If you don’t know Zane, he’s a super nice guy. One of his passions is to create a movement to help change the healthcare system. We all know it needs major changes and I admire his passion and work to get the word out.
When it comes to business, Zane is a lot like me, he wants to see businesses understand the power of tribes and better serve us (the customers).
If you would like to learn a little more about tribes, you can listen to Zane and I talk here.
And a special thanks to Zane for taking the time to visit with me.
What’s the difference between a tribe and a community?
The short answer? Passion. Tribe leaders are very passionate about “something.” Their passion is contagious, drawing followers into their tribes.
Tribe members are passionate as well - at least passionate enough to care about something and take action. It’s this passion that draws the members of the tribe together with tribe leaders.
Communities are more of a “gathering place”, they’re sort of stagnant. Communities are formed from common interests of community members. Great tribes are in motion, looking to accomplish or prove something. It’s true that online tribes need a place to gather, but they’re usually on a mission. Often, you’ll find tribes within communities. In fact, it could be argued that most online tribes come from within communities. But, not everyone in the community will be a tribe member.
In Oklahoma, you’ll find two distinct sports tribes - Oklahoma Sooner fans and Oklahoma State Cowboy fans. These two tribes have been at war, both on the sports field and off, for nearly a century. The most passionate fans are out to prove their teams (programs) are best. Many of the tribe members degrade and ridicule one another.
What makes these people tribe members is the passion they share for the success of their sports programs. They wear their schools colors and logos with pride.
Make no mistake, these people are serious. When an O-State fan ventures into the hangout of the Sooner tribe (i.e. OUHoops) - they’re often treated quite poorly. Same goes for Sooner fans venturing into O-State tribal territory (i.e. Orangepower).
What’s the takeaway? Look for tribes within communities, but don't assume that a community is a tribe. Great tribes are formed by people with expertise, desire and passion, but don't place too much emphasis on expertise.
You can’t escape tribal behavior - it’s everywhere. Often, what makes one tribe happy will make another one angry. This happened over the weekend, but on a very large scale. And it’s effect can be seen Nationwide.
Here’s the deal:
The Oklahoma Sooner football team and the Texas Longhorn football team tied for first place in the Big 12 South conference. Each team has a win/loss record of 11-1 and are tied with conference records of 7-1. During the regular season, Texas defeated the Sooners on a neutral field. Let me repeat that, Texas defeated the Sooners on a neutral field. But here’s where it becomes goofy, also tied for first place is Texas Tech. According to Big 12 rules, a 3-way tie like this is broken by the BCS (Bowl Championship Series). The BCS happen to have the Sooners ranked higher than the Longhorns.
The end result is that the Oklahoma Sooners win the Big 12 South and are playing for the Big 12 Title and possibly a National Title. If you’re in the Longhorn Tribe, you’re quite angry today as you watch a team you defeated (and tied for first place in the Big 12 South) placed ahead of you, . Anyone with half a brain can understand why so many Longhorn fans are upset. If you’re in the Sooner Tribe, you’re elated (and lucky) today as your team has magically leaped over a team it couldn’t defeat - to play for the Big 12 Title and a National Title.
Did I mention the sad football fans tribe? Yes, that’s my tribe. Today, most of the people in my tribe are sad to see a big asterisk placed on the National Title (once again).
So, what’s the “tribal point”? Fairness is a big deal in our culture - particularly in sports. If you’re making policies that could have a major tribal impact in the future - you would be wise to work out a solution that will be perceived as “fair” for the majority of the tribe - otherwise, your “solution” might create a bigger problem - a tribal problem.
PS The best solution to this problem would have been to take the two highest BCS teams and pick the team that won head-to-head - the Texas Longhorns. Anyone with half a brain understands that head-to-head competition is always a better way to resolve these disputes than a goofy rule. Let’s hope the angry tribe and sad tribe can unite and fix this.