Let's say you just joined a new club, online community, or perhaps even a team. Some people like being the peon members of the group, which is very fortunate, because without those people, no group would be very good.
But beyond the general masses is usually a smaller group of respected, and usually more priviledged individuals. In this article, I'll call those people "the inner circle". Within that inner circle there are decision makers - the members that have the power and duty to control the very nature and future of that group. To make this article a little more jargony and cool sounding, I'll call those people the kings.
Today I'm going to teach you how to go from being a peasant to a king in a relatively short amount of time. Is this possible? It has been for me. The two best examples, which I will trace my involvement with through this article, are my interactions with the pickup community and with the gambling community.
To give a quick background, the pickup community is a huge confederation of thousands of men, and a few women, who endeavor to become more appealing to the opposite sex. There is a public forum called Fast Seduction where everyone congregates. There are a great many factions in the community, most of which are on bad terms with at least one other group. There's Mystery Method, Real Social Dynamics, Gunwitch, Pickup101, Badboy, Fidentia, and several others. In addition there is a private forum called "Mystery's Lounge" where the elite 100 or so members of the community hang out. That means that these people represent at least the top .1%, if not less. Technically speaking, Mystery's lounge has been renamed and a new forum has sprung up called Mystery's lounge. To make things simple, when I say Mystery's lounge, I am always referring to the more exclusive one.
The gambling community was never as large as the pickup community, but it was still made up of a few thousand members. What makes it interesting is that everyone involved has a financial interest in the community. This hinders information flow somewhat. Within the large community was a once-secret group simply called "private". Private had only 40-50 members and being a member of it certainly meant a higher income. Later in the game private went to the wayside in favor of a smaller core group as well as exclusive secret groups outside of the main population.
These aren't the only two societies I've risen to the top of, but they are probably among the most impressive and both are very good illustrations of my method.
A natural reaction for many readers may be the thought that manipulation shouldn't be encouraged... let the strong rise to the top and the weak to the bottom. In general, I agree with that. However, I find that most communities favor the status quo. Those at the top like peace and don't want to admit anyone who may usurp their position. Many times, though, the most worthy are not at the top. For example, the music industry is notoriously difficult to crack (I'm working on it). I'm generally a fairly mainstream rap fan. I like Jay-Z, Nas, Kanye, Biggie, Tupac, Eminem, Dre, etc. Sure I have some more eclectic tastes as well, but they don't make up the majority of my preferences. With that in mind - my absolute favorite rapper is an underground legend named DZK. Despite being, in my opinion, more talented than any commercial act right now, he doesn't have widespread fame. I believe that's about to change, because he's finally putting effort into it, but my point is that the best doesn't rise to the top without action.
The purpose of becoming a king in a group is to add value to the group, make it stronger, and embrace the next generation to join. Sneaking in to benefit yourself without helping others is never the right play.
Step One : Identify the Leaders
It's important to know who you are going to eventually be joining. Make sure you know who actually makes decisions and who is a member of the core group. Sometimes there are several core groups and you need to determine which is really at the top of the food chain. If you deserve to be at the top - get there.
In the PUA group (pick up artist group) I identified Mystery's Lounge as the end goal. It was regarded as the Garden of Eden for pickup information and connections. Equally important was status in the main Fastseduction group, particularly being respected by Formhandle, the moderator and owner of the forum.
In the gambling group I knew private existed, so I wanted to join that. It was pretty clear who most of the members were.
Step Two : Shake things Up
This is an important step, and probably the most ignored one. For change to happen, things must be shaken up. Most people aren't great at dealing with change, but you will become a master of it. This gives you a good chance to quickly ascend the ranks while the others are trying to get their bearings.
I don't mean to do anything malicious. I mean to do something drastic that draws attention to you and separates you from the masses. In general the inner circles don't have much regard for the commoners as a group (although usually they will respect some of them, arguably a middle class). An important factor of shaking things up is putting yourself in a position where people HAVE to notice you and probably have to deal with you.
Outside of my two case studies, it's pretty obvious that I'm trying to break into the blogging world (I will never say blogosphere - I promise). With millions of blogs out there, it's not an easy field. However, within two months I have been able to go from 10 readers a day to 4000 (if you average out the huge spikes), and I keep going. To shake it up here, I posted some stories which I knew would get massive publicity like the Ghetto Pool story, the UT Tunnel story, and most recently the Living with Courtney Love story. I knew that these stories would put me in front of a lot of eyeballs, which would force people to notice my blog and read it. I managed to get on the front page of digg, college humor, delicious, shoutwire, reddit, fazed, and leenks. Thanks to those services, over 150,000 different people saw my blog in a month, and a number of them became regular readers.
In the PUA world, I had a tougher time. The year prior to my entry played host to the world's first Pickup Artist summit, held in Boston by Formhandle. It was a small event, but it attracted some of the biggest names in the business - a perfect setting to get noticed. But I missed it. I decided that to shake things up I would host the next one that year. That meant that although I would have to do some work (read : bring value), the best in the game would be forced to deal with me. I e-mailed Formhandle with my plan, and he ignored me.
He simply got too much e-mail and to him I was still one of the peons. So I had to get a little bold. I saw a post that he made that I didn't disagree with, and I publicly called him on it. Normally I would ignore it, but I needed to get noticed. He wrote back, and then to avoid a further flame war I e-mailed him to apologize and settle it privately. After that he always responded to my e-mails and agreed to help me organize the PUA summit. A sidenote : I'm sure he's forgiven me for my rudeness... today we're friends and we hang out every time we're in the same city.
Gambling was interesting. Sometimes there's no convenient way to shake things up, so you must wait for an opportunity. As with anything, opportunities come frequently if you're looking for them. The previous owner of the gambling forum wasn't actually a gambler himself, which was breeding discontent amongst the ranks. We wanted fewer members to protect our secrets, he wanted more to increase revenues. To resolve the situation he agreed to sell the forum for a rather high price. I immediately told the purchaser I was interested in purchasing the forum. I was interested, but what was more important is that I knew that he would be a king soon. It's a good idea to be friends with the kings.
The sale got botched, but it was good enough. Through him I had been introduced to others. I made good friends with one of the more influential members (not strategically) and he told me that if I started my own forum that he could bring most of the members with him. Sure enough I started my own forum and everyone moved over. Within a month I went from a nobody to one of the most important people in the community.
Step Two and a half : Take Power
Notice how in both of the examples I took a leadership role? All kings are in some sort of leadership role, formal or informal. The sooner you take one, the quicker your ascent will be. You don't need to kick someone out of their position either, just create a new role that you're good at that will benefit the group. Maybe you'll organize events for the group, or archive materials. It doesn't really matter - just make it important and hopefully well known.
Step Three : Cement your Role
Being at the top can be tricky. If you're part of the top 1%, that means that the other 99% are jockeying for your position. Now it's time to really flesh out your role in the group and make some ties. This is usually easy because others at the top will be like minded and you'll naturally befriend them.
In the PUA world I did run the summit, but by that time I had moved in with three of the other kings and began teaching with one of them. Not only was I invited to join the lounge, but I was also in charge of the membership there, being the one person with the final say on who was a member and who wasn't.
In the gambling scene I shared information with other top guys to show that I wasn't deadweight. Of course the information they then shared with me was even more valuable.
Some people say that if you have no enemies, you're doing something wrong. I'm conflicted on whether or not I subscribe to that notion, but I try to avoid enemies. My philosophy is that most people who rise to the inner circle are probably reasonably interesting people and some benefit can be gained by being on good terms with them.
My involvement in the gambling community faded over the years as I became more independent, but before that I was friends with everyone. In a few cases I was friends with two bitter enemies and had to help moderate.
In the PUA scene even though I am fairly inactive in the community today, I am probably friends with more top guys than anyone else.
It's ok to be friends with rivals. Just make sure you do not fuel their rivalry. It may be tempting at times to share stories and information from one faction to the other, but this is a huge mistake. If you can't be trusted to keep your mouth shut, you will soon find yourself shunned by both.
It's also important to continually add value to the group. Deadweight may get a few months tenure, but inevitably someone has to be removed to make room for the new. Every community has members who are not actively improving the community, and they are the first to go.
Even though I barely ever go out anymore, I still offer value to the pickup community by sharing my ideas and stories, and also giving information on my other areas of expertise.
Go Do It!
Now you have everything you need to know to become a king of your community. Everyone is in some sort of community (even if it's just your family or friend group), so start now and hopefully with your help your group will grow even stronger.
Also, watch for how I rise to the top of both the blogging world, but soon the rap industry.