The other way of following first
My friend Derek Sivers gave a short presentation at a TED conference (which, incidentally, is something I’d love to get to do one day).
It’s about how the lone guy up dancing in the video above is not the full story of leadership. The important bit is how the second guy turns it into a movement. Watch the video. It’s just a few minutes long. I’ll wait here.
Okay… so Derek rightly received a lot of praise and encouragement for the presentation and the insight. People said he should turn it into a book or something – it could become something of a phenomenon. But he’s one of those guys with a lot of different stuff on his plate all the time, an incredible surplus of good ideas – and the sense to know when something is not really his passion.
So he’s giving the idea away. If you want to write a bestseller, or do the talk circuit with it – it’s all yours. You don’t have to ask him, pay him or even credit him (though I suspect you would, if only to underline the point of the book and claim yourself as a first follower).
I could do that
It was really tempting to put my hand up and say ‘I’ll write that book.’ And I know that I could. In fact, I think I could do a reasonably good job of it.
So I gave it some thought and told Derek that I was going to sleep on it, but there was a chance I would take up the idea and turn it into my own thing. “You definitely should,” he said.
Having slept on it, I’ve decided I AM going to be Derek’s “second guy up dancing”. But perhaps not in a way that he might have anticipated.
Choosing what to follow
On reflection, there’s one or two things I think Derek may have missed in that example of dancing guy. Tiny things. For instance, the first follower chose what it was about the lone nut dancing that was worth following.
He looked at that guy and thought: “Dancing. I want to do that.”
He could just as easily have thought: “That guy has his shirt off. I’m hot too. I’m going to take my shirt off…” – thus perhaps starting a completely different kind of movement.
The first follower selects from a range of possibilities.
Leading by example
Derek started something at TED. He had a good insight into something, expressed it well, and planted the seed of an idea into the public mind. People suggested follow-up, he didn’t want to take that action, and so he gave the idea away on his website.
But I don’t want to do what people suggested that Derek should do next. I want to do what Derek’s doing.
Metaphorically speaking, I don’t want to start a club where people get up and dance like maniacs on the side of a hill each month because hillside dancing could turn out to be a hit phenomenon. I just want to get up and dance.
I’m not going to write a book based on an idea Derek had. That’s not my First Follower response. But I am going to be a First Follower…
My own First Follower response
The second guy dancing in the video had one thought: “What that guy is doing inspires me to do likewise.” And so he stood up, joined the lone nut – and danced.
I have ideas too. I have a lot on my plate. I like what Derek’s doing. So I’m going to do what Derek did and give my ideas away on my website.
In fact, I’m going to make a bit of a game of it. I’ve been doing 2010’s New Year’s resolutions in 30-day bite-sized pieces. This will be my next one.
30 ideas in 30 days
Starting Wednesday March 3rd, for 30 days, I’m going to put one idea per day up on this blog.
It could be any sort of idea: a business idea, an idea for a board game, a tv show, an observation about the world that could be turned into a book, an invention, a website idea – anything.
I’ll explain the idea in its most basic form – my humble equivalent of a 3-minute TED talk… and then I’ll walk away. Anyone who wants the idea is welcome to it, and can run with it under exactly the same terms and conditions of Derek’s idea.
I don’t guarantee that any of my ideas will be as good as any of Derek’s. That’s not what this is about. I don’t have to be as good at dancing as him, I just want to get up and dance too.
Table of contents for 30 Days of Ideas
- The other way of following first
- Now we’re up and dancing
- 30 days of ideas – 01: Keymash
- 30 days of ideas – 02: Radio Alerts
- 30 days of ideas – 03: Only Famous (a romantic comedy)
- 30 days of ideas – 04: Modcasts
- 30 days of ideas – 05: Numberless Calendar
- 30 days of ideas – 06: SpringCleanr
- 30 days of ideas – 07: Street Gallery
- 30 days of ideas – 08: Smart Business Cards
- 30 days of ideas – 09: Recordings in Concert
- 30 days of ideas – 10: Vinyl scanner
- 30 days of ideas – 11: Photo Stack-and-Scan
- 30 days of ideas – 12: A Box of Cool
- 30 days of ideas – 13: Karaoke-Tube Celebstar Idol
- 30 days of ideas – 14: I Made You A Tape
- 30 days of ideas – 15: Newspaper download codes
- 30 days of ideas – 16: Pebble Splash
- 30 days of ideas – 17: Digital radio, somewhere useful
- 30 days of ideas – 18: Public domain music collection
- 30 days of ideas – 19: Blog cast-list automator
- 30 days of ideas – 20: The Retirement Pile
- 30 days of ideas – 21: Nationalise EMI
- 30 days of ideas – 22: The Stainless Steel Rat (the movie)
- 30 days of ideas – 23: WordPress Bandcampify template
- 30 days of ideas – 24: Rollercoasters as public transport
- 30 days of ideas – 25: Next-gen personalised music radio
- 30 days of ideas – 26: New Music Trust
- 30 days of ideas – 27: Tamagotchi Gardening
- 30 days of ideas – 28: Charity shop clothing subscription
- 30 days of ideas – 29: ‘Now Playing’ social music app
- 30 days of ideas – 30: House of Spare Ideas
- Mixtape for You by Ray Kuyvenhoven
- What can you do in 30 days?