what's that mean?
Everyone who calls themselves "wolf-something" or "something-wolf" almost inevitably turns out to be an irredeemable shitneck.
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It's More Than Just Word Of Mouth
Marketers have been pursuing word of mouth for years. There are five important principles that someone unleashing an ideavirus should understand--principles that marketers pursuing old-fashioned word of mouth didn't use:
1. An idea merchant understands that creating the virus is the single most important part of her job. So she'll spend all her time and money on creating a product and environment that feeds the virus.
2. An idea merchant understands that by manipulating the key elements of idea propagation--the velocity, the vector, the smoothness, the persistence and the identification of sneezers--she can dramatically alter a virus's success.
Definition: PERSISTENCE Some ideas stick around a long time with each person, influencing them (and those they sneeze on) for months or years to come. Others have a much shorter half-life before they fade out.
Definition: VECTOR As an ideavirus moves through a population, it usually follows a vector. It could be a movement toward a certain geographic or demographic audience, for example. Sometimes an ideavirus starts in a sub-group and then breaks through that niche into the public consciousness. Other times, it works its way through a group and then just stops. Napster vectored straight to college kids. Why? Because they combined the three things necessary for the virus to catch on: fast connection, spare time and an obsession with new music.
3. The idea merchant remembers that digital word of mouth is a permanent written record online, a legacy that will follow the product, for good or for ill, forever.
4. An idea merchant realizes that the primary goal of a product or service is not just to satisfy the needs of one user. It has to deliver so much wow, be so cool, so neat and so productive that the user tells five friends. Products market themselves by creating and reinforcing ideaviruses.
5. An idea merchant knows that the ideavirus follows a lifecycle and decides at which moment to shift from paying to spread it, to charging the user and profiting from it.
What Does It Take To Build And Spread An Ideavirus?
There are two questions you can ask yourself about your idea before you launch it...questions that will help you determine how likely your idea will become an ideavirus.
Is it worth it?
Nobody spreads an ideavirus as a favor to you. They do it because it's remarkable, thought-provoking, important, profitable, funny, horrible or beautiful. In today's winner-take-all world, there's no room for a me-too offering, or worse, BORING products and services. If it's not compelling, it will never lead to an ideavirus.
Face it. Nobody is going to hand out big rewards ever again for being on time, performing work of good quality, being useful, finishing a project on budget or being good enough. That's expected. That's a given. The rewards (and the ideavirus) belong to the first, the fastest, the coolest, the very best.
If your idea doesn't become a virus, it's most likely because it didn't deserve to become a virus.
Is it smooth?
After someone's been exposed to an ideavirus just once, they're not likely to actually catch it. We've made our brains bulletproof and ideaproof. There's so much clutter, so much noise, so many ideas to choose from that the vast majority of them fail to make a dent.
Think about the last time you walked through a bookstore (the home of ideaviruses waiting to happen). How many books did you stop and look at? Pick up? Turn over? And how many of those books ended up in your shopping basket? Got read? Led you to tell ten friends? Precious few, that's for sure.
Compare this to the Harry Potter phenomenon... the bestselling books of the last few years, created just because kids told kids. A classic ideavirus, and one that initially grew with no promotion at all from the publisher.
It's difficult to get from awareness to the "sale" of an idea, to convert a stranger into a friend and a friend into a carrier of your ideavirus. An ideavirus succeeds when it pierces our natural defenses and makes an impact.
It's foolish to expect that one exposure to your message will instantly convert someone from stranger to raving ideavirus-spreading fan. So plan on a process. Plan on a method that takes people from where they are to where you want them to go.
And while you're at it, work on the product. Because a catchier, more compelling, more viral product makes your job 100 times easier.
These are critical decisions because of the attention deficit marketers are facing. In 1986, the year I published my first book, there were about 300 other business books published. In 1998, there were 1,778 business books brought to market.
The supermarket sees about 15,000 new products introduced every year. The Levenger catalog alone features more than 50 different pens and pencils, none of which were available just a couple years ago. There isn't a marketplace out there that isn't more crowded than it was a decade ago.
In a world where products are screaming for attention, the most precious commodity is attention. And attention is harder and harder to achieve.
If you already understand the power of permission, your next question might be, "Fine, but how do we get permission? How do we get the first date... the first interaction where we ask people if we can start an ongoing dialogue about our products and their needs?"
My answer used to be a rather weak mumble about buying ads. The right answer, however, is to create an ideavirus. The right answer is to let the market tell itself about your products and services and give you permission to continue the dialogue without your having to pay for it each time. The right answer is to create products so dynamic and virusworthy that you earn the attention.
A gene's success in a body may stem from its attempt to bypass the normal sexual lottery by making itself present in more than 50% of zygotes in an organism. Some genes find other ways of having themselves transmitted between cells. Hence multiple factors influence the evolution of genes ‚Äî not just the success of the species as a whole. Similarly the evolutionary pressures on memes include much more than just truth and economic success. Evolutionary pressures may include the following:
1. Experience: If a meme does not correlate with an individual's experience, then that individual has a reduced likelihood of remembering that meme.
2. Pleasure/Pain: If a meme results in more pleasure or less pain for its host then the host will have a greater likelihood of remembering it.
3. Fear/Bribery: If a meme constitutes a threat then people may become frightened into believing it. Similarly, if a meme promises some future benefit then people may incline to believe it. The memes ¬ªif you do X you will burn in hell¬´ and ¬ªdo Y and you will go to heaven¬´ provide examples. Memes which pass on the fear of a threat, of the likelihood or effectiveness of a threat, that ¬ªsomething will happen if you do such and such a thing¬´, have a high likelihood of success, and may therefore replicate and remain in the meme-pool. They may assist in this way in the survival of a thought, a theme or a philosophy within a community.
4. Censorship: If an organisation destroys any retention-systems containing a particular meme or otherwise controls the usage of that meme, then that meme may suffer a selective disadvantage.
5. Economics: If people or organisations with economic influence exhibit a particular meme, then the meme has a greater likelihood of benefiting from a greater audience. If a meme tends to increase the riches of an individual holding it, then that meme may spread because of imitation. Such memes might include ¬ªHard work is good¬´ and ¬ªPut number one first¬´.
6. Distinction: If the meme enables hearers to recognize and respect tellers (as leaders, intelligent people, insightful, etc.), then the meme has a greater chance of spreading. The erstwhile receivers will want to become themselves tellers of the same meme (or of an evolved/mutated version). Thus ?©lite knowledge can provide a promotion to ?©lite status.
Memes, like genes, do not purposely do or want anything ‚Äî they either get replicated or not. Some meme systems have negative effects on the host or on their host society, but humans generally have a symbiotic relationship with these abstract entities.
Memes do not mutate in an exclusively passive way. The brain inhabited by a meme system can carry out a sort of active modification of a meme. One could draw an analogy with a cell's error-correction systems, but they clearly function quite differently. In essence, people create and modify memes almost continuously. One can modify, manipulate, and create meme systems in thought, for instance through internal dialogue. As soon as one opens one's mouth and says something (or does something) that one has not copied (but that others can copy), one has unleashed a novel meme. Thus, one could conclude that we all perform the role of a memetic engineer to some degree (even if not consciously).
One controversial application of this ¬ªselfish meme¬´ parallel (compare the selfish gene) results in the idea that certain collections of memes can act as ¬ªmemetic viruses¬´: collections of ideas that behave as independent life-forms which continue to get passed on ‚Äî even at the expense of their hosts ‚Äî simply because of their success at getting passed on. Some observers have suggested that evangelical religions and cults behave this way; so by including the act of passing on their beliefs as a moral virtue, other beliefs of the religion also get passed along even if they do not provide particular benefits to the believer.
Others maintain that the wide prevalence of human adoption of religious ideas provides evidence to suggest that such ideas offer some ecological, sexual, ethical or moral value; otherwise memetic evolution would long ago have selected against such ideas. For example, some religions urge peace and co-operation among their followers (¬´Thou shalt not kill¬´) which may possibly tend to promote the biological survival of the social groups that carry these memes. However, the idea of group selection stands on shaky ground (to say the least) in the field of genetics. Accordingly, some consider the idea of selection of ideas beneficial to the group exclusively as unlikely
Dawkins notes that one can distinguish a biological virus from its host's normal genetic material by the fact that it can propagate alone, without the entire genetic corpus of the host being propagated
1. cutting during sex isn't fucked up.
2. stabbing during sex is going a littlebit further than cutting.
3. hence, stabbing during sex is also not fucked up.
I think if we could somehow establish a small trickle of publications we'd alleviate that possible problem.