You lead, you serve, they follow

Before B Springsteen's last tour, his manager announced that arena floors would be entirely general admission (GA).

No reserved seating and no seats period. But there would be a fenced in area around the stage that would hold only 300 people.

With 1,800 GA tickets sold for each show, there was a risk of pandemonium as fans would rush to get into "the pit".

But a super-fan from Napanee, Ontario solved this problem. His name's Bill Daverne and he criss-crossed the United States attending dozens of concerts on the last tour alone.

Bill would get to a city that he'd never been to before, go straight to the concert venue and get all of the fans to line up in an orderly fashion.

When I heard this I had to wonder how he could get so many ambitious strangers to listen to him. And when he told me, I saw a business lesson in his story.

Daverne and fellow enthusiasts would start a line and a list. If you joined the line, you got your name on the list and a number painted on your hand.

You were told you must return at certain times for roll calls. If you missed any of the roll calls and you lost your place in line. This meant that fans could come and go as long as they made their check-ins.

Daverne and his friends had no official titles. They weren't endorsed by the band, the promoters or the arenas. Legitimacy was conferred by their unassailable service alone.

And they got a reputation. Security guards who, at first, showed them no respect would eventually authorize their line as the one they themselves would honour. And they would tell security officials at the next stops to keep an eye out for these guys.

When Bill got to Fargo (yes, that Fargo!) he was immediately approached by a security guard who said he was looking for Bill or Ted or Todd.

And, the fans let eachother know about the rules via internet news groups.

So, Daverne had a position and a even a bit of a brand. He was the line guy. But he had to work hard to get there. He had to show up early, make sure the list was maintained through the night. And he couldn't play any favourites; he had to be fair.

The point of the story is, to me, that some "nobody" can walk into a situation and take control by having a good idea and thorough execution. I just found that fascinating.

Find more here and here (he's half-way down the page).

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