The Butterfly Effect of Technology Community
The Butterfly Effect is everywhere, truly. The best part is, due to confirmation bias, once you start looking for it you'll see it everywhere. ;)
The Butterfly Effect: This effect grants the power to cause a hurricane in China to a butterfly flapping its wings in New Mexico. It may take a very long time, but the connection is real. If the butterfly had not flapped its wings at just the right point in space/time, the hurricane would not have happened. - Chaos Theory
If you see something cool, share it. If you learn something interesting, share it, and share it in multiple ways. Even a small thing can add up to a big payoff.
I got a great email from a reader this week from Neil of TheSmartFinish. Neil has a small business doing woodworking for connected homes and creates decorative mounts for Nest Thermostats. I have a Nest so Neil reached out to share what he's created.
I tweeted about it. A tiny thing, to be clear. I don't tweet about everything, and I DO get a lot of requests for tweets. My tweets are at my discretion, and I read about it, and shared it.
Got a @Nest Thermostat? Check out these GORGEOUS handmade wooden mounts! http://thesmartfinish.com/— Scott Hanselman (@shanselman) August 4, 2015
After a while I thought that Nest should be featuring his stuff themselves. A random tweet from me only goes so far, so I publically told @nest they should feature/RT Neil's stuff. At this point, my butterfly has flapped its wings and I've moved on.
@shanselman Ha! Agreed, we're big fans of what he's made. Something's in the works ;) @Automated_Home— Nest (@nest) August 5, 2015
Fast forward and I get the email from Neil. These tweets got some attention and @nest DID actually tweet about him!
We're big fans of this custom wood mount for the Nest Learning Thermostat crafted by @Automated_Home. #nestinthewild pic.twitter.com/Yp5nuTR5wk— Nest (@nest) August 13, 2015
This gave him valuable legitimacy and ultimately there was a great article on his project at VentureBeat. Other than the poor title as there are no "ex-marines" - Meet the ex-marine who builds artisanal mounts for connected homes - it's a cool write-up. Now his business is starting to get some new visibility, which is great!
Why am I sharing this story? Absolutely not to toot any horns - certainly not mine - but rather to remind us all about the power of the little things.
I've received hundreds of emails over the last few years with folks sharing stories about "I read this and it got me thinking about" or "listening to this podcast made me quit my job and move overseas" or "my spouse and I were inspired by this post and I switched jobs" and on and on. One reader started a Diabetes non-profit after reading a blog post. Another changed her job and has moved into an industry she really believes in. You might tweet a job opening but never realize that it was the beginning of a move across the country for someone you'll never meet!
I'm a firm believer of the idea that if you put good out there, good stuff will happen. What we do with our tweets, blogs, presentations, podcasts, and books is tiny. We fly our little butterfly wings and try to influence and motivate. What's really amazing are the powerful hurricanes that YOU, Dear Reader, harness for positive change in your life and in the lives of others.
Please, share your Butterfly Effect Stories in the comments! What small things have propelled a huge change in your life?
* Butterfly Effect Photo by Rhett Maxwell used under CC
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