Posted: June 24, 2015 in 2015 Events & Posts

start a movement


A few months ago a colleague emailed me a link to the Ted Talk Video “How to Start a Movement”.  He thought it was very funny and that I should watch it.  Click the link below to view.


So, like any person who already has hundreds of emails and multiple meetings, the video sat in my inbox. When I finally got to the video, one month later, I enjoyed it so much I watched it twice.

My first impression was to laugh and say this guy is crazy and this can’t possibly be a practical submission exemplifying leadership.   But on my second review I began to understand what the speaker was communicating.

Speaker Points

Derek Sivers, speaking points recap, just in case you haven’t watched the video.

  1. A Leader must have the Guts to stand alone and be the Lone Nut.   New ideas and concepts are often crazy to people who are “Status Quo Committed” complacent thinkers.
  2. The First Follower. It’s not about the Leader but the 1st person to follow. This person gives the crazy idea person legitimacy. The First Follower makes the Lone Nut a Leader.
  3. Tipping Point: The 2nd Follower. This person establishes the movement and confirms the Lone Nut and the 1stnd Follower.


A few months ago I participated in the Seal Legacy Foundations golf tournament held in Houston.

I and event best friend, Jamie Lee Thurston, were standing around talking. (If you know and love country music, yes, this is the Jamie Lee Thurston)  Together we looked on as the caterers set up the serving stations. They put out the heating pans filled them with water and lit the small fire cups underneath.

Next they brought out all of the food; they brought out ribs, mashed potatoes, vegetables, potatoes salad, a green salad, and off to the side a table reserved just for deserts.  There was nothing unique, different or intimidating about the process.  It went off smooth without any hiccups.

Once the crew finished they left and went back into the club house, it was as if they disappeared into thin air.  Then the waiting game started. About ten minutes or so went by and we (the crowd) it seems were paralyzed. We had no direction and no leader to carry us home.

Then it hit me, “I should try out this Theory of “How to Start a Movement”.

So I pulled my new found friend Jamie Lee Thurston to the side and explained to him the principle of what we could accomplish if we worked together.   I gave him a quick overview about the Dancing Guy Video.  My new friend’s response was “I get it but I am hungry.  I just don’t want to go out there by myself.”

I had found my Lone Wolf, the guy that would seem like the Lone Nut.

But I changed the game by committing to Jamie Lee Thurston that if he went first that I would be his 1st Follower.  He agreed and we moved forward with the plan.

Now the conditions were set and all I had to do was be sure to take notes.

Jamie Lee Thurston goes first.   About two minutes go by and to my surprise no one else hopped in.

Next, I make my move to get in line and pick up a plate then start to add food.  Of course I selected the ribs first.

As Jamie finishes I am half way done and we have gained the third and fourth followers.  Now, we had a full-fledged movement.  I turned around to note the people who at first were by-standers and on-lookers.

They had all joined the buffet line movement to ensure they did not get left out.  Once I sat down I began to count the people.  My final count was twenty five people.


To put this into perspective these twenty five people represent missed opportunities to be first and to ensure their plate of food was the hottest as well as freshest food served.

Just as Jamie Lee Thurston and I went through the line as the Lone Nut and First Follower we did prove these concepts;

  1. In the simplest of environments (Buffet Line) with predictable out comes (get fresh hot food) people still have anxiety about standing out in crowd. http://anxietynetwork.com/content/what-social-anxiety-is-like
  2. It really does take a 1st follower to get the party started.
  3. When looking to do something different make sure it is public and that you have a Leader (LONE NUT) and a 1st Follower.

In the end I proved to myself and hopefully to you that there is legitimacy to Derek Sivers “How to Start A Moment”. http://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_how_to_start_a_movement?language=en


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