From Weirdo to Visionary: The Power of Social Validation

Unlocking leadership potential through social influence and community engagement

From Weirdo to Visionary: The Power of Social Validation
Photo by Rachel Coyne / Unsplash

How does one go from a lonely weirdo crank to a visionary leader? It’s not as hard as you think; all it takes is about 5 people to latch onto your idea and join you. I came to this conclusion after watching the video I shared below.

A few years ago, I discovered this video via some meme post. It’s hilarious because one guy, probably drunk and/or stoned, is dancing by himself to Santigold’s "Unstoppable" song. He’s shirtless and looking sunburned. Funnily, this guy reminds me of myself, but like 40 years ago. I’ve been known to dance at music festivals too.

After about a minute or two of dancing by himself, a second guy joins him in his crazy dancing antics. A few short seconds later, a third guy joins, and the core group has been established. The addition of the two guys gives the first guy something he was lacking by himself: social validation.

One person dancing is a weirdo crank lunatic; three dancing is a party and something other people could be interested in. The dam breaks when two more shirtless guys - and arguably handsome - join the three. Once five guys are dancing, the women come pouring in.

The cry of the women “whooping” it up broadcasts that the group has been socially validated and it’s OK to join them. More men and women pour in to join them and by the end, there are like 50 or more people dancing.

Mission accomplished. One lonely weirdo crank has turned into a visionary leader with as many as three to five followers.

So what can we learn here? How does this apply to the markets and life in general?

One: If you’re one guy screaming in the void, no one gives a flying shit about you; you need social validation to be accepted. Social validation can happen in many different ways; just look at Roaring Kitty.

Two: People have strong FOMO but don’t want to be the first. It took guts for the two guys to join the first dancing guys. I liken them to a founding group in a startup. The dancing guy is the CEO, and the other two are CTO and Head of Engineering. Once they joined, the FOMO started to build for all the people watching.

Three: After the core group of three has formed, you just need a few more to amp up the FOMO. That’s where the two handsome guys joined; they became the marketing and the “face” of the movement. That made the crazy dancing seem fun instead of something a lone weirdo would do. Instead of one guy, you have 5 more doing it.

Four: The women are key in this encounter. Who doesn’t like to hear women whooping it up? Their laughter and sounds are a sales and marketing go-to-market plan that broadcasts something fun is happening, so join them! We all know that "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"!

That's about it. Get a few followers, build a credible face, create FOMO, use a good sales/marketing machine and then go build your startup or dance party.