Friends, fans and followers

Humans love to count. Here’s a list of some somethings we count obsessively:

  1. Our age
  2. Our money
  3. The value of our house
  4. Salaries
  5. The value of 401K (superannuation fund)
  6. Population
  7. Members
  8. Friends, Fans, Followers
  9. Hits, views, comments.
  10. Market share
  11. Percentage profit
  12. Traffic road toll

Really, we count almost everything. None of us are immune to this human symptom of counting. It’s the ultimate technique for organising and planning, in fact it’s what makes us top of the food chain.

So the question for startups is this: What are you tools are your creating that  your people count and compete with?



In business some people are snails. They move slow. They only slide in and out when the conditions are right (it’s wet). They leave a trail of slime behind them. And they are in constant danger of being crushed but others who just didn’t see them. They’re inconsequential. They’re existence seems superfluous even though they must have some kind position within the economic (food) chain.

Snails can’t live in startup land. They’re too dependent on the right conditions, even though Snails can be found in a very wide range of environments, both the human kind (human = government, private industry and SME’s) and the slug kind (slug = ditches, deserts and the abyssal depths of the sea).

Snails don’t build anything or change their enviornment. Instead they hide in the depths of some rich natural environments. Take a small portion of food and hope not to get crushed. There is a bit of snail in all of us and it’s something we must decide to avoid before we start anything important.


Entrepreneurship is in our DNA

We are all born entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is inextricably linked to human behaviour. To explore, to understand, to invent and to embrace take risk. Risk which results in a better situation for us and our stakeholders. Knowing that we will fail, and even learning to endure, no less enjoy that as part of it. Civilisation and evolution of humans is due to our entrepreneurial nature. It’s why we live in houses, drive cars, have climate control and everything we enjoy today. It’s part of our genetic code. It’s what differentiates us from all other creatures.

The word Entrepreneur


Noun: A person who organises and manages any enterprises, esp a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

The word origin is from 1875-80 coming from the French word ‘Entrepren’ – meaning to undertake. To do something. Also the word Enterprise. Is about entering and taking. Enter / prendere.

To be entrepreneurs is it about doing. Not over replanning or talking. It’s about action. Learning on the job. The most insightful ideas and poignant moments I have had in my life haven’t been while writing or typing, but when I’ve been acting.

Our code must be acted upon. Go act out your code.


Why scoreboards matter

Humans are compelled to count. We count everything. Days, weeks, months, years, birthdays, money in the bank, salary levels, years of experience. It’s part of the human condition, maybe it helped us evolve to a civilised existence .

As startup entrepreneurs we need to let our people count something. Whether it’s the savings they made or they friends they have, there needs to be a way for them to keep track. So our people know they have made progress. Commerce is an anthropological game of football. So we must keep score. But it must go beyond the corporate scoreboard of profit, share price, turnover, number of employees… it has to be an audience focused score. Like followers on twitter. It has to be about them, not us, it’s how humans roll.


Micro Fame

Recognition of effort is an important to the human psyche. We actually don’t like money as much as society would have us think. We what like is the recognition that people believe money buys. In this sense the human brain of the ‘uber consumer’ breaks it down a little like this:

I want to be recognised as a worthy

I want people to know I have achieved

If achieve I will be rewarded with payment in the form of money

People can’t see my bank account and wont know how successful I am (my self worth)

So I’ll buy things with my money which are on public display (car, house, holidays, clothes)

People will know these things require lots of money

People will know I have earned lots of money

Only people who are successful at ‘something / anything’ get lots of money

I can be happy that people will know ‘I am somebody’.

I am a worthy person

Then there’s people who know all this but take the short cut and just buy stuff they can’t afford on credit cards to define their success through consumption.

Smart startupss can use this human pshyche to their advantage as well. Rather than the success, money consumption trail, they can provide something much more immediate and altruistic. They share reconigition. The reward and promote their people as part of the success process. They provide micro fame.

This can be done is so many simple ways. Ways which rarely have a large financial burden on either party, but create a union between the two players for mutual benefit. Stuff not limited to but including:

– Member ratings

– Access to exclusive services, parties, insider events.

– Recognition in digital and print media

– Crowd sourcing & revenue sharing of such User Generated Content

– View counts

– Followers / friends / subscribers

– Most forms of social quantification

– Overt branding which has ‘user personlilty rub off’

obama girl

So the question then begs:

What sort of Micro Fame is your startup or business providing its people?


People & Compound Damage

No doubt your new start up will face issues. Many of them will be people related. Some will be things simply not getting done or not working once you press the on switch. If issues arise and remain unresolved within 24 hours you will start to suffer Compound Damage. This is particularly the case with suppliers and staff. All things in life compound, it is just natures way.  Consider this with all problems and general stuff ups.

If you ignore them they will go away, along with your business.