Were the guys who did that. Over the course of three years, we restored 156 Victorians. Soon after that, I happened to read Buckys first book, Nine Chains to the Moon, and it completely captivated me. I had to find out where he was. With all that real estate behind me, I had no money worries, so I got hold of his calendar and followed him around the country. Every week, wherever he was, I would fly there and sit in the front row.
I eventually started a business school called Burklyn Business School, which I located in a 40,000-square-foot Victorian in Vermont. Bucky had a place up in Bear Island, Maine, and every summer he would come up with his wife Anne and they would spend weeks at a time at my property. They did this every year for ten years, so I got to know him really well.
People tend to think of him as a piece of historybut the truth is,
I dont think anyones actually caught up to him yet.
No, they havent. In fact, the very latest idea in quantum physicssomething called causal dynamic triangulation, or CDT, which theyre saying replaces string theory and shows promise of unifying the laws of gravity and those of quantum mechanicsthis traces right back to Buckys work. This is the generalized theory everyones been trying to work out ever since Einstein. And Bucky had the answer all along.
The man with the tetrahedrons.
Exactly! When you read this thing, its all Bucky.
Theres a great story about what happened when Bucky first sent his Nine Chains to the Moon to the publisher, back in the thirties. He had three chapters that talked about Einstein and how what he was doing was going to change everything. This was in 1934.
The publisher wrote to Bucky and said, We cant publish this book! Einstein says there are only ten people in the world who understand him, and your names not on that list.
Bucky said, Well, why dont you send it to Einstein and let him evaluate it? Three or four weeks later, Buckys phone rang; he picked it up and said, Hello? and the voice on the other end said, Hello, this is Albert. I wonder, could you come over for dinner Saturday?
When Bucky arrived at the dinner, Einstein stood up and said to the group, I would like to be excusedand I was wondering, Mr. Fuller, if perhaps youd come into my study? He took Bucky into his study and said, Ive read what youve written with great interest, and youve given me the first feeling of the positive good that this theory can bring.
He then took Buckys manuscript, which the publisher had sent him, and wrote on it, I have read and fully agree and concur with Mr. Fullers thinking here.
And were still barely starting to grasp what he gave us.
Oh, Buckys going to be right up there with Einstein and Copernicus.
And now were naming new discoveries things like fullerenes and buckyballs.
Thats right, and the next thing is the unified theory. Then theyll have to give him a posthumous Nobel prize. They say the rules dont allow that, but theyll have to give it to him anyway!
Our theme for this issue is true wealth. In your mind, what
is true wealth?
The first key piece is health. Take away health and you have no wealth. Youve got to start with a sound body. We work pretty hard here in my officebut at night, we work even harder at our gym downstairs.
The next thing is, if you want to understand real wealth, you have to know the difference between structural change and cyclical change. Structural change means theres no going back. How many people came to work today on a horse? Where are the 78s, the vinyl records? Gone.
When the automobile first came out, there was huge resistance to it. They called it the devil wagonafter all, it was black, and just think of the immoral things you could do in the back seat. People would literally put barbed wire around automobiles, trying to stop people from using them.
But you cant stop structural change. If theres a structural change, you have no vote, you have to embrace it. I dont care how much you love your typewriter or your old horse, youve going to have to learn how to use a computer and drive a car.
Stem cell science is a structural change. It doesnt matter what your views are or how many people are against it, any more than it did with automobiles or computers. If its a structural change, youve got to embrace it and take a leadership position.
One of the biggest structural changes in our time is the Internet. This is not cyclic; were never going to go back to a time of no Internet. This is why network science is so important.
Im not talking about the science involved in how to network computers. The actual study of network science is a brand new science, no more than six years old now. And unless you learn this science, you are going to be at a tremendous disadvantage. If you want to acquire wealth, youve got to understand the basic theory of network science, which starts with the idea of dynamic value.
What exactly is dynamic value?
Dynamic value means your value is constantly evolving; if its not evolving, its going to dissipate and disappear. If you want to create wealth today, dynamic value is essential, because with everything networked together, the speed of change is so fast that there is no longer any such thing as constant value.
Is this reflected, for example, in the whole open source revolution?
Open source is all about sharing. Traditional economic theory is based on scarcity, but wealth in the new, intangible economy is based on sharing. Today, sharing means having moreand the faster the better, because speed is the new currency of business.
This means theres a whole new approach for looking at your offer. Think about your phone: is that a product or is that a service?
Its a service. And a product.
Its both. Every technology is going to asymptote towards being free, like phone calls. Did you see what just happened with Apples iPhone?
Steve Jobs just cut the price by $200.
Now, how quickly did that happen?
Thats right. Thats outrageous. But thats where things are going. Youve got to count on cost asymptoting to zero, even as you raise value.
There are two things that create a commodity: a fully informed buyer, and alternative sources of supply. When I was growing up in Vermont, if we wanted to buy a new Ford, there was one Ford dealer in our city, period. If I want to buy a new Ford today, I can go online, put in what Im looking for, and get bids from every dealer within whatever radius I want. The color and features are all the same, and the only issue is price.
So two forces are dropping price toward zero: a fully-informed buyer and alternative sources. Now, are people getting more or less informed?
Because of the Internet, that part of the equation is gone. Were totally informed. Today, you have to assume that if youre going to keep your value high, youve got to stay unique. And the only way to stay unique is to constantly increase your dynamic value.
How do you do this? You can brand yourself as unique, but theres not a lot of leverage in that, because its just you. And how much of you is there to go around?
Tony Robbins is great, but theres no leverage. He leverages his value to some extent through his books and programs, but basically, if you dont get Tony Robbins, youre always getting a second. So youve got to be careful how you brand things. Instead of branding yourself, you want to brand your offer.
You no longer sell a product or service; what you sell are offers. And youre constantly making your offer a better offer, realizing that as soon as its copied, its going to asymptote towards zero. When Im down at my place on the edge of the Caribbean, Im on Skype constantly, for .008¢ a minute anywhere in the worldand Im in the middle of the Caribbean!
Wealth is changing very fast. This is why the record companies are losing their ability to control. Because of the Internet, distribution is no longer controllable. Do you know what musical group made the most money last year?
Pearl Jam. And they dont even belong to a label! Pearl Jam has people sign a subscription. Whenever they perform, they record it, then download it and send it to all their subscribers. They have no label, and they make more money than any other recording artist.
Direct to consumeragain, thats the network.
Thats right. And that brings us to the next aspect of network science, which is the strength of the weak tie. The way you move your dynamic value is through weak ties, not through people close to you. People close to you are in the same basic network you are. You want to take your dynamic value to the people on the very edge of your relationship.
Right now, you and I are weak ties. Weve talked, but we barely know each other, and you are exposed to a completely different network than I am. We are two nodes, connected by a weak link. Add a few more links and nodes, and youve got a cluster. If you have a huge number of nodes in your cluster, you become a hub.
There are 14,372 airports in the United States. If I offered you $1 per passenger going through 20 percent of all of these airports picked at random, or $1 per passenger for the top ten airports in the United States, which would you take, the ten, or the 2,800-plus?
Give me the hub. Ill take the ten.
Exactly. You take New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and by the time you have the top ten, youll have almost 400 percent more passengers than the other way. Why? Because theyre hubs.
Most people find weak ties that are not hubs. A weak tie thats not a hub is simply a weak tie. But if you find weak ties that are their own hubs, then you can move with great velocityand again, speed is the new currency.
So if youre a network marketer, the key is not to focus on individual peopleyou want to focus on individuals who are within a hub. The further you are from the hub, the harder youre going to work and the less money youre going to make. If youre in the network marketing business and you dont understand network science, youre working too hard!
The way you describe weak ties and nodes, it strikes me as almost antithetical
to the classic idea of the good ol boys network.
They used to do that because they didnt have any Internet. Good ol boys hung around with each other and knew each other. This is the exact opposite; this bypasses all of that.
By the way, randomness is part of it too. About 28 to 32 percent of the time, randomness comes into play. That means you might just trip over success. If you have randomness plus dynamic value and you understand network science, youre well on your way to success in terms of financial wealth.
The next piece is integrity. In network science, youre so close to everyone that the golden rule is no longer simply the golden rule, its an absolute requirement. You have to do unto others as you would have them do undo you, or youll quickly go out of business. If you break your integrity, you lose part of your network, and you want to keep your network as large as possible. In fact, in many cases your network and net worth are closely correlated.
Is that because you cant hide anymore?
Thats right. Once you have fully informed buyers, you cant screw people.
When I was young, I snuck into a fair in Vermont with fifty cents in my pocket. One booth had a sign that said, Come see a horse with his tail where his head should be and its head where its tail should be! It was twenty-five cents, half my entire stash, but I had to see this. So I paid my money and walked inand there was a horse backed into a stall. His head was where his tail should be
Yes, theres one born every minutebut not anymore. You cant do that today, because now, the first kid who got suckered like that would go on the Internet and tell everyone, Hey, this booth is a rip-off, avoid it, and that story would go out, and it would be game over.
And hed snap a picture of the horse with his cell phone.
Thats right. Today, keeping your word is absolutely required.
Marshall, what are positive deviants?
Positive deviants are people who think and act differently. The way to find these people is to spend time on the fringe, because thats where the action is.
If you look at a bell curve, youll find 99.97 percent of people underneath the curve, with a very tiny percentage out on either edge. Of the miniscule percentage over on the left side, the negative deviants, most are probably in jail. The ones over on the right side, the positive deviants, are the ones who are really making the changes.
Most people think, Ill go where everyone else isbut youre never going to find change at the center. If you want to find change, you have to look at the fringe. It goes from the fringe to the edge, then to the realm of cool, then to being the next big thing, and ultimately becomes social convention at the center. But if you hang out in social convention, youll never become wealthy. You have to be willing to go to the edge.
Where did this idea of positive deviance come from?
Right after the Vietnam War, the World Health Organization wanted to find a way to help the people of Vietnam, especially the kids, most of whom were starving. The standard approach to a problem like this was to put in clean water and all sorts of infrastructurebut they knew this would take too long, and thousands of kids would die.
A guy named Jerry Sternum thought, What if we look for families there who are surviving and see what theyre doing? He and his wife went over there and found two or three families in each of the four communities they worked with who had healthy kids. They figured out what each family was doing differently. In one case, they were cooking seaweed; in another, they were using shrimp. Whatever that family was doing, they replicated that, and within six months they ended up with over 87 percent of the kids in these four communities meeting the WHO standard of health. Today there are twenty-two countries practicing positive deviance in the World Health Organization.
You can do the same thing in an organization: look for the positive deviant. I have a company called Empowergy that does exactly that.
You go into a company and find the healthy kids, so to speak?
Exactly. We look for the positive deviants and find out what theyre doing differently. Usually they are unconsciously competent: they dont know what theyre doing right, but theyre doing it. We harvest their knowledge and then give it to the rest of the organizationand we see dramatic positive change happen very, very fast.
Why is the power of the weak tie the cornerstone of a networks
Because theyre out on the fringe of the edge of your network. A famous 1974 study looked at how people find jobs. Mark Granovetter, the researcher, found that most people find jobs from people they know only vaguely, what he called the weak ties in their network, not from their close friends.
The people you hang out with are too close to you; their network is going to be very similar to yours. The opportunity for a new job is typically going to be at the very edge of your network, through people you barely know.
The same thing applies to expanding your network. As a leader, your job is to find the weak ties of the people in your downline. Every time you add someone, help them develop their weak ties. Some of those weak ties are going to be hubs.
Network science is all about relationships. Those people who are successful are going to be those who can leverage their relationshipsand you cant do that if you dont have integrity.
It sounds like were living in an environment where the ordinary person
can become tremendously empowered.
I think thats exactly what is happening. Its much easier to become wealthy now than it ever was. Its all changing. And it really gets down to your dynamic value as an individual.