Books and Me: Tribes

Book Title: Tribes – We Need You To Lead Us

Author: Seth GodinTribes Book Cover

This is a book whose subject is so common that it is so easily missed. Ironical as it may seem, every human being inherently seeks connection. It is very difficult for a normal human to stay alone and avoid human interaction. The difference lies only in the quantity and quality of connections. So what gets people connected?

From time immemorial till recently people have always attempted to group, be it for hunting or for launching a rocket to the Mars. In each of these cases we can notice that the word “crowd” is conspicuously missing. Seth Godin in this little book attempts to codify this inherent need amongst people.

Every tribe seems to be a group of people with a shared interest and a way to communicate. Every tribe has a leader whose only job is to enable people who share similar interests to join, connect and communicate. With huge reductions in communication costs and the internet destroying geographical boundaries, we are now seeing the possibility of forming tribes who have no limits. Today we have tribes around people, around causes, around common interests, around products, around companies, around artists, around brands, and every possible way in which we can belong. Belonging is such a longing for every human being (social animal). The book also shares characteristics of a good tribe, what makes a good tribal leader, and how to make tribes thrive. It is very clear the tribes do not form around commercialization or personal benefits of the leaders or sponsors.  Real tribes have a far greater shared interest, want to share their uniqueness, and are willing to let go of those who don’t belong. Tribes are becoming voluntary and they are getting easier to start, sustain and scale. Trust, honesty, transparency enable the creation of tribes and evangelists within them. Tribes grow by members bringing more members. The leader just strengthens the platform and amplifies the voices of the members.

Creation of tribes is an interesting activity especially for entrepreneurs.  Every start-up essentially should be a tribe. It must be in Seth Godin’s terms a purple cow (remarkable) which intends to make change happen and hence difficult to ignore. Tribes are also a great way for start-ups to find fans and evangelists for their radical ideas. The book contains the usual dose of challenging questions, interesting quotations, numerous cases and examples and a bunch of further readings. Thanks Seth Godin for triggering in me to think deeper around tribes in my domain of work (Entrepreneurship and Small Business).


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