Jan 26, 2013
The Midas Rule is the observation that those that start something or care the most get to choose the direction of something. I described it as:
"Whoever touches something first (takes initiative) and cares the most gets to decide what to do with it."
It's the reward for being proactive, having passion, and taking action. It's a proactive way to give members of a group permission to work on what matters to them. The Midas Rule applies best in:

  • Informal groups and scenarios that operate under consensus or lack formal leadership
  • High-trust environments, where individuals are allowed freedom to Do the Right Thing
  • Situations when other individuals don't care or lack time to contribute to the something
I first used it describe my experience with Open Source software, specifically for extensions to SDL Tridion, an enterprise Content Management System (CMS).

I'll post some example of how to best use as well as some real-life examples on this blog. There are two ways to use "Midas Rule:"
  1. To proactively give people permission to work on something they care about.
  2. To reactively encourage people to work on something they have opinions about.
The Midas Rule has become a familiar phrase among some of my peers, maybe by the Midas Rule I can spread the meme and give others permission to take initiative on things they care about. Sometimes the hardest part of doing anything is giving yourself permission.