Following the fearless leader


The lovely Jonerz sent me a link to a Lefsetz Letter music blog post that compares followers with leaders:

FOLLOWERS: Finish college.

LEADERS: Drop out.

FOLLOWERS: Obey the rules.

LEADERS: Question authority.

FOLLOWERS: Believe it’s about accolades.

LEADERS: Believe it’s about relationships.

FOLLOWERS: Need external validation.

LEADERS: Have self-confidence.

FOLLOWERS: Have a backup plan.

LEADERS: Have no safety net.

FOLLOWERS: Will not take no for an answer. Since they’re playing the game, they believe the rules and the courts will save them.

LEADERS: Hit a roadblock and change direction. They only fight battles they know they can win.

FOLLOWERS: Work for the corporation.

LEADERS: Start the corporation.

FOLLOWERS: Go to graduate school to gain a profession.

LEADERS: Hire professionals.

FOLLOWERS: Look at how everybody else does it, conformity is king.

LEADERS: Do it their own way, but are aware of how everybody else is doing it.

FOLLOWERS: Believe in vacation.

LEADERS: Never take a day off.

FOLLOWERS: Are students of what’s in front of them.

LEADERS: Are students of the game.

FOLLOWERS: Stop learning after school.

LEADERS: Never stop learning. Whether it be from books, news or colleagues.

FOLLOWERS: Argue about their paycheck.

LEADERS: Money is secondary, and they believe there’s enough if they succeed.

FOLLOWERS: Are afraid to lose.

LEADERS: Are willing to lose, because they believe they’re destined to win.

FOLLOWERS: Say no. Pessimism reigns.

LEADERS: Say yes. But are not afraid to say no. Optimism rules.


LEADERS: Make it up as they go.

FOLLOWERS: Take direction.

LEADERS: Make up the direction.

FOLLOWERS: Believe it’s all about the CV, what you can list on LinkedIn.

LEADERS: Social network because they’ve got so many ideas their heads will explode if they don’t release them. They know the people who started the social networks. They’re more interested in what made social networks successful than playing within them. They know building a resume only counts if you’re looking to get hired, and they’ve created every job they’ve had since high school.

FOLLOWERS: Are afraid and sometimes evidence desperation.

LEADERS: Are never afraid and never desperate. They see the world as their plaything, not something that can hold them back or down.

FOLLOWERS: Have no vision.

LEADERS: Can see the future in 3-D.

FOLLOWERS: Work in established industries.

LEADERS: Establish industries. The greats are not afraid of being ahead of the times, they know the times will come to them.

FOLLOWERS: Think about themselves.

LEADERS: Think about others. Sure, many are narcissistic, but their fortunes are based on filling the needs of the public, not their boss.

FOLLOWERS: Adjust their personalities to get along.

LEADERS: Get to be themselves.

FOLLOWERS: Play the politics.

LEADERS: Are above the politics.

FOLLOWERS: Work in the world.

LEADERS: Run the world.

So what do you guys think? Which category does David fit into most? And why?


Kari just tweeted David’s first vlog … oh my, what a difference five years make… and yet, not. 🙂

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19 Responses to Following the fearless leader

  1. Kizzi says:

    David, of course, is a leader. He marches to his own drum…pa rum pum pum pum!

    I do take issue with this Leader-Follower list. Too many disagreements to innumerate but I agree with the general sentiment.

    You my dear TOfan are an awesome leader. Kudos to you marching to the beat of your convictions!

    On my way to Vancouver now. Meeting up with several couples to enjoy B.C., The Yukon and Northwest Territories for next 2 weeks.

  2. rooster says:

    o dear that just cuz got me again can,t stop laughing thanks again made my day

  3. missbianca says:

    Like Kizzi, I have a lot of issues with this list. Looks to me like it was made up by someone to justify his personality as that of a leader. There are many kinds of leaders. Some change the world. Some “merely” head a loving family.

    People take both leadership and follower roles throughout their life. David is a devout follower of his church. Maybe one day he will be a leader there, I have no idea, but he needs to learn more and experience more before he can be that kind of leader.

    Musically, however, I think David has learned and experienced enough to lead his own destiny (and lead those who hitch their wagons to it). The confidence he shows onstage can spread to other business aspects of being a musician and voila. A leader.

  4. TOfan says:

    Kizzi & Ms. Bianca, I know what you guys mean about having issues with the list. I did too when I first read it (esp. the first one, that followers finish college and leaders drop out 😯 ) … but when I looked at it from the point of view of the music industry (which is what Lefsetz writes about), it made more sense to me. Most music legends probably didn’t finish college, etc.

    The rule-follower thing def. seems like David though … heck, he didn’t even tell his closest friends he auditioned for Idol because it was part of his contract.

    But with him it seems to make a difference WHO is making the rules… Jive tried to tell him what he could and couldn’t do with his music, his image, his video etc., and he rebelled against that. Melinda treated him like a two-year-old and we know what happened to her.

    I can’t imagine that with his music, he’ll EVER not follow his own heart.

    • Anonymous says:

      The list has a “capitalistic” philosophy to me. I do see where the list is going in terms of leading to success.

      I think D will make his own list…he listens to his inner voice on important things, at least that seems like that to me.

      Good stuff to think on Ms. TOfan.

  5. I knew this list would get everyone fired up! LOL

    When I first shared it with Deb it was less about content than it was about asking the question, “Do we perceive David as a leader or a follower?”

    I also don’t think this list should be taken literally. For instance, the item referring to “dropping out of college” is symbolic of someone having the courage to sacrifice their security to take a chance on pursuing their dream.

    It was interesting to look at the list and think about each comparison with David in mind.

    For the record, I think David is a LEADER. I’m not so sure he even realizes how much of a leader he has the potential to be right now! I think he is evolving, learning about who he is and gaining confidence in himself. I think he has the makings of becoming a force to be reckoned with.

    I do believe that, as the list says, he is a person who is not afraid to work hard (without money being his main objective) to achieve his goals. I think he believes that if he works hard he will be rewarded in the end with the appropriate compensation for his efforts. I also believe what he deems “appropriate compensation” might be VERY different from his peers, which is precisely what makes him a great leader. 🙂

  6. davidarchiefan4life says:

    When I read this list a few things jump out at me with regards to David. He doesn’t seem to believe it’s about accolades, he does things his own way but is aware of how everybody else is doing it. Over the past five years, how many days has he actually taken off?

    He’ll never stop learning. Money is secondary. He says yes and is learning to say no. He does seem to make it up as he goes. He’s created every job he’s ever had since high school.

    I believe he is often afraid, but that doesn’t stop him, he feels the fear and does it anyway. He thinks about others. He gets to be himself. He’s above the politics.

    And I think he should run the world, it would be a pretty awesome place, wouldn’t it? 🙂

  7. P.S. Love the lead pic of Captain Archuleta of the Starship David 😆

  8. TOfan says:

    Just saw this Lefsetz column posted on the Yahoo Music/Variety site re the Miley MVA kerfuffle … great points:

    Never Confuse Spectacle and Controversy With Talent

    • My favorite line: “Let’s ignore Miley Cyrus. Let’s ignore Kim Kardashian. If we stop paying attention to these no-talents, true talents will have a better chance of emerging.”

      • missbianca says:

        I read an article yesterday that called Kim Kardashian a superstar. Once I contained the urge to vomit, I removed it from my bookmarks and history. Media w**** is the only accurate label for her. And now Miley. 1000’s of parents had to explain that performance to their kids. She’s gone evil! /endrant

        • TOfan says:

          I can cut Miley some slack because she’s a showbiz kid who seems to desperately need attention… but Robin Thicke, what the heck was he thinking?? I actually heard him say on an interview for a local station here, “I don’t twerk, I’m twerked upon.” Speechless.

  9. refnaf says:

    Love all your comments peeps, and am craving to see you all> #DA2014

    I think David fits the leader category as well… (the list does fit for the music industry!)
    This one especially:
    “LEADERS: Do it their own way, but are aware of how everybody else is doing it.” << This describes David so well I think… He seems to be a sponge for soaking up the art of other musicians as a way to expand his own creativity and musicianship and yet everything he does seems to come directly from his heart.. My hope is that on his return he will establish his own "genre" and take the music world by storm.

  10. tammi says:

    there are different types of leaders and i think David is one of the quiet types of leaders who leads by example. like this quote from Arthur Ashe: “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”

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