Who is in Your Tribe?

In a TED talk, Seth Godin discusses Tribes. 

He has been asked to speak all over the world, but a couple of specific niches stood out – he was asked to speak to a group of people that dress up in stuffed animal costumes to perform at sporting events (aka Mascots!), but couldn’t make it.  But he began thinking about it, and came to the realization that most of those people really KNOW what it is they do for a living!  They dress up like stuffed animals and entertain at sporting events! 

Then later on, he was invited to speak to a convention of people that make balloon animals.  Again, he was unable to go speak to this other group of fascinating people.  While there is a large range of subjects that they make out of balloons, but at the end of the day – they also KNOW what they do for a living.  They make balloon animals.    

What do WE do for a living?  What do the people reading this do every day? 

WE TRY TO CHANGE EVERYTHING.

We try to find a piece of the status quo – something that bothers us, something that needs to be improved, something that’s itching to be changed.  And we change it.

We try to make big, permanent, important change.

But we don’t think about it that way and we haven’t spent a lot of time talking about what that process is like.

Seth has been studying it for a couple of years and some of his stories are as follows:

"The first is a story about Nathan Winograd.  The SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) was founded to kill dogs and cats.  Cities gave them a charter to get rid of the stray animals and destroy them.  In a typical year, 4,000,000 dogs and cats were killed, most of them within 24 hours of them being scooped up off the street.  Nathan and his boss saw this and they could not tolerate it.  They set out to make San Francisco a No Kill city.  Create an entire city where every dog or cat (unless it was ill or dangerous) would be adopted, not killed. 

Everyone said it was impossible. 

Nathan and his boss went to the City Council to get a change made in the ordinance and people from Humane Shelters and the SPCA around the country flew to San Francisco to testify against them!  They said it would hurt the movement, and it was inhumane. 

They persisted and Nathan went directly to the community.  He connected with people that cared about this.  Non-professionals, people with passion. 

Within just a couple of years, San Francisco became the first No Kill city.  Running no deficit, completely supported by the community.  Nathan left and went to Tompkins County, NY – a place as different from San Francisco as you can be and still be in the United States.

And he did it again.

He went from being a glorified dog catcher to completely transforming the community.  And then he went to North Carolina, and he did it again.  And he went to Reno, and he did it again. 

Thinking about what Nathan did, and what entrepreneurs do,  I think about IDEAS.

Creating an idea, spreading an idea has a lot behind it. 

If you’ve ever been to a Jewish wedding, but what they do is take a light bulb and put it in a cloth bag, then step on it and smash it.  There are many stories behind it, but one reason is because it INDICATES A CHANGE. 

From BEFORE to AFTER.

It’s a moment in time. 

I believe we are living through a moment and are at the key moment of a change in the way ideas are created and spread and implemented. 

We started with the factory idea.  You could change the whole world if you had an efficient factory that could churn out change.  We then went to the TV idea.  That was, if you had a big enough mouthpiece, if you could get on TV enough times, if you could buy enough ads, you could win. 

And now, we’re in this new model of leadership, where the way we make change is notby using money or power to lever a system. 

But by LEADING.

There is good news.  It is the idea of tribes.  What tribes are is a simple concept that goes back thousands of  years.   It’s about leading and connecting people and ideas.  And it’s something that people have wanted forever!

Lots of people are used to having a spiritual tribe, or a church tribe, having a work tribe, having a community tribe, but now – thanks to the internet, thanks to the explosion of mass-media, thanks to many other things bubbling through our society right now in the world:

TRIBES ARE EVERYWHERE.

The internet was supposed to homogenize everyone by connecting us all, but instead what it’s allowed is silos of interest.  You’ve got the Red Hat Ladies, the Red Hat Triatheletes, the organized army, the disorganized rebels, people in white hats selling food and people in white hats sailing boats.  The point is, you CAN find Ukrainian folk dancers and connect with them because you want to be connected.  People on the fringes can find each other, connect, and go somewhere. 

You can tell when you are running into someone in a tribe.  It is tribes, not money, not factories, that change our world.  That can change politics.  That can align large numbers of people.  Not because you force them to do something against their will.  But because they wanted to connect. 

That what we do for a living now is finding something worth changing and assemble tribes that spread the idea and spread the idea, and it becomes something far bigger than ourselves – it becomes a MOVEMENT. 

You don’t need everyone.  You just need enough of those people that care enough that they will get you to the next round and the next round. 

The idea you create isn’t for everyone, it is not a mass thing – you need to find the TRUE BELIEVERS."

Join the tribe.  Come with me and rise above.    

Watch the rest of the video below.


What an inspiring Ted Talk!!  Gather the people around you that care.  

Find your tribe.

Love them hard.


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