Is the most important part of a wave the beginning, the end, or somewhere in the middle? It's a loaded question, because the answer is localized to both the amplitude of a wave as it passes through local networks, and our personal reactions to it's form or pattern as it moves past us. Information waves in the social web are spawned from events, ideas, and emotional reactions. Relationships built over time are the pathways along which waves can grow and spread.
Throughout our web wanderings we reinforce specific patterns which resonate with our internal image of a better world by sharing it with friends, or buying in. We lash out against messages that are the antithesis of our personal ideal, and ignore ripples that fail to register on our internal morale or philosophic compasses. We react because we believe it matters, we understand that our added attention, our vote of approval, at just the right time can push an idea far beyond the abstract initial wave form. The keepers entrusted with crafting and nurturing the wave are tasked with overcoming the often long and painful chasm to becoming real (Fred expresses the essence of this idea well).
Perfecting Our Timing
The first analogy which comes to mind is the many hours I spent running back and forth in a big white box, luckily the walls weren't padded (lucky until we ran into them). Timing in racquetball came from practice and refining our prediction of where the ball would be as fast as possible. The more hits, bounces and trajectories I recognized, the faster my reactions became. The rhythm of my positioning and timing of my swings became fluid after a hundred or so hours. When I wasn't such a fat guy, I was of midling skill (singles more so than doubles). For others like myself seeking to breathe life into a viral pattern, we must quickly learn the trajectory and waves of public sentiment and market opportunity in order to optimize our startup's chance of success.
Today's riff brought to you care of Leland's comment on yesterday's post. My favorite segment of his sentiment:
"The only sure way to avoid a reliance on timing and luck in a new product is simply to work your ass off and create something that has genuine value and utility in some aspect of our lives.".
In fact yesterday's post elicited marvelous feedback all around from Dave Pinsen, Arnold Waldstein, James Fuller, & Mark Nielsen whom I've shared comment space with before on Robert Scoble's and Louis Gray's virtual soap boxes and social shares. Appreciate the support and wisdom gents.