#Entrepreneurship Lessons 3: How to make a movement like a dancing guy

Being an analytical learning-addict, I can’t help but distill some lessons from this “Guy Starts Dance Party” video I saw from Derek Sivers’s TED Talk. I would really like to hear your thoughts, too. First, let’s watch:

You can’t help but smile. First at the guy, then at the reaction. It’s so fun!

But this is also the most obvious, instant, and visual example of how to start a movement, that books like Seth Godin’s Tribes and Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point have covered so well.

For anyone interested in starting a movement, or hoping others start a movement around your company/mission/music, how can we describe what we see here?

  • The leader has to be doing it for his own sake – not trying to start anything.
  • He has the guts to look a little ridiculous (stand out, not fit in, be weird), and not care. Most are too shy to stand out like that.
  • He is so clearly having fun that others think, “He’s having more fun than me. Maybe I should join in.” (the tribe, the elites, the weirdos)
  • What he’s doing is so simple, it’s almost instructional. Even if you usually don’t, you could do that.
  • The turning point is when he gets one follower. Following the leader, and also clearly having fun doing it.
  • But maybe they are just two freaks? Hmm… better not get involved yet. Tempting, though. Wait and watch.
  • It’s important that they were very public – seen by everyone. Movements need to be visible.
  • Now comes the second follower. It’s almost a crowd. If you were to join in now, you wouldn’t be a freak. Hmm… maybe?
  • The tipping point is the next two people that jump in. Now it’s a crowd!
  • Three more jump in immediately. Momentum! It’s a movement! No reason not to. Let’s go!
  • Every adventurous person in the crowd jumps in.
  • Finally, every non-adventurous person in the crowd jumps in, because they would be ridiculed if they don’t.

So if you wanted to make a movement, what lessons would you take from this?

  • If you want to be a starter, have the guts to stand out. Make your actions easy to imitate. Fun to follow. Attract attention. Show everyone what you’re doing.

  • If you find a lone weirdo doing something great, something that matters, have the guts to follow him/her. You will also stand out, but you are serving one of the most important roles in making this a movement. Show everyone how to follow.
  • Found something cool that only a few weirdos are doing? Get some friends and say, “Let’s go!” Jump in.
  • (… what else? …)

Movements are important in business because they form a basis for your business and what it offers. If you products don’t have a movement supporting it, it becomes difficult to market them.


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