Malcolm Gladwell calls them connectors.

Seth Godin calls them sneezers.

I like the concept of sneezers.

Sneezers are people, who are more likely to tell their friends about a great new idea. These people are the heart of the ideavirus. Identifying sneezers is a key success factor for idea merchants.

To bless your business with success you need to get sick. You need to develop a potent ideavirus and start sneezing.

If your ideavirus is potent enough, every time you sneeze one or two people within range will “bless you.” Hopefully they will catch your ideavirus too and start sneezing themselves, infecting more people.

And so spreads your ideavirus.

Ideaviruses die when we try sneezing at the wrong people.

No one will bless your business if they are immune. We must seek out people who are receptive to our sneezes.

We should also avoid wasting effort infecting people who stay at home and only sneeze at their cats.

Instead, we must seek to spread our ideaviruses to people with strong sneezes who are surrounded by many others. This is especially true early on, when our idea viruses are not strongly established.

Even if we get lucky and start a chain reaction of sneezing, we cannot stop there if we want our ideaviruses to stick.

Like any sickness, an ideavirus’ potency inside each individual fades with time. If they are not periodically re-infected, they will begin to sneeze less and less. Soon enough they will stop sneezing altogether.

Subsequent exposures do not need to be as strong as the first sneeze, but they are vital to keeping our ideaviruses alive and spreading.

We also must continue evolving our ideaviruses. Hopefully as they spread they grow in potency. That way, eventually even previously immune people will catch on and start sneezing too. And everyone will bless your business.

Sneezers are the key spreading agents of an ideavirus.

One thought on “Diffusion of innovation: Find your sneezers

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