The FirstFollower is what Transforms a Lone Nut into a Leader

Posted by on Sep 29, 2011 in Awesome, Community | 5 Comments

Yves Hanoulle pointed me in his blog to a concept that I think he has heard about from Chris Matts. I love inspirations from awesome coaches🙂

First Follower

To create a movement, someone has to start and become the leader. But as long as this someone stays alone, s/he is not yet a leader, s/he’s a lone nut. There’s a specific person who transforms the situation: the lone nut becomes the leader when the First Follower joins hir and they start forming a movement or tribe. Derek Sivers did an amazing, 3min TED talk on this:

After I wrote this yesterday morning, I went to lunch with Thom Bradford and he told me of a new idea he had just started: Developer Anarchism. I had found my chance to become the first follower! Watch it grow!.


  1. YvesHanoulle
    September 29, 2011

    hi OLaf,

    nope, this is not something I picked up from Chris. I learned about it from Jurgen De Smet. (And later we showed the video in a training you were part of 😉 )

    It was Chris business card, who made me think of FirstFollower as a role. (What inspired me to put it on my linkedin profile.)


  2. Chris Matts
    September 29, 2011

    Hi Olaf

    Olav Maassen was the leader on this idea. Or rather, he was the lone nut and I was his first follower who turned him into a leader. ( He still owes me for that ).


  3. Olav Maassen
    September 29, 2011

    Hi Olaf,

    Either Chris or I came across the Derek Sivers blog post and we really liked the idea. So we agreed we were each others first follower and the rest of the world can figure out who the lone nut is.

    Last year we ordered business cards with first follower as a title.

    It is a wonderful concept and when you are aware of it, you see it more often and can use this on purpose to start movements. It is not about the first person who starts the action, it is the second one that starts the movement and grants the implicit permission for others to follow.


  4. YvesHanoulle
    September 29, 2011

    the funny thing is that Derek himself does not consider the concept of a firstfollower a big thing.
    I personally think it is. (just as Chris & Olav)
    And that is actually true for a lot of FirstFollowers, we like the idea more then the inventors.

  5. YvesHanoulle
    September 29, 2011

    The jokes one being a lone nut and first follower make me think.
    In a sense you have to be a nut to be a first follower.
    Or at least not feel bad about being looked at as if you are a nut.

    And in that sense it does not really matter who is the lone nut and the first follower, together they are no longer alone, and look less nut.


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