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The Myth of Awesome and How It’s Keeping You Broke

Look, I get it. Our culture is jaded. Information overload is making us less sensitive to everything. And it’s pushing you right out of business.

 

Nowadays, viral videos have a shelf life of approximately 0.57 seconds. Even truly awesome stuff barely registers for more than a few days.

 

Remember this guy?

 

 

 

Seems… so long ago doesn’t it? Wake me up when someone gets shot from a cannon from the moon. Until then… *yawn*.

 

Everything presented to us now has to be sold as “awesome” or “mind-blowing” if it even has a chance of catching our collective attention. Most of these offers make me feel like they’re… well, let McKayla tell you.

 

McKayla Not Impressed

 

Upon close examination, once you get past the BS and the hype, not much out there is truly world-class. The brilliant marketing effort is the star.

 

Don’t believe the hype. Your product doesn’t have to be awesome for you to succeed. Shocking to hear, I know. Allow me to explain.

 

Wait… Am I Encouraging Mediocrity?

 

Not at all.

 

Here’s the problem. Most stuff out there is not “awesome”. Not. Even. Close.

 

It may be good, even great. But it’s sold and packaged to us that way to increase it’s perceived value. The oldest marketing trick in the book.

 

Once we’ve made the decision to buy, our brain will justify the purchase, often using the same words that marketers implanted in our brains when we first came across the product’s description. For a great primer on this concept, read “Influence” by Robert Cialdini (aff). Buy it or borrow it from your local library if you have to.

 

It’s this “myth of awesome” that has kept many (including me at one point) from ever launching a product or service because it’s not “awesome” enough. We tinker endlessly with it, often giving up before we’ve had a chance to launch it.

 

A successful product has to do one thing: solve a customer’s “perceived” need.

 

How awesome or cool it is has nothing to do with it. If it fails to solve a problem or address a need (even if it’s the need to be entertained), it will flop.

 

Aim to be of value to your target group of customers.

 

The “Perfect Product” Is Also a Myth

 

There’s no such thing as a universally beloved product, so don’t waste your time creating one.

 

“Well, what about a perfect product for your customers then?”

 

Unless you have a crystal ball or mind-reading powers, you’ll never know what *exactly* is it that your future customers will want. That’s why we do surveys and engage people to have a general idea of what is it that they’re looking for. Much easier to find an audience for your product first than to create a product in hopes of finding an audience.

 

Before you spend weeks, or even months (Lord knows I’ve done this) creating something that *nobody* wants, how about you take a different approach this time?

 

Create Your Minimum Viable Product

 

What’s a “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP)? It’s your first product or service that can be launched to determine whether you have a market or not for what you plan to offer.

 

Here’s a much easier way to find out what your customer wants:

 

Create an outline of your product or service. Sketch out the features and ask people to sign up to be updated about the launch date if they’re interested in your offer.

 

That simple.

 

If you get a good number of people interested in your offer, you’ll know if it’s worth your time and investment to even attempt to create in the first place.

 

If you’re bold enough and have a strong outline, you can go so far as to even pre-sell your product to be delivered upon competition. At worst, be ready to eat refund costs if not enough people sign up to make it worth your time. At best, you’ll have the funds needed to create and launch if your pre-selling goes well.

 

Your MVP won’t be perfect. And it doesn’t have to be.

 

Just get it out there and improve it based on the feedback you get from paying customers. All successful companies do this well.  Once Product 1.0 is launched, it’s successively revised and incrementally improved, tailored to what the customers want.

 

For an expanded view of this concept, read “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries (aff), an excellent book on this subject.

 

Just Get It Done

 

What are you tinkering with right now? Are you waiting for the “perfect time” to launch it?

 

Don’t wait for it to be perfect. You can improve later.  Get it out there.

 

Your future customers are waiting.

About Rich Polanco

Fan of dogs + all things tech. Love a great pizza. My goal is not to travel to every country in the world. I only want to get to know my favorite ones REALLY well. Check out the big bio here. Follow @RichPolanco and connect on Facebook.
Currently exploring: Guatemala.

Comments

  1. Just yesterday, I was listening to a satirical radio show where they present the movies that are going to be released during the week. After one of the movie’s description, the presenter said “Don’t you even think about seeing it.” Of course, they are making fun of the many bad Hollywood movies that people go to see because of the marketing behind then. It is crazy to think about all the money spent on products and services because of the marketing engine behind them (not its quality).

    I agree with you. If you honestly develop a project aimed to fullfil a need, then you should have the courage to release it (set a date if necessary). With time, you are going to know better your audience and have the opportunity to develop a different product. If you are waiting for the perfect product and the perfect time, you may never release anything.

    • Rich Polanco says:

      Hi Ruth!

      Love your insight. I’ll be talking more about Minimum Viable Products in the coming weeks. Like jumping into a chilly pool, one has to “just do it” and get the experience of putting something out there for the first time. Everything is a learning experience and will get easier with practice.

      -Rich

  2. I read one of your posts this morning and just kept going :-) You’re spot on again with the MVP – I had the idea for a fresh approach to discovering restaurants worldwide and flip the current model around by focusing on just 100 in 100 cities and not worrying about the rest. I mapped out the idea on paper, saw the beginning, middle, and end in my head, and went out and built it. Its now live, beautiful, working, and generates revenue and value for both the owners and the customers. We launched a minimally viable product online and now that it’s up and running are adding new features (like video and a series of local experts in each city we cover). We can run the business from anywhere on Earth too. You might dig it. It’s clean, focused, fun, and there is a great design element to the whole thing that makes it nice to look at and play with : http://www.onehundredtables.com – all the best – Tony Akston

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