Tom Peters says (paraphrase), "Leadership isn’t about transforming others, but captaining the voyage of mutual discovery."
Want to captain the ship of discovery in your field or profession? Be the Resource.
In the late 90s, I worked for a small, spunky startup called Real Fans Sports Network. Having private community and community-generated content areas for each professional and college team, we also collected and provided every link we could find on the web for each team – no matter the content provider.
We knew that raving fans would find (and hunt) for those links anyway – so we just gave them up. Be the Resource.
When AOL bought us, we were asked to stop providing links that weren’t internal or partner content (AOL’s call). We stopped being THE resource. We lost traffic and loyalty. The community formerly known as Team Clubs was sold to Sportsline, then GeoCities (with each sale, outbound links became more sparse).
Lesson learned? Fans are fans. Shoppers will shop. Searchers will find. Be the Resource.