Finding your tribe

if you want to knit or learn Spanish, there’s a local meetup. but if you want to make a difference, well. memberships that can’t be described, can’t have webpages.

through 9 years of shipping i’ve received many emails like the one below. for the cynically curious these are verbatim, composite quotes.

“hi ryan, i’m a big fan of your work and how you don’t give a F***. basically i want to do what you do. so how can i connect with people like you?”

until today, i didn’t know how to respond. there’s no underground club; no secret cabal. the trick is to attract like-minded people to you, not the other way around.

for example.*

sometimes i find an interesting entrepreneur on Twitter. i study them. i want to contribute to their work. maybe invest. i consider ways we could eventually take over the world together. but i don’t send them an email, asking to connect.

i treat the situation like a middle school crush. like passing a note during class, “do you like Jennifer?” sometimes literally.

public outreach makes it clear: i want to be in your orbit.

when the specimen sees my ping, there’s a 50% chance they’ll study me too. having 100s of published pieces (preparation) combined with outreach (opportunity) makes me very lucky.

anyway. i’d say 15% of the time, the person i’m crushing on begins associating with me online. later a cafe or bar. and then we get paid. this strategy got me here, here, and here, to name a few.

rule #1

people will trade resources for a piece of you. money is not the only resource, by the way.

rule #2

before you take, give. perhaps for years.

rule #3

there is no signup page.

rule #4

people who claim all their success is “dumb luck” are liars.

rule #5

say yes to every opportunity until you don’t have time to sleep. then say no until you have an empty calendar. then say yes to yourself.

rule #6

you don’t need people to love you as much as your mom. only enough to invest $10.

rule #7

don’t take advice from people who are less successful than you.

tribes in action

when i lived in Atlanta there was an indie farm that sold non homogenized milk for human consumption. something about it was illegal.

so every week they pulled up to a corner in the East Atlanta Village, anxious customers waiting. the nondescript box truck’s tailgate flung open, milk sold out quickly for 12 bucks a jug, and the truck sped off.

the tribe you lead is your ticket to freedom. to doing what you want, when you want, without regard for a spineless boss’s opinion.

but to lead a tribe, you need members. and you can’t go looking for them. they have to find you.

my new tribe

last week i started a newsletter… no. i kicked off a career in Korean media. i’m sending a newsletter to a) hold myself accountable and b) encourage others to pursue Big Hairy Audacious Goals.

if following a random dude’s Seoul struggles is your thing, join us. if it’s not, that’s OK too. it’s not for you.

* i hesitate to provide an example because it may dilute the message, but i can afford to be wrong.