In this quick video by Derek Sivers, he creatively (and effectively) explains "How to Start a Movement."

Leaders need the guts to stand up and be ridiculed, but the first follower has a crucial role. which is showing everybody else how to follow. A great leader needs to embrace that first follower as an equal so it's about them. The first follower is an underestimated form of leadership because it takes guts to stand out like that.

The first follower is what transforms a "lone nut" into a leader.

After the second follower comes, it's not a "lone nut," it's not two nuts, but three nuts. Three is a crowd and a crowd is news. A movement must be public. It's important to show not just the leader, but the followers because you find that new followers emulate the followers, not the leader.

After that comes more followers. Now you have momentum. This is the tipping point. Now you've got a movement!

You will notice that as more people join in, it's less risky. The people that were on the fence have no reason not to join: they won't stand out, they won't be ridiculed, but they will be part of the in-crowd if they hurry. The early majority. Eventually, you will attract everybody who prefers to stick with the crowd because they'd be ridiculed for not joining in. That's how you make a movement.

Quick Recap of Lessons Learned:

  • If you are bold enough to stand alone, remember the importance of nurturing your first few followers (Early Adapters) as if they are equals so it's clearly about the movement, not you.
  • Leadership is often over glorified. Yes, the person who is first will get all the credit, but it can often be the first follower that can transform a "lone nut" into a leader.
  • We are told that we should all be leaders, but that would be very ineffective. If you really care about starting a movement, have the courage to follow and show others how to follow.
  • When you find that "lone nut" doing something great, have the guts to be the first to stand up and join in!

The points Derek makes strongly correlates to Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore, as well. The Innovators get the ball rolling, but without the Early Adaptors, you can't cross the chasm and continue picking up steam to grab the Early Majority where you reach your tipping point.

I highly recommend following Derek Sivers on Twitter and checking out more Ted Talks in Less than 6 Minutes.


What leadership advice and tips on starting a movement do have? What have you seen work?