#67 There is no movement without the first follower
Lessons on storytelling, clowning & leading
Derek Sivers has a unique style of storytelling. He picks an observation that’s as mundane as it can be. Then, he packages it in beautiful details and uses it to share useful life lessons.
In First Follower, he uses the 3 minute video of a dancing guy to impart wisdom on leadership. Here’s something that’s worth noting:
Leadership is over-glorified.
Yes it started with the shirtless guy, and he’ll get all the credit, but you saw what really happened:
It was the first follower that transformed a lone nut into a leader.
There is no movement without the first follower.
I’ve noticed this plays out very well in creating communities. These first set of folks to put trust in you & promote you to their network are real heroes. We hardly recognise them, though. What do you think?
And if you’re not in the mood to think about that, here’re the finds for today to get you thinking.
1. 21 Places that define India@75
Founding Fuel did a special post to celebrate India’s 75th Independence day. I rarely share a topical post, but this one is worth breaking that norm. It has 21 stories to tell, each with some connection to our past or present. From Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai to INS Khukri Memorial in Diu, it covered places that have had a special role to play in our journey.
I loved each and every one of the stories - short & very well crafted.
There is so much we don’t know about our own country & its history. Thank You to folks like FF (and all contributors to this post) who are preserving some of these stories like this.
2. Lessons from Clubhouse journey
Anu Atluru joined Clubhouse very early in its journey and was the head of community. She recently published a long post capturing her learning working at Clubhouse. It’s really useful for all builders - I can relate to many of her lessons, and will keep others in mind as I take my product from 0 to 1.
If you’re really short of time, here are my top 5 takeaways from this post.
Lesson #1 — Earn the right to build the next thing
Lesson #2 — Strive for a great UX and a good enough UI
Lesson #7 — Create value through user-to-user interactions
Lesson #14 — Expand scope in good times, narrow it in the bad
Lesson #21 — Company culture is built in DMs and 1:1s
3. An Apple Bank Account
It’s like a mental exercise or a case study for a job interview. What will the next set of financial products from Apple look like? Yes they will be sexy and slick - both hardware (card) and software (app ecosystem). But there is more to it than just those two details.
This post by Alex Johnson does a good coverage of the current products & potential directions. In doing so, it gives a good summary of the consumer finance category. Do a quick read to get a bird's eye view of the space.
4. Storytelling to create reality distortion fields
Great stories alter beliefs, result in the loss of access to real-world facts, evoke emotions, and significantly reduce ability to detect inaccuracies. That’s how Michael Simmon explains the power of storytelling in this post for Inc. He has curated inputs from a diverse set of storytellers on how to do such powerful storytelling.
Here are two tips that stood out for me.
1. Balance the universal with the specific - unless the story is relatable, you won’t be able to create memorable experiences.
2. Use open loops to create anticipation - involve the audience to think about what’s happening next. Let the tension of the unknown & a potential surprise remain, always.
5. Clowning principles
Clowns are artists and performers. And, they are really smart storytellers. Principles of clowning tell us a little more about the art & its artists. Here are some bits that have a much wider application beyond the world of clowning.
Everything can be seen as a problem to be solved, a knot to be unravelled.
Don’t tell or show the audience or your partners what to think, do, or feel.
Have an emotional reaction and invite the audience to join in your experience.
Tension without release undermines your performance.
Find simple ways to accomplish complicated tasks, and complicated ways to accomplish simple tasks.
6. Wild world of CAPTCHA
“reCAPTCHAs: Blocking bots, preserving history, and inspiring memes” from the webflow blog is a fantastic read if you’re up to exploring some really wild ideas. I promise you many ‘Aha’ moments.
The original CAPTCHA test designed by a team at Carnegie Mellon University asked users to decipher numbers or letters. CAPTCHA is an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. Google redesigned the CAPTCHA test, improving its ability to keep out advanced bots and malicious software, and that new service is called reCAPTCHA.
Somewhere at Google there is a database containing 25 million books and nobody is allowed to read them. More on this here.
CAPTCHA and Duolingo have a connection.
And yes, those memes are really funny!
7. Everything else
Some random goodness from the internet:
Read: Why “1984” Debuted in 1983 (you know the legendary ad, this one covers some hidden gems around it + Do check out the bonus links at the end of the post), America’s greatest Math team (a wall street veteran redesigning old system & building a talent machine), Bicycle graveyards (these acts started well before Vélib' and Yulu),
Laugh: If you’ve some time, then head to Old jokes to uncover the history of some really old jokes. If you don’t have time, then head to Twitter and follow @ThePunnyWorld [Warning, this may keep you hooked for more time than you expect].
Explore: LETTERHEADY is a curation of letterheads. In their word - “an online homage to offline correspondence; specifically letters. However, here at Letterheady we don’t care about the letter’s content. Just its design”. Check out Popular for a quick list or explore Random from the side menu.
Explore: Found in a Library Book is an interesting attempt by Oakland public library. Easy to guess what it shares - notes, arts, photos. There can be a story behind each item, or there is none. They just happened to be left behind.
Before we sign off, here’s a quick dose of laughter courtesy PUNS (@ThePunnyWorld)
That's all for this week, folks!
If you enjoyed this post, show your love by commenting and liking it. I write this newsletter to share what I learnt from others. If you learnt something from this today, why not share it with a couple of your friends to continue this chain?