Leadership, Pastors, Sermon Illustrations

The Social Network (Part 2)

(continued from “The Social Network (Part 1)“)

According to the movie, Mark Zuckerberg didn’t want facebook to sell advertising space because if it did, it would lose the cool factor. He wanted facebook to stay cool so it would grow. He was willing to delay financial gratification, wait to make money, and let facebook take off before trying to cash in on it.

1. At Leadership Institute, Bob Johanson spoke about reciprocity becoming even more important in the next ten years.

He stated that “makers”, people who create things, should give their ideas away and allow others to make them better. Instead of trying to package every idea to make money, reciprocity means that I give, others will give too, and everyone benefits.

For example, a blogger might post ideas and sermons for free and let others use them, modify them, and make them better. We will all benefit more by giving our ideas away.

Yesterday, the youth pastor at Stonybrook gave me a Seth Godin booklet that Seth gave (gave = free) to everyone at the Catalyst conference this year. It’s called Graceful.

In Graceful, Seth wrote an entry entitled, “Giving, receiving, giving” (p. 17), in which he states pretty much the same idea as Bob Johanson. Give your ideas away, and allow others to run with them and make them better.

2. This requires that a leader be secure enough to allow others to modify her or his ideas.

Jim Collins writes about the Level 5 Leader, a leader who is secure enough to be humble and who embodies the cause. The Level 5 Leader creates a movement (Read “The Level 5 Leader“).

I think that it takes this kind of humbleness and the willingness to embody a cause to believe in reciprocity. Humble leaders who are passionately sold out to their cause are willing to give ideas away.

3. A perfect example also came from the Leadership Institute.

Steve Hawn, a VP at Hallmark, showed two videos about a new Hallmark product called Storybook. It is a storybook that enables the reader to record her or his voice. Then, whoever opens the storybook can hear that person’s voice reading the story.

The highest consumer group is grandparents who record themselves reading the book and then send it to their grandchildren. Expecting my first child this December, this choked me up a little bit.

Steve then shared a story about how someone used Storybook in a way Hallmark never anticipated.

An American couple is in the process of adopting a child from an overseas country. They bought a Storybook, recorded their voices reading the story, and then mailed it to the little boy they are in the process of adopting. They wanted him to hear their voices so he could get used to them and feel comforted by their voices when he arrives in the U.S.!

A stay at home mom might start a support group for moms or blog about being a mom. A businessperson might give a product away. A pastor might mentor other pastors for free.  An attorney might volunteer at a free legal clinic, etc.


  • How are you sharing some of your ideas with others for free?
  • Are you intentional about sharing your ideas? If not, why don’t you get in the game? We need your ideas.
  • What would it look like for you to share your ideas, product, skills, etc.? How would you do it?
  • What would it feel like knowing that you have made other people better by sharing some of your contributions for free?

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