Illusions of strategy

Mark Earls makes a point worth repeating: The thing thing and the people thing.

One of the most unhelpful assumptions I come across most when I’m talking about how things spread is this: our assumption that the thing is the thing… In other words, that in order to spread, a thing (or idea or word) must have something special about it; that it must be something about the thing that makes it spreadable (or “sticky”) if you prefer that term.

It’s a short post, worth reading the whole thing. I think the tendency to invest objects with magical properties is pretty much innate. We don’t really see what’s going on. I blogged a concrete example here.

Of course we make people into things, in Mark’s context. So we assume that famous people have the X factor and spend our days trying to work out what it is. We confuse the captain with the storm.

It’s very easy to get discouraged when your idea doesn’t take off. Most bloggers know that the posts they think are brilliant seem to get no traction, and then things they think of as trivial get retweeted like mad. Thinking is great but it can be over-rated. We deceive ourselves that if we really understand the system we will come up with the answer. Sometimes it’s better to try stuff out, put things into action and see what happens.

Hat tip to Tim Kastelle for his and spotting this post before I did.

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