Back in 1993, I bought my first motorcycle.
My friends had cars. Their full-time jobs could permit it.
I went to college and couldn’t afford a car, so I borrowed dad’s 1982 Pontiac 6000 to get around in the summer.
Nothing scares away girls like a dad-car.
My friend Andrew Parker never had a problem with girls. When he moved to Ottawa and sold all his possessions, I was quick to pick up his Honda CB400 motorcycle.

I learned to drive by practicing in the cow pasture.
Around and around, leaning and hugging the gas tank with my knees, shifting up, releasing the clutch, braking on top, braking on bottom.

I was the only one with a motorbike in my circle of friends.

The air is sweeter on a bike. Must have something to do with the freedom. Or maybe it was the dandelion pollen.
No. I’m wrong. It wasn’t the air. Or the smell.
It was a feeling.
There is a sense of rebellion.
I was different.
I wasn’t like anyone else.
My non-conformitism made me feel cool.
I was Fonzie, leather jacket and all.

There was something else I discovered on the road to Happy Days.
I wasn’t alone.
Other riders waved when we met.
Left arm extended downward, two fingers pointing toward the ground.
The universal language of biker solidarity. “Have fun, stay safe, brother.”

My dad borrowed my bike one day and asked why everyone was waving at him.
“Did you wave back”?
“No. I didn’t know them”.
“You don’t have to know them, you are them,” I explained.

Motorcycle riders are a what some people call “tribes”.
You can’t understand if you’ve never driven on two wheels.
You can pretend to understand. But until you fling off the safety of four wheels, a seatbelt, airbags, and a metal cocoon, you cannot know the meaning of being a biker.

Tribes have rituals, symbols, and stories. And just like the Freemasons, the Boy Scouts, or the Catholic Church, you don’t understand the secrets until you join.

Apple’s customers are a tribe.
The experience of opening the packaging of an Apple computer is like dancing with the prettiest girl in the school.

Customers are in your tribe.
Be careful. They don’t want to be harnessed.
Let it be free, almost unconscious for them.

Many businesses try to put a fence around the tribe and say, “This is our tribe.”
They use loyalty programs, Facebook groups, and email spam to gather the troops.
That’s not a tribe. It’s list building.

To build a tribe, you accept you will not own the tribe.
It’s bigger than you.
It’s your dream that cannot be fulfilled.

What are the rituals, symbols, and stories in your business?
What are your beliefs?
What problem are you solving?
Why do customers buy from you instead of your competitors?
What are their hopes and dreams?

Answer the questions, and dip your toe into a pool of magic.
We call the answers “unleveraged assets.”

Use your unleveraged assets in communications. Your tribe grows.

Motorcyclists aren’t told to wave to each other.

When you make groups of people feel good, they find friends to share those feelings.
Growth happens fast by consciously using unleveraged assets like symbols, rituals, and stories.

Have fun. Stay safe, brother.

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