By Thomas Frey
Executive Director of the DaVinci Institute
Too often the old notions about starting a business fail because the end goal of what we’re trying to accomplish is too big. It’s too big for what you can accomplish yourself. It’s too big for the traditional revenue paradigms of business modeling. And it’s too big to fit within the legal structures that we as business people have to operate within. Lately the trend has been to “Launch Your Own Movement”.
Much of the work done in the open source community has given us clues as to how a movement can be developed and launched, but large pieces of this emerging science still remains a mystery. But that said, there are several necessary
components to “movement launching” that, if done well, set you on your way to lead the charge.
1. Establish the Need. Make a convincing argument as to why the world needs the changes you’re trying to make. Crafting the message is extremely important. Always focus and “stay on message”.
2. Naming. Create a name that people can rally behind. Something that conveys the noble purpose or your endeavor. Names like “Our Unshredable History” have a nice flare but may not survive well over time.
3. Credibility Building. Launching anything new becomes an exercise in credibility building. You will need to get many other people and businesses to buy into your thinking. Start with the thought leaders. There are many techniques for adding people and reputations to your membership – advisory boards, surveys, staffing, letters-of-interest, testimonials, etc. The more reputations you can add to your own reputation, the better you are equipped to create a cumulative reputation that extends far
out into the marketplace.
4. Revenue Streams. Not all movements need to operate like a business, but if this is your sole source of income, you need to identify your sources of funding early.
5. Participation. Movements demand participation. You will need to devise strategies for people to become involved in what you’re doing. Linux became an enabling technology with a platform on which others could build. Building new products, on their technology, was the form of participation that everyone could buy into.
6. PHP Nuke. Build a PHP Nuke website around the movement. It’s free. Post articles on a daily basis about anything to do with file-sharing technology, permanence of data storage, P2P limitations, etc. Let people participate and build the movement organically. (www.phpnuke.org)
7. Finding Partners. No movement can accomplish anything without growing it. The first partners you will need are the people most affected by what you’re trying to accomplish. Start with a focused niche and other groups will follow.
8. Branding. Package your descriptions, phrases and discussions about what you’re doing into crisp clean sound bites. Good graphics and logos coupled with an easily repeatable message can be amazingly far reaching.
9. Creating Disciples. Train the trainers. Start by creating an association – some nonprofit entity dedicated to the purpose of evangelizing your movement. Organize a conference or forum to bring people together. Once they are thoroughly indoctrinated, they then will be empowered to go out into the rest of the world and proclaim the good news of your movement.
10. Establish Yourself as the Expert. Write a book on this topic. You need to be the person with the deepest depth of understanding and comprehension on this topic. You need to become the singular most influential voice on this topic. Your personality will become the driving force behind this movement.
11. Be Relentless. The movement needs to become the single most important thing in your life. You need to eat, sleep and breath it. You must become focused, relentless, tenacious, and dedicated to making it happen. Let nothing distract you. Neither rain nor sleet nor dark of night can keep you from your appointed rounds.
12. Make it Fun. No one will want to join your movement if it doesn’t look like fun. Make it fun. Throw a pie in the face of all new members. Devise a corporate initiation strategy where the head of the company has to ride a horse around the town square dressed in nothing but feathers. Something like that. Being unconventional will get you tons of press.
There are thousands of details involved in each of these points and it’s easy to get bogged down with the details. But the most important thing is to just do it. Be brave, be reckless, be creative, but just do it. Some of the best plans in the world never got off the ground because people talked themselves out of it. The world has no respect for people who don’t take risks. So come on in. The water is fine.
About The Author: Thomas Frey is the Executive Director and Founding Futurist of the DaVinci Institute, a futurist think tank dedicated to reinventing the world. His papers and articles about his work have been published in such notable publications as Forbes Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Futurist Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Rocky Mountain News, Oakland Tribune, Denver Business Journal, and many more. As a former IBM engineer, Tom received more awards than any other engineer. He is an internationally recognized futurist, designer, author, entrepreneur, and public speaker. His specialty is the future of technology and its impact on business and society.