Risk Being Wrong

Next to the fear of failure, equally crippling, is the fear of being wrong. Most people, I believe, want to do good with their initiatives. They want to make the world a better place, in one way or another.


Superhero wall

Superhero wall


On Friday I read this blog post about Chris Anderson’s book, The Long Tail, which I enjoyed. It was one of the books that opened my eyes to the evolution of the web, especially the social web, as we know it. The post is about a report that says Chris Anderson was wrong – a whole report to disprove a theory that marked a change of perspective in how we view the way people interact with products on the web.


Admittedly, my perspective is slightly skewed because I’ve read Chris Anderson and did not go into the report in detail. Whether the report is right or wrong, someone else will debate that, it just got me thinking that the risk of being wrong cripples people to inaction.


When someone is wrong, or has failed, society vilifies them and discourages others who have that sparkle in their eye. We point fingers and shoot at the stake, those individuals who worked towards slightly tilting our perceptions about the world. The young man or woman who dared to go out on their own to build an organisation that didn’t work is butt of all jokes. She hides away because we snigger about the fact that she tried and didn’t make it. We defend the status quo and break her – and others like her – down.


Society needs more people with near daunting dreams, with a different perspective of the world, the ones who will change society. The next time you meet someone who dares to dream up a new world, support their cause if you can. Lend a hand and help them along.


It’s the ones who dare to be wrong that change world. The ones who are always right almost rarely ever change the world. They remain comfortable critics in their high places. The ones who DO make the world a better place and face the most resistance.


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Wrong turn picture by sonson on Flickr

Superhero wall picture by marymactavish on Flickr

Discovery Invest Leadership Summit: Raising the bar



Since its inception in 2009, the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit  has consistently challenged leadership issues of the day. This summit was the first to bring Malcolm Gladwell to our shores, and continues to engage and inspire audiences with the help of high-calibre international thought leaders as speakers. It is definitely a conference worth marking on your calendar. This year it happens on the 21st of September.

Raising the bar

The inaugural 2009 summit featured Sir Richard Branson, Malcolm Gladwell and Wendy Luhabe amongst others. In 2010, they outdid themselves again with insights from Adrian Gore, Nassim Taleb and Tokyo Sexwale. This summit transforms our ideas of what a “headline speaker” is and who to look out for.

This year, they’ll have me – in the audience – not as a speaker. (Well, for this year at least.)

This year’s draw-card speakers include Al Gore, Graça Marcel and Chris Anderson (Editor-In-Chief at Wired – not to be confused with curator of TED). It is expected to shift paradigms. And I have high expectations that it will. The idea that Chris Anderson will be there, is enough for me to go.

In addition to his role at Wired, Chris Anderson is also the author of “The Long Tail” and “Free”, both of which change your perspective after reading them. His thinking is current. He writes the kind of material that is for this time – for the ever-transforming digital age. In both books, he creates a vivid image of how any thriving business model became profitable online.

In “The Long Tail”, Chris Anderson delves into what creates a niche and how the blockbuster culture was eradicated. It demonstrates, through research analysis, why the future of business is selling less of more. He goes into how the lowest selling songs on iTunes create niche categories in themselves. How having 1000 True Fans (as first written by Kevin Kelly at Technium) is the way to go and why niche has eliminated traditional business theories of creating and developing for the masses.

That leads me to how the rules of leadership have transformed over the ages. These interesting times we live in demand that leaders focus on building communities (“tribes”) and on creating a compelling story that connects people. I look forward to hearing what he proposes the new way of leadership for niche audiences, is.

This conference comes at a time when my search for leadership ability has reached levels of obsessions. It became evident to me, that leadership is a significant way to coordinate change and create a community of people for a cause. So, they have a lot of high expectations to measure up to.

If you would like to get an idea of how Chris Anderson thinks – have a look here.

If you would like to follow the conference, search for #DILS11 on Twitter.

To become involved in the search for leadership, take a quick look at their blog or book your tickets here. The conference is on the 21st of September at the Sandton Convention Centre.


Photo of The Long Tail by: topgold on Flickr