in Business, Creativity, Marketing, Motivation, Music, Philosophy, Psychology

The Specific Ocean

“I went to a general store but they wouldn’t let me buy anything specific.” – Steven Wright

I was having lunch with a fellow consultant today, we were discussing a series of products his client is launching.

We talked about what their competitors were doing and how they’d almost cornered the market. The approach they were thinking about was to try to outmaneuver the competition by offering more alternatives and trying to muscle their way to grab more market share.

During the discussion I started thinking about what I posted yesterday.


Who da..? Check out:

I realized that the problem they were having wasn’t related to the product. It was that they didn’t have a specific customer in mind. They just saw it as a formless mass of people, numbers on a piece of paper. It was what an ABSTRACTION!

I look up to this guy, he’s worked with Philips and Nintendo amongst others for several years. You don’t get to do that without great ideas. But it surprised me that he hadn’t noticed the problem himself yet.

So I basically told him: “Who are you trying to sell this to? What type of person isn’t covered by the competitors products? Go for that guy!”

Just being reminded of the basics he lit up and started talking passionately about possibilities. It felt great to hearing him talk like that!


Yoda sez: Know your audience, you must.

This was almost yesterdays post in reverse. We knew the abstract form of what they wanted to do. What we needed to do was to flesh out the specific person we wanted to aim for.

So here’s the tip for today! When trying to write a song, design a product or find a story to tell your customers find the scaffolding of who you want to target. Then start fleshing out that person. Get as specific as you can. You’ll end up with Steve, Barbara or Sir Ainsley Bigglesworth.

Then whenever you’re unsure about what to do next ask yourself: “What would Bigglesworth think?”.

Start swimming in the specific ocean!

This also helps us realize that we probably won’t be able to please everyone. What a relief! =D


If you like vanilla, you’re not going to like ‘Breaking Bad’ – you need to like a specific flavor that is unusual, that is different, that takes risks. – Bryan Cranston

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