Pic c/o Prospect.org
[Mostly] things don't start with special individuals – it is the rest of us and our willingness to adopt something that we see around us that really matters in the spread of behaviours and ideas through populations.
Counter-intuitive I know (and not something very flattering to us self-styled innovators and influentials) but that's what the data suggests. And whatever you'd like to believe about the world and your role in it, it's always good to look at the data to check these ideas out.
Footnote: nice anecdote last night from Goodby's on the same subject The famous Sasquatch dancing man youtube vid was recently sent by a creative director to a planner as if it were an example of "here's to the crazy ones!" (or some such) – a celebration of brave creative heroics, ie. as if what mattered was the first couple of guys.
As we've repeatedly said, the lecture above confirms and Black Swan underlines, it only seems like they're important after the fact – but few of us work backwards through time (Timelords, excluded). Most of us would not be able to tell that these guys – as opposed to any of the other bolloxed groovers around the festival field – would be the seed of a great congregation….