A “TRIBE” has three dimensions.
THE PAST: A shared “ancestry” or origin that is based on parentage (physical or intellectual).
THE PRESENT: A proximate association sustained by interests, passions, and shared visions or purpose.
THE FUTURE: What sets a tribe apart from others is an “agenda,” the progress collectively made toward a shared goal. An agenda that is implicitly, if not explicitly, voiced. One that every tribe member is aware of. One driven by the guiding purpose, or spirit, of the tribe. And one that will guard against sudden (or even gradual) attrition.
In 1997, I communicated by email with a tribe of over 15,000 people interested
in heart health and disease prevention. By 1999, the tribe had dispersed.
What went wrong?
Our tribe grew by accident, with no clear purpose or plan. But as it grew, new demands appeared, which involved time and expense. We found no way to cover those costs. Repeated attempts at requesting small payments or trying product sales that paid a referral commission didn’t work, primarily because it wasn’t part of the tribal culture.
If we had clearly defined the “WHY” for our tribe, we might have easily solved the problem.