Ian Johnson, Ph.D.

Ian says: “I would like to introduce myself as a maven.”

The description of a maven provided by Malcolm Gladwell in his best-selling  book “The Tipping Point” fits me perfectly.

As well as those we rely on to connect us to other people, there are those who we rely on to connect us to new information. There are people specialists and there are information specialists. These are Mavens, derived from a Yiddish word meaning an accumulator of knowledge. The critical thing about Mavens, though, is that they aren’t passive collectors of information. What sets them apart is that once they figure something out, they tell others. An expert will talk about cars because they love cars. A Maven will talk with you about cars because they love you and want to help you with your decision. They are more socially motivated than the expert.

What sets Mavens apart, though, is not so much what they know but how they pass it along. The fact that Mavens want to help, for no other reason than because they like to help, turns out to be an effective way of getting someone’s attention.

A Maven is not a persuader. To be a Maven is to be a teacher and it is to be a student. Mavens are really information brokers, sharing and trading what they know.

  • In a social epidemic, Mavens are data banks – they provide the message.
  • Connectors are social glue. They spread it.
  • The third group are the Salespeople, the convincers – through the subtle, the hidden, the unspoken – the senders of emotional contagion

An Interface With The Intelligent Universe