Repost: Alienating the 2%


Alienating the 2%


via Seth’s Blog by Seth Godin on 11/6/10

When a popular rock group comes to town, some of their fans won’t get great tickets. Not enough room in the front row. Now they’re annoyed. 2% of them are angry enough to speak up or badmouth or write an angry letter.

When Disney changes a policy and offers a great new feature or benefit to the most dedicated fans, 2% of them won’t be able to use it… timing or transport or resources or whatever. They’re angry and they let the brand know it.

Do the math. Every time Apple delights 10,000 people, they hear from 200 angry customers, people who don’t like the change or the opportunity or the risk it represents.

If you have fans or followers or customers, no matter what you do, you’ll annoy or disappoint two percent of them. And you’ll probably hear a lot more from the unhappy 2% than from the delighted 98.

It seems as though there are only two ways to deal with this: Stop innovating, just stagnate. Or go ahead and delight the vast majority.

Sure, you can try to minimize the cost of change, and you might even get the number to 1%. But if you try to delight everyone, all the time, you’ll just make yourself crazy. Or become boring.


My comments start here 🙂


All I can say is (and I am quoting a good friend when I say this)…. hallelujah…

I am tired of talking to company executives, especially sales people, that are totally wound up on making everyone happy.

This will kill your company, especially a startup. You end up being nothing more than a glorified consulting company, you will spin in circles, chasing your tail and every last concern of every last customers and will eventually shrivel up and disappear.

No one customer, or even a small group of customers, can support a viable technology company. You need a large base of repeat customers and an ever expanding set of new customers. You don’t get there by worrying about upsetting a small group of customers, you get there by looking out one or two years and anticipating what your customers will want and delivering that. If you deliver new exciting product the vocal minority of customers will be too busy being happy to keep complaining.

Trouble is…to do this you need vision, drive, good execution and guts…something few technology companies today have in large abundance.


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