How to Start a Movement (in 3 Minutes)

By Ryan McGreal
Published April 14, 2010

Derek Sivers, the musician and accidental founder of CD Baby, made a short presentation to the recent TED conference in which he explained how to start a movement:

His surprising conclusion: it takes a courageous follower to make a leader.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By highwater (registered) | Posted April 14, 2010 at 17:34:50

I've been in love with this guy ever since I ordered something from cdbaby and received the following order confirmation:

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved "Bon Voyage!" to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Thursday, December 13th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as "Customer of the Year." We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


-- Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby the little store with the best new independent music (503)595-3000

No Derek, thank you.

I know he says this to all the girls, but still.


Comment edited by highwater on 2010-04-14 16:36:50

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By schmadrian (registered) | Posted April 15, 2010 at 09:08:09

Yeah, I've purchased a lot of music from CD Baby over the years, and I've always loved their approach to customer service. (There's an article here about how much better society would be if we all recognized the importance of universal respect, one that deserves to be written and published on RTH. I'm reminded of this truth because of a recent conversation my father had with his anesthesiologist about the notion that all medical personnel were simply providing 'customer service' to their patients, the customers. Needless to say, the person was aghast...mortified...and insulted...) They also send out follow-up emails to make sure everything went OK with the delivery. Clearly, Mr. Sivers 'gets' not only customer service, but the many aspects of living a robust life that are associated with it.

I love what TED does, and thank Ryan for sharing this.

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By jwilbur (registered) | Posted April 18, 2010 at 15:39:59


What a GREAT little video, thanks for sharing!

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