Attention Sellers!

Just heard another pitch for a hamster-wheel business. “We want to let people organise their stuff” translates to “We want to sell advertising space to brands and a ‘service’ to people who want to sign up for ‘information’ about a bunch of brands while organising their stuff”. Confusion still reigns about who the real customer is and startups like this thrive on that confusion.

My advice, for what it’s worth (and it ain’t worth much) is this. If you really really need to do this awful thing, remember what you’re actually selling. You might think you’re selling the attention of 18-24 year-olds to an established brand on the basis that the brand’s sales will go up on the back of that attention. You’re really selling the illusion of that attention. You can do all the market research you like and all you’ll ever be told by those 18-24 year-olds is “Yes, we’d use that” because people will tell you what they think you want to hear. Never forget that, you’re in the illusion-selling business, don’t fall for your own smoke and mirrors.

So your sales filter needs to exclude people who are round about as intelligent as you are – you need people who are either way way more stupid than you are and will buy this empty schtick believing in the illusion and by the time they realise, you’ll be long gone. Or you need to sell to people who are much much smarter than you. So smart that they can see a way of making money out of what you’re doing now that you probably won’t understand until five years after they’ve done it.

But really? Really?

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One thought on “Attention Sellers!”

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