How To Start a Movement

 The first follower transforms the lone nut into a leader. ~ Derek Sivers

I’ve seen this Ted Talk before. When it came across my Facebook again recently, I was reminded of that old adage that goes something like: If you can’t explain something simply, perhaps you don’t know the subject that well… 

How to Start a Movement (Recap)

  1. One lone nut courageously steps forward.
  2. The first follower transforms the lone nut into a leader.
  3. The leader embraces the follower as an equal.
  4. Another follower makes it three. Three is a crowd and that’s news! (Now it’s public)
  5. More followers come. They emulate the first follower, not the leader.
  6. The fence-sitters come, this is the tipping point, now we have a movement.
  7. As more people join in, it becomes less risky for others to join in.

I sometimes wonder why we over-complicate this type of passion. When we take something so beautiful in its simplicity and make it complex, doesn’t it lose its power?

Tell me, are you living your passions? When you believe in something, do you pursue it to the point of risking ridicule? When you find a lone nut doing something great, do you have the courage to be the first to follow?

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.



  1. Wyrd Smythe

    That quote, or variations on it, is typically attributed to Einstein or physicist Richard Feynman. A common version of it goes, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old then you really don’t understand it yourself” (with “six-year-old” being replaced by “child” or “grandmother” or “dog” or a variety of specifically aged children).

    Turns out no one ever actually said those words, but (as Stephen Colbert would say) its “truthiness” is indisputable. The closest source of the quote may come from a story about Feynman being asked to prepare a lecture on a physics topic. The author writes: [Feynman] said, “I’ll prepare a freshman lecture on it.” But a few days later he came to me and said: “You know, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t reduce it to the freshman level. That means we really don’t understand it.” ~David Goodstein, “Richard P. Feynman, Teacher” [1989 magazine article]

    Speaking of Feynman, here’s a quote of his you may appreciate. He’s speaking about how his mother taught him that “the highest forms of understanding we can achieve are laughter and human compassion.”

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