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The Exponential Organisation – community and crowds

3 minute read

In the first post of this mini-series, Staffing on Demand, we talked about this pillar featured in Salim Ismail‘s brilliant book called the ‘Exponential Organisation.’ It’s a great read and one that I think all business leaders should use as their backbone for growth.  The concept is that there are 11 factors that feature in organisations growing at exponential rates. Staffing on Demand is clearly one that resonates with ten80, but there are a couple more that resonated highly with me.

The next one is Community and Crowds.

Delight the Tribe

Salim explains in his book that ExOs typically build and join communities. They serve these communities with pride and passion. Crowdsourcing and harvesting them for ideas and feedback, pushing them into the further stages of their product or service, while creating a truly remarkable and highly sought-after product. They constantly test the market via their raving fans for the next best things needed. In this way, ExOs further delight their customers and improve the ‘stickability’ of their client base.

The top tech companies are great at this too. They provide some form of feedback loop into their product and service delivery channels.  And at the same time they’re doing this, their “tribe” of followers are ever-more thrilled.

I would say that Apple are probably the masters at this… Once in their ecosystem it is very hard to leave!

Access to communities and data is key

Interestingly, over the last 12 months, we have seen this principle drop onto the Facebook ad platform. It was expertly exploited by political parties around the world. The data drawn from the results was used to inform policy decisions as well as the content of speeches. It was even used to determine the locations that politicians have visited!

The media channels that politicians used were also used to target those that could be swayed. Their messages were totally on point with what the key aspects of that specific demographic wanted to hear.  It is a truly remarkable shift in the concept of marketing and influence.

Great observations

Daniel Priestly, a good friend and mentor of mine, has some great observations, stats and metrics on this. I highly recommend reading his Facebook page, full of informative posts.

Both the American Presidential Elections and the UK General Election heavily used communities and crowds to source and refine their policies, content and speeches, including their local messaging. Every political appearance was geared to what the data showed needed to be heard in each area and region.  Daniel comments, “We are approaching the most data driven sales and marketing era ever”.

In the case of the election, the party with the best data feedback loop came out on top. Accessing communities via any media is absolutely critical for providing feedback to any organisation or group.


The use of data in this way (to drive marketing and sales campaigns), is new territory for many companies. It is, however, the inevitable future and one that we cannot avoid. Facebook and, in particular, their ad platform, gives us the perfect technical vehicle for making this work at scale. Of course, over the 2020s the technical vehicle will change, but the concept of listening to your audience and micro-targeting to their requirement is an inescapable future.

The world just got a heck of a lot more personal – driven off micro-targeted data points.

Why it resonates

This resonates so passionately with me on a number of levels…

  1. This is exactly how we built the ten80 platform – through a series of micro innovations listening intently to our market/community and target customers. After that, we worked to solve their pain points. I would however, argue that operating in this manner is fairly standard practice in the agile/dev-ops era. (Although I do find myself constantly frustrated at the failings of some companies to execute successfully!)
  2. The entire ten80 platform uses its own community data, fed by both contractors and clients, to constantly learn and refine its offering. It is geared to improve over time with each iteration step a better one than the last.
  3. Machine learning and AI is actually behind the entire system. The principle is that being driven by community data and trends provides the best outcome for the customer. It doesn’t matter their views, desires, goals or geography. And that has to be good for everyone!

Micro-targeting is indeed a future we all need to embrace.

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