Being an analytical learning-addict, I can’t help but distill some lessons from this “Guy Starts Dance Party” video taken last week.
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 Tribes and 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, but not care. Most are too shy to stand out like that.
- He’s so clearly having fun that others think, “He’s having more fun than me. Maybe I should join in.”
- 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’re 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’d 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 nut doing something great, have the guts to follow him/her. You’ll also stand out, but you’re serving one of the most important roles in making this a movement. Show everyone how to follow.
- Found something cool that only a few freaks are doing? Get some friends and say, “Let’s go!” Jump in.
Doing something that needs followers? Help fan the flames of this process.
- Shine a spotlight on the first fan that loves you. Help them be a starter. Show what they’re doing, and how happy they are.
- Help your second fan join together with the first, instead of also dancing alone.
- Make sure they do almost exactly the same thing, so it’s easy for others to also see how to join.
- Give a few early adopters the courage to jump in together with the first. Make sure they stick together as a group.
- Now it’s not about you, it’s about them. Publicize the group, not yourself. Make it fun to join.
- Make sure all late-adopters can see what fun the early adopters are having.