Published on: April 12, 2022
by Michael Sansolo
Hardly a day seems to pass without us all getting yet another lesson in how technologically enabled connections are changing the world in more ways that we could ever imagine. And quite honestly, not all those changes are great.
A few weeks back, a business friend introduced me to the concept of DAOs or decentralized autonomous organizations, which in some cases are tied specifically to block chains but in many other ways simply help to explain how random groups of people now gather around common and unexpected interests.
You’ve actually seen these examples in major news events. Consider the recent trucker convoys that gathered both in Ottawa, Canada, and then near Washington, DC. Neither was formed by an association nor any recognized group, but both clearly formed up pretty strongly.
A little more than a year ago, a group of Reddit users coalesced around the idea of taking revenge on Wall Street traders by unexpectedly sending shares of GameStop stores into the stratosphere for a brief time.
Just last week, Kevin wrote here on MNB about two similarly unexpected efforts. One was an organized protest (via TikTok) to put pressure on contract negotiations in Southern California and the other was the incredibly successful effort to unionize an Amazon facility in New York. In response to that second effort was an article about how organized labor is learning that disorganization might be today’s most potent tool.
Chances are that this entire idea seems like a completely unwanted and unneeded exercise to you, making you wonder how your company could possibly avoid being the next target of any such effort. In truth, all of this is so new and so unpredictable that there is no playbook for how to combat such efforts, but awareness is an important first step.
Let’s remember that viral isn’t synonymous with trouble or even unwanted publicity. Good news can travel pretty quickly as well.
Last week the Washington Post ran an article about something that’s not actually all that uncommon, but is rarely found in media. It was a lengthy and beautiful story chronicling an unexpected and years-long friendship between a Publix employee in Florida and a very young shopper.
The story explained how the friendship began and blossomed both inside and outside the store with absolutely no hint of maliciousness.
It’s a wonderful story, but honestly, there are likely thousands just like it even inside Publix alone. What made this story different was how a post by the young girl’s parents went viral and led to a national spotlight on such a delightful tale.
Again, there’s no simple lesson from this story other than the power of viral messaging. And perhaps the lesson in all of this is the reminder that we live in a brave new world where both good and bad news or all kinds of efforts—well-intentioned or malicious—can spread like wildfire.
There’s no vaccine or booster for this virus, but stories like these are constant reminders of how the world has changed and is likely to go on changing for a long time to come. Forewarned is forearmed.
Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at email@example.com.
His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available here.
And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon here.