Day: February 13, 2010
Take the shirtless guy - please
From the annual TED conference (Technocrats Embrace the Dharma) comes "The Shirtless Dancing Guy" theory of leadership. In a video shown at the conference, a man dances a goofy dance by himself outdoors, then another man runs up and joins him, then a mob forms, all dancing the goofy dance.
Simplified, the shirtless dancing guy is a "lone nut" until someone follows him--it is the "first follower" that turns solo insanity into a mass movement. This isn't offered as a parable of the Third Reich but rather some kind of wisdom about building people-powered initiatives. MyDD, a center-left site, cites it with favor.
A counterexample might be the scene in Forrest Gump where Tom Hanks runs cross-country. Hanks' "first follower" asks "why are you running?" and joins him without getting a decent answer. More runners join. Three years Hanks suddenly stops, in the middle of Monument Valley, leaving a hundred runners stranded without a clue.
The shirtless guy in the TED video is dancing at a music festival. Presumably everyone came to dance and have fun and then go home, so "leadership" has a pretty low bar.
(edited for clarity, tone)