In any industry, there is a very small number of top tier players, a large number of those who aspire to be like them, and a very large number of those who will live vicariously through the top tier.
A good example of this is NFL. There are less than 200 professional NFL quarterbacks. And yet, there are 1000s of totally irrational dudes working hard as hell to become members of that elite. Many will fail. Many. Will. Fail.
But they aspire nonetheless. And they may be as good as some of the best professional quarterbacks; however, there is only room for so few at the tip of that iceberg.
There are millions of couch-potato quarterbacks living vicariously through the top few. Aspiring but never actually doing anything to get there. We will disregard this lot.
Acting is another great example.
For every Tom Cruz who makes $40 million per picture, there are 1000s of dudes who are better looking, better actors, more hard working, more dedicated, and yet, they re starving. They aspire to be like Tom, irrationally so, and they are trying hard as hell, but there is only so much room at the tip of the acting iceberg.
The much bantered about “influence online” works much the same way.
There are few top tier players who are influential on certain topics. Then there is a ton of wannabe influencers who are probably just as smart and knowledgeable on the same topic but are relegated to the minors for reasons (un)known.
There is only little bit of room at the tip of the iceberg and once it’s filled up, you’re relegated to the pits no matter what. Well, that’s depressing.
And then of course, there are thousands, perhaps millions who aspire to be in the top tier but never actually do anything to get there. We will nevermind these.
(“We will nevermind these?” Where do I come up with that stuff? lol)
Shut Down in Flames
This perspective on influence is not my own. It was explained to me in these terms and I was devastated…for about 8 seconds.
What we’ve been doing with Triberr flies in the face of this logic, sound as it may be. We’ve been creating a weapon for small influencers to climb the influence iceberg. Some have even gotten to top.
Last year, Forbes announced their Top 50 Social Media Influencers, 32 of whom are on Triberr.
While this kind of thing would pass for scientific evidence by the fine folks at Hubspot, it is merely a correlation, not a causation. Noteworthy none the less.
So, I thought about it little bit more, and I came up with an explanation that made sense to me.
What we’re trying to do with Triberr is not unlike what many try to do in real life. Enable greater equality, opportunity, and upward mobility for all.
Maybe this will accomplish 2 things. The top will become less stale, and the middle will expand.
Expansive Middle Class
The reason all politicians and economists always talk about the middle class is because having a large middle class is the best -and perhaps the only- predicable factor in the way societies behave.
Take Saudi Arabia as an example.
There is no middle class. And the net effect of it is very small, royal, privileged, rich class; and very large class of poor.
These types of societies are always either oppressive, or unstable.
Conversely, societies that have a large middle class are educated, tolerant, and enlightened.
Right now, the society we have online is much like Saudi Arabia, with few rich (in influence or otherwise), and many poor.
I gave a presentation on this to Rutgers U. students about a month ago, if you’re not tired of my pontification thus far, you can always watch the video for more.
The choice is to accept the narrow pyramid with a very tiny and stale tip. Or, grab a gun and take what’s yours.