Bravery, Nonbelievers and Love
I had written a couple of posts about This is Marketing: You can’t be seen until you learn to see before I even discovered our picture on the inside cover. Everyone knows I am a devout fan of Seth Godin’s and when he asked some of us to send a photo, I sent one of US, because that seemed to make the most sense to me. I don’t know how else to say it. None of what we’ve accomplished with Lakeland Business Leaders would have been possible without these two things: Seth’s inspiration – and YOU. So, you being with me in the inside cover of every single copy of this new book seems fitting in so many ways. Thank you for being on this journey with me.
Much of what Seth writes, since I was introduced to his writing, (I started with Icarus Deception) I believe he is writing TO me, but of course, he’s writing to everyone who believes what he believes – “I just want to teach the people who want to go where I want to go.” So, when he says, “People like us do things like this,” I nod my head, and look around at all of YOU…. thinking about US as the ones who are showing up, looking for ways to make our community stronger, and more welcoming, and more economically balanced.
We WANT to see others succeed, we don’t believe in scarcity. We signed up for this journey we’re enjoying the fact that there are others here with us!
So, when he writes things like this, I want to share them – and find out what YOU think about his words. I want to know who else hears these things deep in their soul and just cherishes the fact that there are people like us on this Earth, doing things that matter!
Bringing it Home
I had a conversation with a friend last night about the challenges of creating meaningful change. There’s entrenchment, entitlement, and access to resources that create a tough road for people who want to do what’s is right – not what is easy. The challenges and barriers of a culture that is comfortable with the past, and, even if we aren’t happy about our culture, we don’t want to piss anyone off, and ruin our chances of survival within this culture that we seem helpless to change.
How then do we DO anything? How then, do we allow those dreams in our hearts have a chance to see the light of day?
We find others like us, who care enough to take 10 minutes out of their day to read something like this post. We look for people who are doing work that matters and we come alongside them (not create our own version of their work) and find ways to help them. We focus on what we CAN do and we stop listening to the voice that says “What you’re doing is stupid. It won’t make a difference. It’s never going to change anything.”
We look for people like us.
So, if you’re still reading. Here’s what Seth has to say about Bravery, Nonbelievers and Love. Thanks for reading. Thanks for being here.
SPECIFIC IS A KIND OF BRAVERY
Specific means accountable.
It worked or it didn’t.
It matched or it didn’t.
It spread or it didn’t.
Are you hiding behind everyone or anyone?
You’ll never be able to serve everyone, which is comforting, since you’re less likely to be disappointed when it doesn’t happen.
But what if you committed to the smallest viable audience?
What if you were specific about who you were seeking to serve and precisely what change you were trying to make?
Organize your project, your life, and your organization around the minimum. What’s the smallest market you can survive on?
Once you’ve identified the scale, then find a corner of the market that can’t wait for your attention. Go to their extremes. Find a position on the map where you and you alone are the perfect answer. Overwhelm this group’s wants and needs and desires with your care, your attention and your focus. Make change happen. Chang that’s so profound, people can’t help but talk about it.
Lean entrepreneurship is built around the idea of the minimal viable product. Figure out the simplest useful version of your product, engage the market and then improve and repeat.
What people miss about this idea is the word viable. No fair shipping junk. It doesn’t help to release something that doesn’t work yet.
When we combine these ideas, we can think small land think quickly. Our agile approach to the market combined with a relentless focus on those we seek to serve means we’re more likely to be of service.
Entrepreneur and Silicon Valley pioneer Steve Blank introduced a focus on the customer as the only project of a startup. Customer development is the act of gaining traction with customers, finding a fit between what you make and what they want. This traction is worth far more than fancy technology or expensive marketing. That, and only that, separates successful projects from unsuccessful ones. Are there people in the world who want you to succeed so badly that their willing to pay you to produce the change you seek to make?
Everything gets easier when you walk away from the hubris of everyone. Your work is not for everyone. It’s only for those who signed up for the journey.
SHUN THE NONBELIEVERS!
There’s a filter bubble. It’s easy to surround ourselves with nothing but news we agree with. We can spend our days believing that everyone shares our worldview, believes what we believe, and wants what we want.
Until we start marketing to the masses.
When we seek to serve the largest possible audience, that audience will turn us down. The chorus of “no” will become deafening. And the feedback may be direct, personal, and specific.
In the face of so much rejection, it’s easy to sand off the edges and fit in. Fit in all the way. Fit in more than anyone else.
It’s not for them.
It’s for the smallest viable audience, the folks you originally set out to serve.
WHERE DOES LOVE LIE?
Pioneering technology journalist Clay Shirky understood how community-driven software changes everything: “We have lived in this world where little things are done for love and big things are done for money. Now we have Wikipedia. Suddenly big things can be done for love.”
But it doesn’t end with software.
The goal of the smallest viable audience is to find people who will understand you and will fall in love with where you hope to take them.
Loving you is a way of expressing themselves. Becoming part of your movement is an expression of who they are.
That love leads to traction, to engagement, and to evangelism. That love becomes part of their identity, a chance to do something that feels right. To express themselves through their contributions, their actions and the badge they wear.
You can’t hope that everyone will feel this way, but you can do the work for people who do.
It’s Your Turn!
Does anything here resonate with you? Share this post, comment, or just send me a message and let me know you read it. We’re going to need to continue this conversation – and it would be helpful if I knew you were listening!