Otto Rohwedder invented sliced bread, and it was a complete failure until Wonder figured out how to capture people’s attention and spread the word about sliced bread. That’s the opening gambit in this classic TED talk by marketing guru Seth Godin, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
In a world with too many choices, with technology increasingly encroaching on every aspect of our lives, and time at an all-time low, this TED talk is still relevant today — maybe even more relevant today than in 2007.
“You have to find a group that really, desperately cares about what it is you have to say. Talk to them and make it easy for them to tell their friends. There’s a hot sauce otaku, but there’s no mustard otaku. That’s why there’s lots and lots of kinds of hot sauces, and not so many kinds of mustard. Not because it’s hard to make interesting mustard — you could make interesting mustard — but people don’t, because no one’s obsessed with it, and thus no one tells their friends.” – Seth Godin
Key Takeaways For Product Managers
While this is a marketing-oriented discussion, four ideas pertinent to Product Managers jumped out to me:
Find a large group of people that is invested in your message.
Create something remarkable.
Make it easy for your audience to share your creation with their own networks.
Avoid the temptation to play it safe — because no one will notice you unless you stand out.
At the end of the video, Godin highlights the town of Soap Lake, Washington, for proposing something remarkable to generate tourist revenue: Create the world’s largest lava lamp and plant it in the center of town.