Also: how to hire employees that will work for you, not just for your money.
I came across this and sat dumbfounded. I thought back to all these things I’ve been searching for over the years and realize this is the subtle clicking of pieces, the thing that’s been on the tip of my brain and needed just a gentle nudge to get rolling: operate not on what but on why.
And it’s true (though not in the neuropsychological sense – his brain map is a little bit off) – we have these other divisions for it: classical and romantic schools of thought. That one controls the concrete and the other abstract. Logic v. intuition. What and why.
Because ‘why’ isn’t really a thing. It’s just a reason for a thing, and even then, just as often not because it’s a precursor; a filter for bad ideas, for things that have silly answers to itself: why?
It’s also the answer I’ve been searching for with regards to a specific subsection of the market I call curated brands. Best Made Company stands out, but there are endless examples. They aren’t a company that makes and sells axes. They’re a company that believes people should be well equipped for adventuring. That’s why they also sell all of these other, often unrelated things. They don’t exist to sell axes, they just happen to sell axes.
So I think this is a piece that slots into my artisan question – how can I, as a person, feasibly do these things? It’s “unheard of” (which, as I’m learning, isn’t true :: it’s far more common than we think) to be such a generalist. Every startup advice book I read repeats the mantra of focusing on the one thing you’re truly good at but I wonder – what if that one thing is curation? What if, and I ask this about myself specifically, my passion is in the act of curating and the store aspect isn’t actually the point? Best Made, by those definitions, should only sell axes. That is the core one good thing they’re good at. But I suspect that if they only sold axes they would be fulfilling the ‘what’ and not the ‘why’ which would result in a lesser business because the people who follow them aren’t interested in axes, they’re interested in adventuring.
There’s something of a paradox there, and it’s very interesting. Maybe not a paradox… a tipping point. There’s a graph with a curve that says doing the one thing you’re good at is a good thing – it’s focus – if and until you can generate more support by selling a belief or passion instead of a product.
But there is a self loop inside there: that one focused thing should also be inspired by a belief or passion instead of simply shipping for money.
My new conclusion, from the above two paragraphs, might be something like this:
All business ventures should be driven by a belief or passion and the number of types of goods sold should be inversely proportional to the amount of internal work required.
So that allows you to sell one awesome idea – let’s say… an app you’re developing internally – and really focus on it. Or curate, since while it’s work in itself, it’s still supplied by external manufacturers and therefor less internal worry. It’s a spectrum. Best Made falls in the middle: smaller selection, but they also make a lot of things in-house. Same with Apple. So the scale of the company is independent of the spectrum’s scale and location. It’s a 2D spectrum, then, really. Okay, so maybe it looks like this:
Size v. scale is an interesting subtle difference. I’m not sure I’m using them quite right here, but up is bigger (often richer) companies and down is smaller, more indie companies.
You can place people as you like: Apple v. Dell, Ferrari v. Ford, Best Made, Instagram, Facebook, Red Lobster.
In the end: sell your passion, not your product. In successful companies, that’ll be one in the same, but remember the order for marketing.