How do you make people realize what they want ?

“What have you got?”

The wrong answer to this question is often, “what do you need?”

Invariably when someone asks what you have to offer, when they ask for a menu or a price list or some indication of what they can choose from, it’s tempting to ask what they want, because maybe, just maybe, you’ll figure out how to make that for them.

There’s always a shortcut available, a way to be a little more cynical, cheaper, more instantly understandable. There’s the chance to play into our desire to be entertained and distracted, regardless of the cost. Most of all, there’s the temptation to encourage people to be selfish, afraid and angry.

When you act like a short-order cook at a dhaba or roadside cart people rarely ask you for something interesting. Instead of trying to figure out what will get us picked, we might figure out if there’s a way we can sell people on dreaming about what we have instead. Have you ever been to a Udipi ? Take the risk of asking the waiter what is available. I promise you that you will be flabbergasted at the array of items he rattles off at pin point precision. And I also bet you end up ordering a conventional dish you have eaten before.

So I imagine that to give the people what they want, is nearly as powerful as teaching people what they need.Maybe you can dig in, take your time and invest in a process that helps people see what they truly need. When we change our culture in this direction, we’re doing work worth sharing. 

But it’s slow going. If it were easy, it would have happened already.

It’s easy to start a wave and get people crazy.Difficult to create a story that keeps people from crazy.

Don’t say, “I wish people wanted this.” Sure, it’s great if the market already wants what you make… Instead, imagine what would happen if you could teach them why they should want it, buy it, repeatedly!


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