Be A Badass Through Influence, Not Authority

I just finished reading Donald Desantis’ article, “Everything I Need to Know About Startups, I Learned from a Crime Boss.” If you haven’t read it, you need to read it.  It’s flat out awesome.  Of all the great advice that Don passes on though, there is one thing that really resonated with me the most and that is being a badass by influencing others.

Let’s face it, the tech startup world is noisy.  There’s lots and lots of noise in all types of spaces — from social apps to cloud analytics, games to dating sites.  So, how can you be a badass startup?  Well, as Don points out, you want to influence; you want others to reorganize their lives and how they do things to be more like you or to do what you do, use what you use, or buy what you’re selling.  So, how do you do that?

Get out there. Let the world know that they need to pay attention to what you’re doing.  This could mean press releases, blog articles, tweets, Facebook posts, press coverage, pitches, or events.  Whatever is the most relevant mode of communication for your industry and your startup, is what you have to do. Perhaps it will be something new, something no one else is doing.  No matter what your strategy, however, you have to get out there and meet people, as well as engage them through existing media channels.  There is no substitute for networking and it’s not something that ends.  Being a badass and influencing others isn’t a destination, it’s a constant re-examination of how you do things to continue being a bad ass.  How?

Build something great. It should go without saying that what you put out there better be solid and not like everything else out there.  You had better have a unique and rock solid product offering, service offering, or value proposition.  If not, all you’ll do is make more noise, not influence.  To influence you need to not only gain attention but capitalize on it with something that isn’t just another “me too.”

Think outside the box.  Take a risk.  Be bold.  As Don states in his article, you can only lead with the influence you earn.