Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

Feedback Loops

Let’s say you make something – it could be anything. Music, art, writing, film, software, code, photography, food, a new product or service, or maybe just an idea.

It could even be the act of treating someone with kindness.

If one person becomes aware of this thing and finds it useful (or cool), they in turn will inevitably tell someone else about this great thing they discovered. Or, in the case of our act of kindness, they will mimic it because it made them feel good. This person will in turn tell someone else…

This is how social feedback loops start. Imagine it’s 1963 and you’re a record shop proprietor in London named Brian Epstein and some kid comes into your store and asks for a copy of the latest Beatles record – a group you’ve never heard of.

Or its 2006 and something called Facebook appears – the same year a new way to communicate globally becomes available to everyone on the planet (apparently but not really for free) called Twitter. Or it’s 2007 and a movie appears called Paranormal Activity – one that was made for $15,000 and goes on to gross $193 million. I only use these numbers to illustrate how it’s not expensive to make something useful. The box office success of this film simply illustrates the feedback loop – people saw it and told other people about…

In all of these examples a spontaneous exponential feedback loop appears in the cultural zeitgeist. If one person tells two other people, and these two people each tell two more, now four begets eight begets sixteen – then 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16384… and that’s just fifteen iterations!

Use this idea to make something useful, or at least to make the world better one human interaction at a time.