On people and communities

It does not matter if you are a billionaire.

It does not matter if your new enterprise is going to make you a few more billions.

It does not matter if you are moved by mixed motives.

What matters is the impact you have on people and communities. And some enterprises have this much clearer than others.

When emotions are involved

When a person comes to you with a problem, pointing at the fact that they are the reason behind the problem is not going to set them at ease or help them get past it.

When a customer comes to you with a problem, telling them that their behaviour is why the problem exist is not going to set them at ease or help them get past it.

Reality and facts are really of little help when emotions are involved.


The Flickr for videos.

A Netflix for video games.

The Airbnb for parking.

It’s a great way to describe what your product does, but do you and your team understand what that means? What are the characteristics of the original that you believe you have? What will ensure that you will still be in that same game in the future? Or is it a trick to cheat your stakeholders into believing you will get to a similar valuation?

It is a useful exercise to clarify what you mean by taking this useful shortcut. It brings your team together and creates alignment throughout the company. It gives you milestones to look forward to and a manifesto customers can buy into.

Start with:

  • What features matter to the original and to us alike.
  • What parts of both stories are common and what are not.
  • How do we ensure we continue on the same path.


It does not tell much about our product.

What about talking about that feature we have spent all that money on?

We should probably play it safe.

I don’t think it’s going to work.

It’s nice, but it lacks appeal.

Why don’t we put a nice picture with a smart description of our product capabilities?

I am sure whoever is behind this genius campaign by 3M has heard some versions of this many times, as many marketers have. Some give up, some persist.

One way or the other, keep in mind that people are not moved by rationality.