But first, these messages…
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Parkinson's law is the adage which states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for
“The resulting abundance of – and desire for more (and/or higher quality) – information has
come to be perceived in some circles, paradoxically, as the source of as much productivity loss
as gain.” Information Overload can lead to “information anxiety,” which is the gap between
the information we understand and the information that we think that we must understand.
(NOT From Wikipedia, but free anyway)
One of the ironies of having the web is that a needle in the haystack is a lot easier to find – but
there are now thousands of needles, the size of the haystack is astronomically larger, and
increasingly the haystack is itself made up of needles. So, the problem now is… Which Needle?
It’s tough being an Idea leader. For many people who try, being a top handler
of ideas risks being on a fairly insecure, or at least testy, path.
Absolutely dismal: laid off, no tenure, burned at
the stake, robbed, disgraced… you’ve seen it.
Much better than the above: but how much fun
is it perpetrating information overload and
dealing with your critics?
And… it could get worse. Because…
Knowledge as a Product
Innovators who have Agents get a lot closer to
emerging from the research community as candidate
contributors in the market for concepts.
Teachers and Brokers (e.g., schools, publishers, the
Media) create the channels in which contributions
flow to recommended consideration and positions.
Promoters and Sponsors are a strong combination for
generating the availability of thoughts for groups that
already have a situation in common.
The most successful
contributors here get
known as Leaders.
Their most important
function here is not
to “originate” ideas,
but to communicate
and rate them, as
thoughts in a highvisibility location for
audiences. That is,
leaders rise to the
Where Did This All Come From, Anyway?
In the 1990’s, an Editor at a magazine from a prestigious
Consulting firm interviewed a person who the editor decided
had business ideas that merited attention, and designated that
person a “thought leader”.
Today, such interviews would be published on the web, with
the same goal of cultivating attention to the meritorious ideas
held by a selected person.
Top questions for ersatz Thought Leaders:
• How do I get picked, by someone I want to pick me?
• What makes the idea(s) that I have rewarding?
• Who’s going to notice, and why?
If you can spot someone’s agent, broker and sponsor, you
might be looking at a thought leader in the making.
The Big Draw: Intelligence and Insights
Thoughts are readily recognizable by type. Some thoughts are the leading products in the marketplace of
concepts. Because of leadership and the mechanisms that support it, they stand out in an ocean of research,
especially with relevance to the situations that motivate us to increase or fortify our knowledge holdings.
TYPE OF VALUE
Why we want thought leaders
What if we didn’t have thought leaders like this? We would still have Experts, Critics,
Editors, Curators, and Consultants – and they are in abundant supply almost everywhere.
It’s not that the top people in these groups are not leaders; instead, some of them operate
additionally and publicly, with more or less success, beyond those roles. The question is,
what are they doing additionally, that gives us something we don’t already have?
Despite the name, thought “Leadership” is not only something “pulling” audiences along.
Instead it’s actually something being “pulled by” audiences – namely, it’s meeting audience
demand. Without thought leaders, there are plenty of great thinkers and plenty of
potentially great concepts, but they are harder to choose and more difficult to follow in the
timeframes and circumstances that we increasingly prefer.
In effect, through the impact of branding and publicity, certain persons become focal points
heightening the availability and recognition of significant concepts, when we need them.
How To Follow Thought Leaders
The top benefit of thought leaders is that they make the
impossibly large world of ideas manageable by us. A lot of
this comes about through successful branding. And that
empowers us to shop. But does this mean that brand
loyalty is a requirement for being a good follower? Isn’t it a
“given” that if knowledge is not changing then it is failing?
The answer is, the most important changes in knowledge
are the ones that change your own knowledge. This means
that the thought leaders that matter the most are the ones
that can give you something you don’t already have. That
“thing” should be ideas, but also, it could be an example of
how to act as a thought leader if you decide to switch
A thought leader’s best follower is a new follower.
“A brand is the set of expectations,
memories, stories and relationships that,
taken together, account for a consumer’s
decision to choose one product or service
over another. If the consumer (whether
it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a
donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a
selection or spread the word, then no
brand value exists for that consumer.”
– Seth Godin, Thought Leader