Ideavirus penicillin

I’ve been following Seth Godin’s blog lately.

He’s the extremely clueful author of Ideavirus, among other books.

So in a recent post on cargo-cult marketing I found it pleasantly surprising that he states “we have no idea why some ideas spread and others don’t.”

The post is about copying things you see successful companies doing, just like Pacific Islander cargo cults blindly copied US Army procedures like making an airstrip, creating a air traffic control hut, etc. The problem?

… just because you copy the elements that apparently made something work before doesn’t mean that you’re going to be guaranteed that it will work again.

Good point.

More interesting, though, is his admission that we just don’t know why some ideas spread and others don’t. I mean, he’s the expert.

We know something about how ideas spread, through Godin’s work, as well as Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point.

But why?

Some things catch. Some things don’t. Perhaps the best explanation is a Biblical one:

The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.

Which is not to say, as Damon Runyon observed, that you shouldn’t bet that way.

Just don’t expect to win every hand.

[tags] seth godin, ideavirus, marketing, innovation, ideas, malcolm gladwell, john koetsier [/tags]

1 CommentLeave a comment

  • John, have you ever heard of or read “The Answer to How is Yes” by Peter Block? You might find it worth dipping into. It challenges our pragmatism and is a helpful perspective.

    This posting and your “The Future Belongs” brought it to mind.

    Always blessed to visit your conversation here.

    Keep creating, Mike