Facebook is an average service built for average people. Microsoft makes products for mass consumption. Apple tries to get consumers to conform to their visions rather than the other way around. Milk company promoters have somehow made us believe that milk is necessary our entire lives.Each of these groups sell their wares to masses of normal people (or provide information for other companies to do the same). Their strength, and their profits, rely on making a lot of things for a lot of people for less money per item than it takes to make a few things for a few people.
This tactic worked for years. Lack of choice, limited marketing mediums and fear of change (few TV channels, no easily found and trusted ‘weird’ internet sites and the desire to be like our friends and colleagues) kept normal people in line. We bought groceries from Wal-Mart, electronics from Best Buy and everything else from Amazon.
Don’t think normal people are somehow bad. They’re not. They choose to be that way and often live extremely happy lives. But what about those who choose different? What about people who choose to be weird?
Seth Godin’s We Are All Weird delves into this new world of weird. He states that the mass markets aren’t going to get any more massive and the years of changing consumer behavior to fit the mean are over.
“The factory came first. It led to the mass market. Not the other way around.” -page 9, We Are All WeirdFactories all over the world are dying, even if they don’t know it yet. There’s just too much choice–too many weird people–out there to continually treat everyone the same. For someone who wears minimalist shoes, eschews (tries to, anyway) wheat and sugar and recently discovered the joy of personally tailored clothes, this is a godsend.
But weird comes with its own problems. Weird products and services, because they can’t always be made or offered efficiently on scale, cost more. And because the market of the weird isn’t quite as efficient or consistent as the typical mass market, anything produced will be in short supply. Limited edition, formerly a marketing buzzword to get us to BUY IT NOW, will soon become the default.
There are 7400 hardcover copies left of Seth Godin’s We Are All Weird and he has no plans to print any more, ever. Buy it and see how being ourselves, how being individuals, how being weird is how it almost always was and how it always will be.
Seth is offering a webinar on October 3 for anyone who buys six or more books.
(Disclaimer- I received a copy for free as part of my work with the Domino Project Street Team, but also bought a copy for my dad.)