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As business people and entrepraneurs, it’s in our DNA to be the leader, to be out front and see if we can bring people along with us. We want to start a movement or sometimes just a business. To really get our movement or business off the ground we need the first follower.

I first learned of Derek Sivers when I read his book, Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur. Sivers is founder of CDBaby.com which he sold in 2008. At the time CD Baby was the largest seller of independent music on the web, with over $100M in sales for over 150,000 musician clients.

I really enjoyed the book so I visited his website and came across this 3-minute talk he gave at the TED Conference. It’s called First Follower: Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy and you can see his TED talk here. It’s a fun video but the first take away I got from it was: “A leader needs the guts to stand alone and look ridiculous… This is key. You must be easy to follow!”

It’s not so much about the leader, the dancing guy, it’s about the first follower. It is the person who has the courage to follow the leader, in this case the dancing guy.

The second take away from the video is “The first follower is actually an underestimated form of leadership in itself. … The first follower is what transforms a lone nut into a leader.”

I don’t want to say anymore without giving away his entire talk but let me leave you with this. When you do start your business or your movement, take the time to nuture your first follower and every other follower. They could be the difference in whether you are successful or not.

Shawn Wright
Shawn Wright is a graphic designer and podcaster living in Birmingham, Alabama. You can find his design work at shawnwright.net. You can find his podcasts, Alabama Short Stories at alabamashortstories.com and the Shades Cahaba Oral History Project podcast at shadescahabahistory.com. His designs are for sale at TeePublic.com, Redbubble.com and Society6.com.
Shawn Wright
Shawn Wright

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