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Founders at work: The people Business!-5

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Feb 28, 2012

I have to confess that this article is highly influenced and even massively quoted from Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point one of my most favorite books. However, I hope the lessons will come to real use to anyone follow!

Big idea 1: Word of mouth -even in this age of mass communications and multi-million dollar advertising campaigns- still the most important form of human communication. Think about the last expensive restaurant you went to, the last expensive piece of clothing you bought, and last movie you saw. In how many of those cases your decision about where to spend your money heavily influenced by the recommendation of a friend?

Big idea 2: The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.

Big Idea 3: We are friends with the people we do things with, as much as we are with the people we resemble. We don't seek our friends, in other words. We associate with people who occupy the same small, physical spaces that we do.- -Malcolm Gladwell, Tipping Point, The law of few.

By the time, when Malcolm Gladwell wrote this book in 2000, things have changed fundamentally. We have experienced a massive paradigm shift in the field of marketing and business communication which is yet to take a conceivable shape. Apparently, word of mouth will never lose it's glamor unlike ladies but a new premise has been evolved with the time. It's word of mouse! Although fundamental rules for both word of mouth and mouse are same but word of mouse has more easy virility. Similarly, it has also apparent challenge of being faded away. These are not the things I actually wanted to tell you rather something else.

To tip on social media and to draw a word of mouse revolution you have to find right people with two particular sets of social gifts-1. Influence and connection 2. Whether he is interested about your idea or not.

There is a common rule for both word of mouth and mouse revolution. In both case people matter most. You need to reach out to more people what is not easy at all. Advertisement is not a reliable means to create a word of mouth virus rather 'mouth' is. You need some selective mouth of some selective people who can tip your idea. Whatever your message is probability says that it can tip if it get the touch of right people.

In social media things are more simple. But the problem is information overload. Even a more likable message can be defeated to a less likable one due to overflow of stream. Stream matter. Live long on it. And the only way of living long in stream is to give your message consistently which is not effective when done by a single person. Rather let other people talk about you who are connectors and influencer. At the end important similarly goes to people. People matter. Whatever it's marketing, social media, crating buzz and whatever it is, all are done by people. Success derives from people. So, master people skill and live long!

So how can one master people skill? Again listen what Malcolm has to say in a paraphrase form_

What makes connectors? The first and most obvious criterion is that Connectots know a lots of people. They are the kind of people who knows everyone. Knowing lots of people is a kind of skill, something that someone might set out to do deliberately and that could be perfected and that those techniques are central to the fact that he/she knows everyone.

Connectors collect people the same way others collect stamps.

So, what have you learnt? It is, knowing lots of people is crucial and knowing lots of people is a skill that could be mastered. So, how? Again ask Malcolm- here is a paraphrase of what he wrote-

“If any connector meet you and like you and you happen to mention your birthday, they write it and you will get a birthday gift from”

Connecting with people is not that hard as we often perceive it. Our perception sometimes even make it more inedible for us. So master it, here are some tips I'm trying to practice-

Proximity overpower similarity. Grameephone does not make it for nonsense. Stay close really works.

People love to laugh because life is often boring. Here is a paraphrase of Malcolm's saying- If you sat with a connector on a plane ride from Dhaka to Cox's Bazar, he would start talking as the plane taxied to the runway, you would be laughing by the time the seatbelt sign was turned off, and when you landed at the other end you'd wonder where the time went.

Living closer and remaining omnipresent are new rule of love! On facebook or any other social media your success largely depend on three main factors- number one- How often you give updates, number two, who are your consumers and whether they are interested to your issue and finally who gives you a share and like.

Let's, find people interested about your issue. Be omnipresent. Be interested.

Note: This is the 5th article of the Series Founders at Work (FAW), You can check previous articles here, here, here, and here


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Ruhul Kader is a technology and business analyst based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Future Startup and author of Rethinking Failure: A short guide to living an entrepreneurial life. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, technology policy, and society. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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