In the Social Era, the Little Guy has a Powerful Vote

Aaron McHugh

I had a recent interaction with my friend and fellow
Seth Godin Medicine Baller, @Nilofer.

She writes for the Harvard Business Review and recently wrote about
Rules For the Social Era (#SocialEra).

Nilofer Merchant

Big Brands Don’t Always Get It

In this article she talks us through the dichotomy of choices that the big brands of our lives are making.  From Bank of America and ING Direct to Blockbuster and Netflix she helps outline how the rules have changed.

She is kind to say that she has not lost hope in some of these powerhouse labels, I’m not willing to give up on these firms.  Referring to those brands that seem to have fallen asleep at the Social Economy wheel.

There was one key element that stuck out to me as I read about her take on the new Era of the Social Economy.

The Little Guy has a powerful vote.

Remember Netflix and Qwikster?

We are all familiar with the story of from a year ago where Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, raises subscriber fees and their stock price falls 60% in two months.

Even with millions of subscribers they missed the simple fact that their Tribe was the reason for their success.  It was not their number of movie titles or their branding, it was the fact that people became believers in the little guy.

Little People Unite

Often over-throwing a government happens because an army of little people unite with purpose and passion.

After years of being stuck with late fees from Blockbuster, Netflix was able to harness the patriotism of anti-blockbuster sentiments.

They thought that because they had a great product that meant they could go act
like a big company and do anything they wanted.

In the Social Economy, the little guy has a powerful vote.

Insert VETO

The Little Guy, the Tribe, the people who put you on the map.
We vote, NO.  

In the financial markets they say Past performance does not guarantee future results.

But we know that history repeats itself as well.

So who is next?  

Who is the next Netflix?

Who has created a huge and loyal Tribe, but is already forgetting the army of little people that put them on the throne?

What arrogant CEO will be apologizing next?

You can find more information on Nilofer @
Join 18K others and follow her @Nilofer on Twitter.
Connect with her on LinkedIn.

3 thoughts on “In the Social Era, the Little Guy has a Powerful Vote

  1. Great post, Aaron.

    I think of Netflix’s move and I believe they could have made the same pricing decision without alienating their tribe simply by asking for feedback from their customers.

    My bank, USAA, did this. They sent a simple survey out and said something like, “We want to offer you as many checking benefits that we can but we are finding that the financial realities require us to cut out something. We want to keep this thing free and excellent.” Then they asked their customers what they wanted to keep and what they could live without.

    When they had to eliminate the points program we were using on our checking account, I was fine with it because I felt heard; I felt like I had a say. Usually, that’s the main thing our customers (our children, spouses, coworkers, friends, etc.) need; to be invited in to the process of those hard decisions.

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