Ideas That Spread, Win
Almost 13 years ago, my friend Matt introduced me to Seth Godin. I became a voracious reader of his work. Having just moved to the GTA, I took out a Vaughan library membership and borrowed anything any branch had on him. I was on a waiting list for everything. I became really easy to shop for birthday gifts. Purple Cow, Unleashing the Ideavirus, All Marketers Are Liars, Permission Marketing, Small Is The New Big, Free Prize Inside, Meatball Sundae, Survival Is Not Enough. And more…
I became a lens maker on Squidoo. I received many trophies and badges, publishing well over 100 “lenses”. It was a lot of fun. Every YouTube video or TED Talk or event where he was recorded, I’d listen or watch. Every blog post… gobbled up. I became a better person as a result (and still do when I read his posts).
Later, in 2010, Seth wrote a post on the idea of a nonlinear presentation tool called talking pad from a concept he took from Zig Ziglar. I took that post as a call to arms to develop the app for iPad and used Elance to get bids on work. Eventually, I used a group in Romania and Pakistan to develop the first version and get it launched. Heck, Seth even wrote about it after I launched it. I was waiting a gate in Salt Lake City when I saw that post and my life had changed after that.
Yes, I’m a Seth fanboy and what stuck with me over a long time is the quote “Ideas that spread, win”. However, I’ve let my inner “resistance” get the better of me for some time about what spreading means… or what winning even means. By winning, we can think of being able to influence people to some degree. If you thought one way, were exposed to my idea, and then began to think another way… well, that’s a win, isn’t it? At least from the perspective of the idea, that’s a win.
However, what about “spreading”. I used to think this meant viral-type spreading where you get millions of people to interact with your idea. But is that needed? At least as of the time of this writing, my posts get maybe 10 reads each. And I write daily. That’s very little “volume” given the thought and effort I put into them. However, I’ve stopped letting the that argument have the upper hand. I no longer care how many people read but rather who reads them. Some of the most important ideas in life don’t need to spread to win. Getting married, having kids, that you’re a good hire, that the product you represent is good — you only need to spread these ideas to one person to make a difference.