Small is a Force Multiplier

(Note: This post was part of an edition of my weekly letter. It appears here via permission from ... well, me!)

In the early 2000s, I remember watching a global call-in show on BBC World News. That show invited viewers to telephone, Skype, fax, instant message, and email about that week's topic. The particular edition I tuned into discussed how to reduce your carbon footprint. The one email that I recall vividly was from a viewer in Scotland. He wrote that he couldn't afford to convert his household to green technologies and, that being one person, his efforts wouldn't put a dent in the situation. So, he'd opted to do nothing.

Maybe that viewer couldn't afford turn his home into a bastion of renewable energy. But he could have take several small steps — like using energy-efficient bulbs, turning off lights, air drying his clothes. One person doing that makes no appreciable difference. If a 100 do that, it puts a small dent in the problem. A million? That makes a huge difference.

Crowdfunding is an excellent expression of small as a force multiplier. It gives ideas and products which might not have a large potential market a chance to see the light of day. Backers can pledge anywhere from a few dollars to hundreds or thousands of dollars to support something that intrigues them. The people behind the crowdfunding campaign get a chance to take a product or idea with a narrow niche and make it a reality.

Small steps. Small gestures. Alone, they amount to little. Multiply those gestures by hundreds or thousands or millions or more, and you wind up with something incredible.