Influence = Vision + Passion

I recently did a pretty severe pruning of my feeds in Google Reader. I was so far behind that I just could not keep up and, like many others, feel that if something is important, somehow it will find me. I did keep a few dozen feeds though and was tempted to write a post on what I did keep. However while looking through the list, I found (and watched) a video posted by Dave McClure on Influencers and I started thinking through the connection between the feeds I kept and the concepts in the video.

The video is very solid (and worth the 13 min to watch it) and I actually started taking notes as I watched. Below is a list of some of the characteristics highlighted plus a few more that I added myself.


  • Have a different way of thinking
  • Have a different perspective
  • Are someone everyone pays attention to
  • Are able to see what next thing is
  • Are well respected
  • Know they are doing the right thing b/c they are comfortable in it
  • Have their option valued
  • Can take an idea and bring something into mainstream consciousness
  • Are someone that other people listen to and react to
  • Have other people’s trust
  • Influence culture, community, the next generation and peers
  • Provide inspiration

All of these are probably true to one extent or another yet I think that I would personally define an influnecer as someone who has a clear vision of what they are trying to achieve and sufficient passion to persuade others to make that their vision too.

Three people, more than anyone else that I have met or interacted with over the past year, best manifest this concept of influence for me – Todd Park, Peter Shankman and Tony Hsieh. If you know them, you probably already know why. If you don’t, it is worth your time to check them out and pay attention.

I would love to hear what your definition of influencer looks like and who influences you. In particular, I would really like to be able to add some more diversity to my tribe and my mentors. Please help.

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Sandra Fernandez

I absolutely have to start weeding my Google Reader lists. I almost always have to just go through and mark them all as read.

Sam Allgood

While I think you have defined what a good influencer should strive to be, I believe that we are all influencers to some degree … positive or negative, especially when we are part of a larger group of similar influencers.

For instance, if I work with a company where a significant number of employees are lazy and minimally productive, then new employees, unless real go-getters and able to ignore the resistance by others to their superior efforts, will tend to exhibit a similar level of ineffectiveness.

I believe your definition better describes an effective leader.