The world is full of tribes. Some use words. Some use clicks. Some use clay. Some use ancient corn, harvest fruits, and wild locusts.
Whether you’re a metropolitan American or a rural Peruvian, you’ve got your tribes too. Social tribes. Media tribes. Startup tribes. In fact, the best entrepreneurs in the world all do one thing fantastically well: thrill their tribe. These tried-and-true tips will help you do exactly the same.
1. Listen fabulously.
People thrive off people who listen. Walls are torn down. Bridges are built. Partnerships are forged in the thick of it. Agatha Christie, who had a huge cultic following in her day, clearly got this. “An appreciative listener,” she explained, “is always stimulating.”
Yet even the best us are capable of missing the mark, of forfeiting the best opportunity in the world: the chance to listen. So practice like an Olympian. Learn to hear to what people say … how they say it … when they say it … what they fail to say.
Take deliberate steps. Enable comments on your blog. Create a cyber suggestion box. Host a weekly call-in talk program. Organize a bite-sized focus-group. Talk over coffee. Whatever you do, remember to actively listen to (yes, stimulate!) Your tribe regularly.
2. Dish the beef.
Good information is better than a Picasso. And no one gets this more than Eli Pariser. In a world of ever-increasing “secret” collection of personalized data, he wrote a startling 300-page book – The Filter Bubble – to reveal “what the Internet is hiding from you.”
Bright Simons, a native of Ghana, created a business to stop medicine fraud in developing nations. Currently operating in eight countries worldwide, the Pedigree Network lets people determine with a text message whether their medicine is legitimate.
Sojourners magazine recently published an article to hip its tribe to the corporate world next move: eyeing the earth’s public water sources – salivating at the chance to turn it into a billion dollar “pay-to-drink” commodity.
Follow Pariser, Simons, and Sojourner magazine’s example. Folks need to know what’s happening, preferably from an engaged tribal leader like you. Be forward-thinking. Be brave. Never skimp on a slab of good information.
3. Bring the fireworks
What do Kaggle, YouNoodle, and Dwolla all have in common? They “wow” the socks off their tribes. And it’s not about rocket science.
For Kaggle, it’s about data science. A startup that marries “minds” to “matters”, Kaggle hosts online contests that allow the best and the brightest minds to solve hard-to-crack data problems. Able to enter from anywhere in the world, contestants are wowed not only by the sheer crank of the challenge, but also by the juicy rewards. (Think $ 6K or more, on average, per solution!).
YouNoodle builds competitions at the intersection of technologists and entrepreneurs. CEO Rebeca Hwang, much like Anthony Goldbloom of Kaggle, knows how to use her ‘noodle.’ Calling herself a “mega-connector” who helps make innovation happen, she’s got the right idea and the right platform: digital wonderment.
Ben Milne is educating business owners everywhere about unfair transaction fees – costing US merchants alone a total of $ 66.5 billion in 2012! His solution? Dwolla: a no-fuss, bank-connected payment system that charges only.25 cents for any transaction of $ 10 or more. Anything less is hilariously free – signaling many corner-stores and coffee-shops to make a mad dash for Dwolla. (Thanks, Ben!)
Truly: The list does not end here. Add your name today. Become a tribe-thriller and set your followers ablaze today. After all, this is not a job for the ‘Fantastic Four’. It’s a job for anyone who can lead with good listening, good information, and good innovation.
(Hint: That means you, Sherlock).