People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. If you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe.
But why is it important to attract those who believe what you believe? Something called the law of diffusion of innovation, if you don't know the law, you know the terminology. The first 2.5% of our population are our innovators. The next 13.5% of our population are our early adopters. The next 34% are your early majority, your late majority and your laggards. The only reason these people buy touch-tone phones is because you can't buy rotary phones anymore.
We all sit at various places at various times on this scale, but what the law of diffusion of innovation tells us is that if you want mass-market success or mass-market acceptance of an idea, you cannot have it until you achieve this tipping point between 15 and 18 percent market penetration, and then the system tips.
I love asking businesses, "What's your conversion on new business?" They love to tell you, "It's about 10 percent," proudly. Well, you can trip over 10% of the customers. We all have about 10% who just "get it." That's how we describe them, right? That's like that gut feeling, "Oh, they just get it."
The problem is: How do you find the ones that get it before doing business versus the ones who don't get it? So it's this here, this little gap that you have to close, as Jeffrey Moore calls it, "Crossing the Chasm" - because, you see, the early majority will not try something until someone else has tried it first.
And these guys, the innovators and the early adopters, they're comfortable making those gut decisions. They're more comfortable making those intuitive decisions that are driven by what they believe about the world and not just what product is available.
These are the people who stood in line for six hours to buy an iPhone when they first came out, when you could have bought one off the shelf the next week. These are the people who spent 40,000 dollars on flat-screen TVs when they first came out, even though the technology was substandard.
And, by the way, they didn't do it because the technology was so great; they did it for themselves. It's because they wanted to be first. People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it and what you do simply proves what you believe. In fact, people will do the things that prove what they believe.
The reason that person bought the iPhone in the first six hours, stood in line for six hours, was because of what they believed about the world, and how they wanted everybody to see them: they were first. People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it.
So let me give you a famous example, a famous failure and a famous success of the law of diffusion of innovation. First, the famous failure. It's a commercial example. As we said before, the recipe for success is money and the right people and the right market conditions.
You should have success then. Look at TiVo. From the time TiVo came out about eight or nine years ago to this current day, they are the single highest-quality product on the market, hands down, there is no dispute. They were extremely well-funded. Market conditions were fantastic. I mean, we use TiVo as verb. I TiVo stuff on my piece-of-junk Time Warner DVR all the time.
But TiVo's a commercial failure. They've never made money. And when they went IPO, their stock was at about 30 or 40 dollars and then plummeted, and it's never traded above 10. In fact, I don't think it's even traded above six, except for a couple of little spikes.
Because you see, when TiVo launched their product, they told us all what they had. They said, "We have a product that pauses live TV, skips commercials, rewinds live TV and memorizes your viewing habits without you even asking." And the cynical majority said, "We don't believe you. We don't need it. We don't like it. You're scaring us."
What if they had said, "If you're the kind of person who likes to have total control over every aspect of your life, boy, do we have a product for you. It pauses live TV, skips commercials, memorizes your viewing habits, etc., etc." People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it, and what you do simply serves as the proof of what you believe.
Now let me give you a successful example of the law of diffusion of innovation. In the summer of 1963, 250,000 people showed up on the mall in Washington to hear Dr. King speak. They sent out no invitations, and there was no website to check the date. How do you do that?
Well, Dr. King wasn't the only man in America who was a great orator. He wasn't the only man in America who suffered in a pre-civil rights America. In fact, some of his ideas were bad. But he had a gift.
He didn't go around telling people what needed to change in America. He went around and told people what he believed. "I believe, I believe, I believe," he told people. And people who believed what he believed took his cause, and they made it their own, and they told people. And some of those people created structures to get the word out to even more people. And lo and behold, 250,000 people showed up on the right day at the right time to hear him speak.
How many of them showed up for him? Zero. They showed up for themselves. It's what they believed about America that got them to travel in a bus for eight hours to stand in the sun in Washington in the middle of August. It's what they believed, and it wasn't about black versus white: 25% of the audience was white.
Dr. King believed that there are two types of laws in this world: those that are made by a higher authority and those that are made by men. And not until all the laws that are made by men are consistent with the laws made by the higher authority will we live in a just world.
It just so happened that the Civil Rights Movement was the perfect thing to help him bring his cause to life. We followed, not for him, but for ourselves. By the way, he gave the "I have a dream" speech, not the "I have a plan" speech.
Listen to politicians now, with their comprehensive 12-point plans. They're not inspiring anybody. Because there are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority, but those who lead inspire us.
Whether they're individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead, not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves. And it's those who start with "why" that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.