from relationships and who we are to what we do and what we earn. The educationalists believed that teaching this led to control and the politicians bought into it because it made controlling people so much easier. They stopped thinking. The silent generation was in shock after the war and lived in fear during the cold war. People stopped knowing their purpose and started to seek their purpose. They stopped living life one day at a time and the consequences became dire and the price we are paying is the current world economy.
This too shall pass though so live today and lets start knowing that only people have value and all the money in the world will not buy time for people




So true when you say, “this, too will pass”. In the Age of Participation we will see the Gen X and Y’rs getting the balance back.



Chuck, I would like to do all kinds of jobs, not just one. It would be nice if I could work less hours per day, then that would open me up to trying other things in life, either with or without pay and maybe then I could find something that I am passionate about and good at. It is nice that companies offer what you do at your companies, but there is still room for different types of jobs. In order for you to enjoy long lunches and weekend trips, you still need to have waiters and hotel staff that are there when you need them. I would LOVE these jobs if they were 21 hours per week, but hate them if they were 40 hours per week.




It’s all in how we organize it. One of our companies had a printing division with presses that needed to run 24 hours a day. We got the press operators to figure out how to design a work week where everybody got one 3-day weekend a month.

The came up with a plan that did it, AND got everyone a 4-day weekend once a quarter (without using any vacation time), while still all working 40 hours a week and running the presses 24 hours a day. They didn’t get bunches of time off each week, but they were a lot better off than at any other printing company.

If we want to figure out how to do something, we will. Too often we’re stuck making a list of all the reasons why something can’t work instead of finding the one way to make it work. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you think can’t; you’re right.”

It will be fun to see all the ways companies solve this problem and make time the new money going forward.

Other Recent Posts

Chuck’s Books

Why Employees Are Always a Bad Idea (WEAAABI) is radical book about the Participation Age, for everyone who: has a job, owns a company, or manages people.

Making Money is Killing Your Business

You’re too busy making money; no business can survive that. Your business should give you both time and money. Not just money.

Making Money is Killing Your Business

Our Company

We started Crankset Group out of the desire to help small businesses grow and mature. Along the way, we have developed a lot of the tools and practices that we’ve created working directly with business owners. Now these tools and resources are available to you.

On Twitter

Twitter is a great way to get ahold of me or interact with me.


I’d love to let you know what I’m up to from time-to-time.