When Alexander the Great conquered “the known world,” things were different. To consolidate his power, he founded 20 cities and made half a dozen political marriages. Ruling the world was a physical business–you left your seed, and your city state, behind to represent your status. Most people didn’t read, but they knew what they saw or touched.
Today, ruling is lot less about your physical mark and more about your psychological one. The world’s largest community is arguably Facebook, not a political empire. And tomorrow, it could be something else. Money and ideas rise and fall thanks not to a ruler’s DNA, but to digital DNA–the faster-than-light stuff of thoughts.
If you want to rule today, you have to rule hearts and minds. There is real power in influencing behavior. Online behavior may be the most powerful behavior we have invented yet. And to own it, you focus not on the physical reality, but on the reality of people’s minds. There, all is open for experience—the world is almost infinitely influencable. The new ruler can enter an era of constant conquest, and potentially constant victory.