Waiting for Godiva

In his podcast, Akimbo, Seth Godin teaches us how to adopt a posture of possibility, change the culture, and choose to make a difference. Here are my takeaways from the episode.

In this podcast, Seth discussed a startup experiment he did back in the early part of 2002-2003. The startup record label was ZoomTone, and it produced several soundtracks using the new Super Audio CD (SACD) format. The startup failed, and Seth learned an important lesson.

In many markets, the “regular kind” or the familiar genre is the kind that most people choose. For the SACD equipment purchasers, they did not purchase the equipment to listen to the new music that ZoomTone was producing. They purchased the equipment to listen to the music that they are already familiar. Listening to the familiar music, even on the brand-new technologies, requires less cognitive load and effort on people’s part.

Very often, we must work hard to find pockets of people who do not want the “regular kind.” They are the people who want the new kind, the challenging kind, or the experimental kind. Most people, even when they seek the new, do not want things that are drastically new.

As it turns out, most people are afraid, when they are asked to buy something or to commit. They are afraid of it might not work. They are afraid of what other people will say. They’re afraid of feeling stupid because they wasted their time or their money.

Eventually, the culture changes or moves from one place to another. If our job is to change the culture, we must make sure we recognize who “the people like us” are. The culture is the culture, and it does what it does. We rarely are in the position to decide how and when the culture will change.

As changemakers, what we can do right now is find those little pockets of the culture. Those little pockets have the smallest viable audience. We can embrace them, see them for who they are, and give them what they dream of being or doing. More importantly, we can work hard to can give them the emotions, the feelings, the status that they seek. At the same time, make it easy for them to tell their friends about the change we are trying to make.