Work

Principles.com

Engaged tens of thousands online in preparation for Principles, a New York Times and Amazon.com best seller

Client: Principles

Background

How does one man encourage millions of people to think differently about how they can get what they want out of life? It helps if you’re Ray Dalio, influential investor, philanthropist, and founder of Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund. In 2011, Dalio publicly shared a paper about the principles that had helped him achieve his goals in work and in life. Available for download as a 123-page PDF, the paper drew great interest, spurring Dalio to seek a way to expand access to a framework that had worked so well for him.

The Work

From the beginning, Lex, then Head of PR at Bridgewater, envisioned “Principles” as a platform for learning and shared meaning. To bring that to fruition, he needed to migrate the content to a format that would be easier for people to find and explore online—and a joy to read. With sights set on a mass market book, Lex created buzz prior to publication by standing up an online space where existing and new readers could interact with the content in their own way and easily share and discuss individual principles with friends and colleagues. In the process, he built a following of 50,000 subscribers interested in Principles. And he attended to the complex legal and other issues involved in establishing a brand that would link Dalio and his principles in the public’s mind—including negotiating the purchase of Principles.com.

By the time the book was published in 2017, tens of thousands of people had already engaged with the principles on Principles.com. Bolstered by this large and growing community of followers, the book quickly became a best seller—it was Amazon’s #1 Business Book of the Year in 2017 and by April 2018 had spent 30 weeks on Amazon Charts’ Top 20 Most Sold & Most Read Books of the week.

Insights

  • Build allegiance to your product or brand incrementally by continually monitoring how people are interacting with your content and making it easy for them to deepen their engagement
  • The time needed to lay the groundwork for a significant ask is at least equal to product development time
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