Twitter and Facebook exist not because we want them, it is because we need them. A deep desire within us wants to connect. This desire to connect is woven into the fabric of our day to day lives.

This book is a mixture of marketing and leadership. If I had to, I would say that this book focuses more on leadership than marketing. The whole book revolves around tribes. He defines a tribe as a group of people who are connected to each other with a shared vision. Tribe is a place where people feel safe, share their worldview and connect. Now, the tribe might be your town, religion or even football teams – we need them.

Seth points out that this world needs more leaders than managers. People who believe in a cause, not just robots following instructions. Think about Elon Musk, he is the only person who has created 3 companies that are estimated to be worth in billions. When he started Tesla, all the big manufacturers pretty much laughed at him. They thought he was crazy – as the market was not ready for an electric car. Fast forward ten years, and now even GM is getting into the electric car game. Not only that, in the last 10 years he has expanded his hands into batteries, solar energy and electric car chargers – the building blocks of an electric revolution. Now, his competitors are way behind and they will have to spend huge amounts of money to catch up. He had a vision and he followed it until it came to fruition. Tesla is more of a tribe than a company.

Source: Tesla.com

Source: Tesla.com

Elon started with creating a tribe of early adopters who were excited to have an electric sports car. That tribe needed to feel different and Elon catered to that demand. Then he used the resources from the early adopters to expand his company. That tribe of people needed a common ground and Tesla with an early electric sports car gave them one. Now, if he didn’t believe in his vision, he would have given up a long time ago. This is what tribes are about – they are more about the message than the product. Tesla was not about the car – it was about a revolution.

Creating leaders, not Mangers

Leaders let their community thrive. They let them communicate and don’t work as managers. They entice people to believe in the vision, not to follow a rule book. According to Seth, the size of the tribe really does not matter. The groups can be small but if they are motivated and enthusiastic, they can make a huge impact. For example, a small group such as NRA can have a huge impact on the lives of millions of people. It is because the NRA base is very vocal and enthusiastic.

Seth points that in order for the tribe to be successful, you need:

  • The goal and a vision for the future
  • A clear connection between the tribe and the leader
  • Motivation and enthusiasm
Dollar Shave Club

Source : dollarshaveclub.com

One of the biggest things you need to grow a tribe is to have a unique vision. For example, when dollar shave club came out, it was the new thing. It created a tribe of people who wanted the new thing. A tribe of people who were upset with their old tribe (Gillett with expensive razor blades) and they jumped right on. Not only that, the same tribe of people spread the word because they were very enthusiastic about it. They felt a deep desire to tell people how Gillet was ripping them off and how this new company can save them money.  The hate for the old tribe was so much that they were compelled to share the word and the company grew exponentially.

May that be a company or a country, we know that great leaders have great ideas and if people accept them, they will create a tribe around it. But, people will only create a tribe if the vision is good enough for them. Good enough that it creates a need for them join.  They want to know if the leader is in it for the money or  the vision. The key here is that you are not going for everybody, you are creating a tribe of people who accept your vision.

One of the pitfalls most companies have is that once they grow, they start to water down their vision in order to gain market share. They try to include everybody in order to make more money. Now, this might be fine for a short term, but long term, it never fairs well. Once the message is watered down and leaders’ vision is gone, people scatter and leave the tribe. 

One of the interesting things Seth points out is that people want change, but they always refuse it; because change is scary. When Henry Ford asked people what they wanted, people replied that they needed a faster horse. But Ford had a vision, he didn’t want to create a faster horse, he wanted to create faster transportation.But sooner or later, people will require a change. They will demand it and if you don’t change, you can say goodbye to your business and your tribe.

Seth points out that it’s good to change your business model when you still have the money and momentum. Because once the market demands you to change, it is too late. Great leaders think ahead; they don’t react to change, they create change. When you are thinking about change, think about how you can challenge the status quo. Status quo is old and safe, don’t be old and safe.

Seth points out that Tribes grow when people spread ideas – not the leader. But leaders stick with a vision for a long time even when people call them crazy. Real leaders don’t care about credit; they care about a cause.

So, how does all of this apply to you? Well if you have company or thinking about creating a company, you should give this a read. There are some good points on how a vision and purpose connects people. What you will notice that in pretty much every social platform, you can create groups. That may be facebook groups, forums or a blog. People will always find a way to create a group that shares their ideas and their worldview. You might want to keep this in mind when you are thinking about your business.  

Tribes by seth gooding - review and my thoughts

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