Influence And The Internet

Elon Musk walks into the room.

You’re going to be aware of it immediately.

Why is that?

“Well, Danny, he’s a famous entrepreneur. People are going to run over and start taking pictures of him. He’s going to be joined by a giant security guard who could double as a WWE wrestler. Obviously, we’re going to notice.”

Yes, yes, that’s all true.

But let’s take it deeper than that.

You’re going to know he walked into the room because of his influence.

Influence is the ability to alter someone’s behavior.

We respect it.

We either admire it (when the influence is used to do something we agree with) or despise it (when the influence is used to do something we disagree with). But either way, we respect it.

The question becomes… why do we respect influence?

Because influence is, in essence, cloning yourself. Cloning yourself means you can affect multiple lives simultaneously.

At the most basic level, influence defies what is possible evolutionarily.

Whenever you speak to someone, you are influencing them. For the far, far, far majority of human history if you were speaking to someone, you could only influence that one person (or group).

Think of kings and queens of generations past.

They could decide, “You know what… I’m going to decide everyone has to pay this tax” …and everyone would listen (or revolt). But when they were making that decision, they were cloning themselves.

That kind of power is rare.

Or at least, it was.

Today, the Internet lets anyone have influence.

You can post a tweet that can be viewed simultaneously in Rome and Sydney. You can record a song that can be played simultaneously in Berlin and London. You can create a product that can be used simultaneously in New York and Budapest.

This doesn’t mean you have to take advantage of the Internet.

It just means that if you intend to influence anybody, it might help to use it.


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