Accelerating Serendipity

This is a re-cap of our Call with Evangelists, which is held every Friday at noon EST. All are welcome.

“Twitter accelerates serendipity”

That’s a phrase that’s been bandied about on (where else) Twitter. Some people say that I have coined this phrase, but I have not.

The reason people think I coined it is that I started using the phrase because it was so meaningful to me, and then people associated it with my name – and people who used Twitter a lot knew exactly what I was talking about. So it had a lot of relevance to them.

Now, most people think that luck is a part of growing a business. I am not one of those people. My POV is that no matter what – no matter what, you have to build a business that does not depend on luck. Ever. You need to build a business where you know how to get the results you need from actions you know you can take.

Luck, if it strikes, is a lucky strike extra.

And what luck is – really – is just something that happens where you can’t see the cause and effect between actions and consequences.

So if I don’t believe in luck, why would I be so interested in “accelerating serendipity”?

Serendipity is a little different. Wikipedia defines it as:

The accident of finding something good or useful without looking for it.

And Jeff Jarvis – Jeff wrote the book called “What Would Google Eo?” – explains serendipity as “Unexpected Relevance.”

What Twitter does – is it accelerates the process of finding something good or useful – that is particularly relevant to you – without looking for it.

And so – I’m a big believer that that is what Twitter does for me. But the *REASON* it does that is because I follow a lot of people. And I follow a lot of people who may be “unexpectedly relevant’ to me. I follow people who have something right in their bio which says to me “maybe good” or “maybe useful.” I follow people who might not be relevant to me now, but could be somehow, some way, be useful in the future.

And so, I accelerate my own serendipity by connecting with lots of people on Twitter. I’ve said this before – but not only have I found great content, great connections, great conversations on Twitter – but I’ve found Senior Editors who work amazingly hard and amazingly well – on Twitter. Justin Cascio for example – was found on Twitter. I’m extremely fortunate to have Justin here. You might call it lucky. But I knew exactly what actions I needed to take to allow that to happen.


 Onward: what is going on at the Good Men Project and why it’s important.

There are three things of note:

1) We are a conversation, not just a media company.

The conversation of “What Does it Mean to be a Good Man in the 21st Century?” is becoming a highly engaged, multi-media discussion between individuals, blog networks and mainstream media. What is important? is a question we are answering all the time — through blogs about what’s going on in other media, through mainstream media connecting with us, through our over 600 content-creating evangelists, though our commenters and community talking about things on a very deep level.

2) We are continuing to grow by bringing blogs on board.

You’all know by now the way to get to a tipping point: Individuals, to small groups, to large groups. As part of our strategy, we started with individuals who combined forces. Now we’re onto smaller groups. And when those small groups reach large groups on a consistent basis, we will have “tipped”. You’ll be able to walk down the street anywhere in the country (world?) and have someone say The Good Men Project? I’ve heard of that!

3) We are expanding the ways in which we create media.

I mentioned today that I had seen an updated script for the play we are producing. A Good Men Project play, hopefully opening in NYC. How do you produce a play? The same way we’ve done everything else — we start by telling stories.


 Finally — we opened it up for everyone on the call to talk — and boy, did they open up. We started with what other topics people would like to see covered more — Arts and Entertainment, different types of media, films and photography. And cooking, recipes, drink recipes. Which got us into style and the idea of “Being a Man: An Owner’s Manual.” Someone suggested products and grooming. Someone else chimed in with the idea of a “Meterosexual Corner” (cue laughter here).

And eventually the conversation got back to some of the deeper issues which are our hallmark. Someone gave a passionate speech for doing more around boys, and the state of difficulty that they are in. That led to a discussion of race, the invisible statistics, how hard it is to discuss racism, why other media companies won’t touch it in the way we do. Not just race, but politics of all sorts, along with gender and sexuality. The difficulty in talking about polarizing topics anyway — they are made into binary’s to dismiss and avoid discussion with the other side. To prevent finding middle ground — which, despite the difficulty in getting to we’re going to keep trying. We’re not afraid of polarizing topics. We’re not afraid of provocative discussions. We refuse to be afraid.


Thanks all, who joined in — I may have missed some folks but the ones who announced themselves were: Noah Brand, Joanna Schroeder, Justin Cascio, Andrew Cotto, Mark Sherman, Mark Greene, Ulysses, Christine Hartman, Jack Varnell, and JR Reed. 

Here is the recording of this weeks call. Hope to talk with you all next week.

photo: sensechange / flickr

About Lisa Hickey

Lisa Hickey is CEO of Good Men Media Inc. and publisher of the Good Men Project. "I like to create things that capture the imagination of the general public and become part of the popular culture for years to come." Connect with her on Twitter.


  1. Which got us into style and the idea of “Being a Man: An Owner’s Manual.”
    Oh did you now? I started dabbling in something like this last year (Its been a rough year so I haven’t been able to devote much attention to it.). If someone decides to get something going on this angle I got your back.

  2. The last ten minutes is always when we get deep, and it’s my favorite part of the call.

    I left a metaphor hanging about purple and green people, and racism. My point was that when we turn it into something unreal, it’s easy to dismiss other people’s racism (or other xenophobia). To understand it, we have to understand how it works in our own communities and in ourselves: who we overlook, are afraid of, dismiss, flatten, or project onto. Someone on the call mentioned women, and how they are the Other that we are often most intimate with. This is another place the GMP has always fearlessly tread. Gender is still significant, which is why it’s still necessary to talk about what it is to be a good man.

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