If you share a pizza with a large crowd, no one will be very satisfied. But if you share an idea with a group, it creates cultural impact and becomes more valuable as it spreads, not less. Most of the time, we adopt the scarcity model of pizza. “I ...

The magnetic generosity of the network effect

If you share a pizza with a large crowd, no one will be very satisfied.

But if you share an idea with a group, it creates cultural impact and becomes more valuable as it spreads, not less.

Most of the time, we adopt the scarcity model of pizza. “I don’t have that much, and if I share it with you, I won’t have any left…”

But in fact, the useful parts of our life are better characterized as, “If I share it with you, we’ll both have it.”

An idea shared is more powerful than one that’s hidden. A technology standard outperforms a proprietary one. A community is stronger than divided individuals ever could be.

When you give away your work by building the network, you’re not giving it away at all.

You’re building trust, authority and a positive cycle of better.

       

Simply awake

Not groggy, not zoned out, not hyper, merely awake.

Aware of what’s around us. Present. Seeing things clearly, hearing them as if for the first time.

How often are we lucky enough to be awake?

Mass media, social networks, marketers—they rarely help us become awake. They seek clicking, buying, fearful zombies instead.

The people we seek to serve, those that we’re trying to reach–in the rare moments when they’re awake, are we wasting that tiny slice of magic? Do we create fear or boredom or ennui in the short run merely because it’s easier for us?

Seeking a state of awake seems like a worthy quest. And when we find it, it’s worth cherishing.

       

Get your memo read

The unanticipated but important memo has a difficult road. It will likely be ignored.

The difficult parts:

a. no one is waiting to hear from you

b. you need to have the clarity to know who it’s for, what’s it for and precisely what you want them to do

c. you have to have the guts to leave out everything that isn’t part of (b)

Consider a memo that was left outside my door at a hotel recently. The management distributed 1000 of them and perhaps ten people read it and took action.

Here’s what to keep in mind:

  1. Pattern interrupt. When was the last time you listened to the seat belt announcement on an airplane? We ignore it because we’ve been trained to ignore it. When you show up in a place, at a time, with a format that we’ve been trained to ignore, we’ll ignore you.
  2. Write a story. You seek engagement. Talk about me. About you, about yesterday, today and tomorrow. If you earn the first sentence, you’ll need to sell me on reading the second sentence.
  3. Frame the story. Help me compare it to something. Create urgency. Make it about me, my status, my needs.
  4. Chunk the message. How many things are you trying to say? (Hint: two might be too many). Let me scan instead of study.
  5. Include a call to action. Right here, right now.

Here’s a before and after of what inspired me.

       

It’s not a bucket

Filling up a bucket might not be fast or easy, but you can easily measure your progress. Patience isn’t difficult, because you can see it getting filled.

Most of what’s important to us, though, doesn’t show itself this way.

Drip by drip is how we build things, but we can’t see it. One more “no,” one more failure, one more lesson learned.

It’s not a bucket, but it is a journey.

       

If what you’re doing isn’t working

Perhaps it’s time to do something else.

Not a new job, or a new city, but perhaps a different story.

A story about possibility and sufficiency. A story about connection and trust. A story about for and with, instead of at or to.

Bootstrapping your way to a new story about the world around you is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do. Our current story was built piecemeal, over time, the result of vivid interactions and hard-fought lessons.

But if that story isn’t getting you where you need to go, then what’s it for?

It’s entirely possible that the story we tell ourselves all day every day is true and accurate and useful, the very best representation of the world as it actually is.

It’s possible, but vanishingly unlikely.

What if we search for a useful story instead? A story that helps us cause the change we seek to make in the world, and to feel good doing it.

If you can’t solo bootstrap it, get some help to install a new story. It’s worth it.

       

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