TED Talk of the Week: How to Start a Movement

Derek Sivers uses a viral video to show how a ‘lone nut’ transforms into a leader.

Oct 27, 2015

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TED Talk of the Week: How to Start a Movement | Derek Sivers uses a viral video to show how a ‘lone nut’ transforms into a leader.

To most people, the viral video of a man dancing his heart out at the 2009 Sasquatch Music Festival was an entertaining display of pure joy and contagious dance moves. But to Derek Sivers, entrepreneur and founder MuckWork, it teaches a valuable lesson on how to start a movement.

In this TED Talk of the Week, Sivers plays the video, showing a shirtless “lone nut” standing out from the crowd and busting some pretty rad dance moves (or as Sivers describes it, “being ridiculed”). When another festival-goer, the first follower, jumps up and joins in, the lone nut embraces him as an equal and automatically becomes a leader.  A second follower joins in, making them a crowd – and a crowd is news. Momentum builds as more and more followers run from the sidelines to join the dance party. And before you know it (actually, in just three minutes) – you have a movement.

Aside from the obvious lesson that grass stains are an inevitable result of festival dance swarms, Sivers points out something less apparent. In this three-minute TED Talk, Sivers explains that leadership is over-glorified. While the shirtless dancer may get the credit, it was actually the first follower that transformed him into a leader. If you want to start a movement, Sivers says, “have the courage to follow and show others how to follow.”

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