False averages

Some people like really spicy food. Some people like bland food. Building a restaurant around sorta spicy food doesn’t make either group happy.

It’s tempting to look at pop music, network TV and the latest hot fashion and come to the conclusion that the recipe for success is to focus group everyone, average it up and make something that pleases the big hump in the middle, while not offending most of the outliers.

But few things are up for a majority-rule vote. Instead, the tail keeps getting longer, and choice begets more choice. As a result, people don’t need to abandon their hump to head to the non-existent middle.

Yes, there are true averages (like how high to mount a doorknob). But more often than not, trying to please everyone a little is a great way to please most people not at all.

Screenshot 2017-09-16 14.30.48

source: sethgodin.com

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