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Just finished this great book. Please read it. Have a very Happy
Thanksgiving. Please consider WEIRD
Seth's latest book, We Are All Weird, came out 8 weeks ago, to very strong
reviews and gratifying feedback.
It's likely you haven't had a chance to read it yet. I hope you'll give it
a shot. (The Kindle edition runs on all computers and tablets and you can
read it for free if you're an Amazon Prime member).
Here's an excerpt from the beginning of the book:
The mass market redefines normal
The mass market—which made average products for average people—was invented
by organizations that needed to keep their factories and systems running
Stop for a second and think about the backwards nature of that sentence.
The factory came first. It led to the mass market. Not the other way
Governments went first, because it’s easier to dominate and to maintain
order if you can legislate and control conformity. Marketers, though, took
this concept and ran with it.
The typical institution (an insurance company, a record label, a bed
factory) just couldn’t afford mass customization, couldn’t afford to make a
different product for every user. The mindset was: This is the Eagles’ next
record. We need to make it a record that the masses will buy, because
otherwise it won’t be a hit and the masses will buy something else.
This assumption seems obvious—so obvious that you probably never realized
that it is built into everything we do. The mass market is efficient and
profitable, and we live in it. It determines not just what we buy, but what
we want, how we measure others, how we vote, how we have kids, and how we
go to war. It’s all built on this idea that everyone is the same, at least
when it comes to marketing (and marketing is everywhere, isn’t it?).
Marketers concluded that the more the market conformed to the tight
definition of mass, the more money they would make. Why bother making
products for left-handed people if you can figure out how to get
left-handed people to buy what you’re already making? Why offer respectful
choice when you can make more money from forced compliance and social
Mass wasn’t always here. In 1918, there were two thousand car companies
active in the United States. In 1925, the most popular saddle maker in this
country probably had .0001% market share. The idea of mass was hardly even
a dream for the producer of just about any object.
At its heyday, on the other hand, Heinz could expect that more than 70
percent of the households in the U.S. had a bottle of their ketchup in the
fridge, and Microsoft knew that every single company in the Fortune 500 was
using their software, usually on every single personal computer and server
in the company.
Is it any wonder that market-leading organizations fear the weird?
The End of Mass
This is a manifesto about the mass market. About mass politics, mass
production, mass retailing, and even mass education.
The defining idea of the twentieth century, more than any other, was mass.
Mass gave us efficiency and productivity, making us (some people) rich.
Mass gave us huge nations, giving us (some people) power. Mass allowed
powerful people to influence millions, giving us (some people) control.
And now mass is dying.
We see it fighting back, clawing to control conversations and commerce and
politics. But it will fail; it must. The tide has turned, and mass as the
engine of our culture is gone forever.
That idea may make you uncomfortable. If your work revolves around finding
the masses, creating for the masses, or selling to the masses, this change
is very threatening. Some of us, though, view it as the opportunity of a
lifetime. The end of mass is not the end of the world, but it is a massive
change, and this manifesto will help you think through the opportunity it
What do you think?