Contagious Ideas

The first TED conference was rolled out in 1984 in Monterey CA. Since then it has grown in size, exclusivity and, thanks to YouTube, gone viral with over 500 million virtual lectures viewed online in recent years.

One  TED speaker in 2009, Seth Godin, spoke about what makes an idea go viral and become a movement. Apologies to Seth for my shorthand…you need:

  • A charismatic thought leader
  • With powerful new ideas
  • Passionately communicated through storytelling
  • To a willing audience, knit together by common beliefs, a sense of tribal identity and an impulse to spread the word

Sounds a lot like what makes for viral content in general. Several agency networks have picked up on this. McCann uses the tagline “Truth Well Told”. Publicis has elevated these concepts in their worldwide credo – Contagious Ideas That Change The Conversation.

Moral of the story – powerful new ideas about your product/service that are communicated with honesty and passion can activate the tribe and change the conversation.



Filed under Search for leaders, Sense of community, Sense of identity

2 responses to “Contagious Ideas

  1. I love the idea of “change the conversation”. We are living in a time in business where the best idea wins in a lot of situations. Before the web crash in 1999, people would have said a lot of today’s ideas were crazy, but now they all seem feasible.

    I think the people that go viral, do so, not because they had exactly the right tactic, but they did something, truly different or inspirational. Real change is happening because it has to, but also because the modern entrepreneur has a different mind set then 30 years ago. We don’t all exist just to make the most money, we exist to reinvent, correct or start a totally new method of solving problems.

  2. Agreed. And you make me think it would be interesting to dig into how values around “making money” have changed in the last 30 years!

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