If you’ve heard anything about the Fast Company Influence Project during the last month (and I’m sure you have), it’s probably been negative. The project was billed as an effort to find the “most influential person online” for 2010.
Most people agree about two things: 1) What does that even mean? and 2) Who really cares anyway?
I think we’ve waited long enough for something beneficial to come out of this project. I know that Fast Company has good intentions, but at this point it isn’t really going too well for them. So here’s how it’s gonna work from here on out: We’re taking over, and we’re going to use our “influence” to do something good – something to make a difference in people’s lives. We’re going to show the world that this can be much more than a silly popularity contest, and that we don’t have to accept the conclusions of Fast Company when they crown “the winner” (a dubious title indeed).
I’ve already spoken to many of the biggest players in this project, and a large number of them are on board. We’re going to pool our collective networks together for one common goal on Wednesday, August 11th. We will help everyone in our own communities to touch hearts and change lives in a way that’s meaningful to them. To use their influence in a positive way. Just one day to work as a team and make a difference – together. We’re going to do something the world has never seen before.
We’re gonna turn this ship around and take it somewhere new. Somewhere a little bit better. Because it would be a shame to waste all the energy and attention that’s already been spent on this project without doing something meaningful. Please sign up below and help us get it done. Instructions to pull this off will arrive via email.
Fast Company, consider yourselves hijacked.
(In case you don’t know me and think this could be a scam, it’s not. You can see what people think about the ItStartsWith.Us team here.)
This signup form has been removed because I surrendered to Fast Company on August 3rd. More details here.
- Joining us above simply puts you on an email list I can use to communicate with you guys as I put this project together in the next 10 days. Everyone on board will be asked to point their people first to this blog post and then to our shared activity on Wednesday the 11th. Shortly after August 11th, the list will be deleted, and I won’t retain the email addresses. No scams, no BS.
- I know that full details of the final event are not disclosed above. That’s because it’ll take a week to put together, and I don’t want to say one thing and do something even slightly different. Hope that’s okay. But trust me, it’ll be good. And if you sign up, you’ll be notified first about exactly what we’re doing, and how you can get a slightly larger role in the final event, if that’s something you’re interested in.
- We are not going to use our influence to raise money or raise awareness about any one of us, any of our charities, or any of our pet projects. We (and the people in our networks) are going to do something free, fast, easy, fun and meaningful on an individual level, for someone in our own lives. Something that takes 15 minutes or less to complete. The final shared activity will be in a central place where everyone can contribute in their own way, and the rest of us can enjoy, learn and celebrate with everyone else.
- We’ve been doing this stuff at ItStartsWith.Us every week for a long time now – we have a great track record of success and huge results – you can learn more on our Change the World page.
- If we want to do something amazing, we have to do it ourselves. It starts with us.
Response to Fast Company’s “Influence Jacking!” Article
Last night I learned that Fast Company had gotten wind of this project from my discussions with people over the weekend, and Mark Borden had written an article discussing the imminent hijacking. You can read it here if you’re interested. It’s a fun article with a fantastic image. Well played on that one, sir.
There’s a bit of uncertainty in the article, probably due to the fact that Mark isn’t familiar with me and the ItStartsWith.Us team and all that we’ve been doing to touch people’s lives in in the past year. So that’s perfectly understandable. What I can tell him and the Fast Company readers is that this definitely isn’t a ruse, or a way to get ISWU talked about. In fact, ISWU started out as a secret group . . . and we still tend to fly under the radar. Don’t get me wrong – I love it when people talk about our team, but publicity is never the driving force. The driving force is always about trying to make a positive impact in the lives of the people around us.
The very simple fact is that I was thinking about the Influence Project the other day, and while I agree that it’s an interesting editorial investigation, I realized that when I (and most other people) look back on this project in a year, we won’t remember all the details, but we will remember our overall feeling about it. And I think the overall feeling surrounding this project isn’t great right now, but with a slight change in direction I believe that we can satisfy Fast Company’s interest in learning about influence AND produce a lot of meaningful action at the same time. If you want a closer look at my thought process here, you can check out this post on my Tumblr.
The Fast Company article contained a formal request for a list of demands from me. So here’s my response.
Mark, I have no demands. All this talk of pirates and hijacking makes for fun interactions and sensational headlines, and it gets attention. So now that I have yours, here’s what I have to say. Not a demand, but a simple request:
Will you and Fast Company work with me and join all of us in turning the attention of this project towards something meaningful next week?
I’ve done a ton of work on this over the past four days, and I am 100% confident that we will pull off something huge on 8/11 with or without you guys. But it would be really cool to have your team join ours and produce something amazing together.
So, to put it back into pirate terms, you have two choices: join the crew, or walk the plank.
Which will it be?
UPDATE – 11:18pm, 8/2/2010
See Mark Borden’s reaction in the comments section below. Fast Company has chosen not to work with us in steering this project in a more meaningful direction. Crewmates! How would you like to respond? Should we give them the ship back, or should they take a walk out on the plank? What say you?
UPDATE – 11:30am, 8/3/2010
I surrendered to Fast Company today. More details here.
- The Influence Project Hijackers Surrender
- Wanted: Smiles, Smiles and More Smiles
- Is There A Wrong Way To Do Good Things?
- Mysterious Letters Update
- A Big Brand Doing It Right: Avery Block And Claim Jumper