Ideas that spread win: the Ice Bucket recipe for changing the world

that's me. ibc.

2,330,000 videos.

That’s how many videos are on YouTube related to the Ice Bucket challenge as of August 26th. And it’s probably still growing at a massive rate.

Seriously, I thought it was going to be a passing fad – something cute that some of my friends would do on Facebook (they did) and that would maybe sweep through the States (it did).

The one thing I didn’t expect is that an ocean and half a continent away, someone would pick me. (They did.)

And I’m in Kyrgyzstan! Wow.

What’s most surprising my friends in the States DIDN’T nominate me – it was actually one of my English students here in Bishkek. And she was nominated by others here in Kyrgyzstan! Seriously – how many students in Kyrgyzstan are dunking themselves in ice water right now?

It’s probably safe to say that bucket of ice water, a video camera, and a social media account have never done more to push action and awareness for any cause. But what’s the secret? I’ll break down three parts that I understand.

Here’s the Ice Bucket recipe for world change: 3 ways to win!

1. “Ideas that spread win.”
These are the words of Seth Godin from his massively watched 2003 TED talk, “How to Get Your Ideas to Spread.” The Ice Bucket Challenge is utterly genius in how spreadable it is. Do you have a smartphone? Do you Facebook or Twitter? You’re in. You have everything you need to get attacked, er, nominated, and to participate, in your pocket.

And as my friend from Tajikistan told me last week, any place in the world that has access to Facebook or Youtube is a place that the Ice Bucket Challenge can AND will go.

By the way, she did the challenge too. In Tajikistan.

2. Creativity wins.
Stop. Don’t read ahead. Guess how much money was raised for ALS last year? And now guess how much was raised this year?

The answers? Last year, $2.5 million was raised for ALS – which doesn’t even begin to compare with the $100 million raised this year. That’s over TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS a minute this summer!

“Normal” advertising is on its way out. Long live the crowd. What does the crowd love?
Hint: it’s not normal advertising.

The crowd wants to have fun. The crowd wants to get involved. The crowd wants to play a worldwide game of tag – and the crowd can.

3. Purpose wins.
So “Double Rainbow” went viral. How about Rebecca Black’s “Friday?” Or the Harlem Shake?

Did these make any money?

Well, Miss Black does have a net worth of $1.5 million since Friday according to Celebrity Net Worth’s site.

But how do you account for the almost hundredfold difference between Friday and the Ice Bucket?

Purpose. People will give some to those who amuse them. But people will give much to those who move them. Our era is about purpose – and doing work that matters, interestingly, quite possibly could be the work that pays.

It’s a crazy fascinating world we’re living in
The world is not just smaller than it used to be – it’s flatter. Ideas can spread ridiculously fast. And so ideas can now win ridiculously fast. And that’s something to chew on for those of us who make ideas for a living.

Your turn: What lessons can you pick out from the Ice Bucket madness? Leave a comment below and let’s dig in to this!

Footnotes:
All statistics on the Ice Bucket Challenge were gleaned from Jerry Ouyang’s excellent SlideShare, The Cold Hard Facts About The Ice Bucket Challenge.

If you liked this, be sure to join my mailing list and pick up my free e-book, The Pursuit of Awesome: The One-Season Guide to Awesome Life Change! Click here to get it from NoiseTrade!

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2 thoughts on “Ideas that spread win: the Ice Bucket recipe for changing the world

    • Hey Chris! Thanks. I was definitely surprised to be nominated – and that spurred me on to take a deeper look. Did the ice bucket challenge reach you all out in Malawi? 🙂

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