Leveraging your Follower's Network

Whether you're an activist trying to change the world, or a Product Manager shipping new features, the biggest hurdle is engaging people to follow.  I read a great post on First Round Review about how to do that from a product perspective.  The technique I want to highlight is "leveraging your follower's network."  Here is an excerpt from the post:

After the Massdrop team decides that a submitted feature request makes sense, they ask the person who submitted it to rally interest from their community. “We tell them, ‘Okay, we’re going to start working on this. As a power user, your job is to gauge how much customers want this kind of feature.’” This isn’t so much about determining whether to forge ahead as it is about getting people excited. The more an upcoming feature is discussed by various groups of Massdrop buyers, the more anticipated it will become, and the more it will get used once it's built. “We want to start off with one person invested in a feature and eventually have whole communities invested in it as well. We assign them that piece.”

Notice how the Massdrop team leverages power users to become community leaders.  Having someone else preach your message is powerful in two ways.  One, it scales you, because you only have so much time in the day.  Two, the message arrives with more credibility to the listener, because it is coming from a respected community leader, rather than you.   The latter I learned from a story in Influencer about Chinese communist leader Mao, who disseminated health care to rural areas by leveraging his follower's network.  During his early rule, at a time before he stepped into the hall of villains in the annals of history, China had a serious public health issue in the rural areas.  Instead of sending doctors from the cities he asked each rural area to elect a community leader to attend basic health education classes.  Those leaders then taught their followers back home and improved health within their communities.  Many public health solutions involved discipline such as hand-washing or regular checkups, techniques that are easy to understand but hard to enforce. A city doctor with no relationship to rural locals would be less effective than a local, already respected leader for such influence-based work.

How do you leverage your follower's network to change the world?