The plausible promise is the big goal that a swarmish network self-selects as its “rallying point,” its “battlecry,” its “BHAG” (Big Hairy Audacious Goal–that’s right, Google it).
The question of plausibility is the first big test. Some goals (like “we are going to evangelize the whole world”) seem on the surface completely implausible [no single micro-org or conventional organization can do this on their own]. If it is deemed implausible then no one will rally to it, and the swarm will have no resources (people) to do the task. It will fail. (And maybe earn a twitter hashtag of #fail–this is the sure sign of an implausible promise.)
On the other hand, the promise may be obviously plausible. For example, “We will create an iPhone app” or “We will create a website” is a perfectly plausible promise–provided you have access to the resources. The immediate lack of resources is not an indicator that a promise is implausible; that is the chief challenge of a swarm: to recruit the resources necessary.
So, “implausible” means “even with all the resources in the world, likely impossible.”
The difficulty is, what is “impossible” is changing all the time. So a lot of plausible promises are going to be “on the edge”–some will think “that can’t be done” and others will think “maybe it can.”
Proving which way it’s gonna go is the challenge of the swarm founders. The first people to put the plausible promise up have to have some reasonable idea that it is plausible.
I’ve seen several plausible promises recently which I wasn’t altogether sure of. One I thought for certain wouldn’t happen was “Down with Qaddafi.” One I am reasonably certain about–although the road is very difficult–is “Down with Assad.”
Egypt has seen a bunch of plausible promises. “Down with Mubarak” was difficult and I gave it even odds. It proved plausible. Now the crowd has set an even more audacious goal: “Down with military control.” I’m still not sanguine on the possibilities of this. But I am pretty sure that in proving it, things could get bloody.
What is your plausible promise? If you want to see how this plays into the first and most important element of a swarm–Focused Vision–see my Swarming Workbook 1 (brief ad: now on sale for $1.99).