Tag Archives: Business

Run your business like a nerd

Be the life of the corner of the room of the party. ✎ By Wayne K. Spear

Photo courtesy of Nathan Rupert, Flickr

A business can attempt one of two things: to be all things to all people, or to find and serve a market niche.

The former requires scale. Big box stores, huge inventories, supply-chain management, constant growth and expansion, a franchise strategy.

To be all things to all people is necessarily to be aggressive. You must dominate multiple markets to survive, because your competition is legion.

Walmart is an example of this model. The stakes of an all-things-to-all-people strategy are extremely high, but so too are the potential rewards.

A niche strategy targets a small but focused market. The enthusiasm and loyalty of the customer, rather than a directive of constant growth and fierce competition, drives the business.

A niche business issues from an unusual or marginal interest. The box stores do not serve niches. The mantra of a mass-market business model is: Unless everyone wants it, we will not get it.

Often the niche business is started by a hobbyist, eccentric, specialist, or collector. He is driven by passion, and by a desire to serve and connect with the like-minded. Here, the mantra is: If you don’t fit in, don’t compete.

An all-things-to-all-people business strategy is capital intensive. It requires a marketing and advertising strategy, aggressive growth, and ruthless competition.

A niche strategy is passion intensive. It requires knowledge of the niche, and authenticity. You must love the niche, and you must care about the people who occupy it. You are not simply running a business, you are creating a community.

The big box store is the life of the party. She goes about the room, chatting up everyone in it. By the end of the night, she’s made a dozen new friends.

The niche business, meanwhile, spends the evening in the corner of the room, discussing Etruscan manuscripts.

In the niche, we form fewer bonds—but they are instant and powerful.

Your niche customers will find you. After all, it’s hard not to notice the one other person in the corner of the room

Let your passion, oddball and off-the-beaten-path as it is, guide you.

Find your people, and serve them.

Right Questions, Right Order

Building a business one question at a time. ✎ By Wayne K. Spear

Flow Chart

Mining for your data gold

To give is to receive. ✎ By Wayne K. Spear

CC image “Data storage—old and new” courtesy of Ian on Flickr

Do, Dare.

To the English-speaking reader, it looks like an inspirational slogan.

In Latin, it is a verb. Do, Dare, Dedi, Datus: I give, to give, I have given, I am given.

Data are things given.

We live in a world of data. As you navigate the Internet, you give. You are given.

Do, Dare, Dedi, Datus.

You give yourself away. Your Google searches, your browsing history, your conversations with friends.

User-generated content, marketing, and advertising are converging. You are the copy writer and the content marketing department and the customer.

The ads that you see on Facebook are echoes of your posts. This is called re-marketing.

Too much is given, and yet not enough. Your age, gender, location, and income. Your web history. Your click-throughs and conversions and bounces. Your likes and favorites.

Adaptive marketing seeks to tailor the browsing experience to the individual user. The problem is not lack of data, it is abundance.

The future belongs to the experts—to those who can interpret data. You are the expert on you.

That’s why you must become the snitch and the mole and the collaborator. We are all collaborators in this work of giving ourselves, and others, away.

Collaborative filtering is used by Amazon to recommend books. If you and I both enjoyed reading Y, the fact that I enjoyed reading X suggests you, too, will enjoy reading X.

Once upon a time, your personal details were gold. They were secrets surreptitiously mined. You had to be taken, without your awareness.

Then you learned to give. You became data. There was no more guessing at your inner life, drawing upon hit-and-miss clues like your age and zip code. You knew where your gold was, and you gave it away.

The future is convergence and integration and collaboration. You are the creator of the advertising script woven into your friends feed, the conductor of a private focus group, the expert. You are the giver of all that is gold.