How do you make someone else passionate about something you love…when they really just don’t care?
This was the fundamental question asked by Robert Scoble over at Scobleizer this week in his post entitled The Passionates vs. The Non-Passionates. I added a longish comment there, but the question has been incubating in my head for most of the week.
Scoble was talking largely about the tech-world, where there are usually a small number of early adopters who are passionate about both using and evangelizing a new “something.” And, he said, certain businesses can survive with a small, but devoted group of users.
But, what if your concept requires a much larger number of people to thrive?
How do you get a non early-adopter to become so passionate about something that they not only become a user, but an agent of buzz? The answer is actually pretty straight forward, but the burden can sometimes be large.
Make it insanely relevant and deeply desired.
Here’s part of my comment from Scoble’s blog:
Early adopters tend to be mavens, people who are passionate about acquiring and sharing knowledge. That zest for learning drives them to seek out and explore the application of all sorts of products, services and technologies. Their passion isn’t just about the content area (tech), it’s about the entire process of ferreting, learning and sharing.
So, how do you get those without a similar bent to want to know what you know and use what you use?
Step into their shoes and ask the “what’s in it for me?” question.
Brainstorm ways to show them how it solves a problem, eases a pain and does it bigger, better and faster than anything they currently use.
You can’t get people passionate about something by explaining why it’s so cool to “you.” You’ve got to explain why it’s so cool to “them.” Then, make the process of learning about and adopting your product, service or technology so dummy-proof, there’s literally no justification NOT to adopt it.
The big question is, can you make it insanely relevant and desired by a large number of people?
Can you grow the movement past that initial wave of maven-evangelist early-adopters?
Sometime the answer is no. If an application, solution or concept is truly very narrowly designed to solve a problem for a very small, but desperate slice of humanity, you may be stuck with a smaller market. And, that may be fine.
But, don’t automatically assume this to be true.
Very often that “seemingly” niche solution can be reapplied or tweaked to be used in a totally different way to solve an equally pervasive problem that a much bigger, yet different, market shares. But, to make this fly takes work.
When you’re trying to figure out how to get people with very different desires and interests jonesing about something you love…
Ask the “what’s in it for me?” question.
You’ve got to take people as they come. If they’re not interested in something, rather than trying to futily “show them the error of their ways,” take a trip into their brains, their interests, their desires, their pains. Then, see if there’s some way to explain the solution or reapply it in a way that resonates not with what makes you jazzed about it, but what makes them want it bad.
That might mean a lot of brainstorming and a willingness to take on a fairly big educational burden.
These are all things to be weighed in deciding how much effort you want to put into expanding your reach and planting an ever-morphing viral passion seed for what you do.
You will very likely not only have to teach this new group of people how to use your solution, but also show them how it solves a really important, though not readily apparent, need for them. You’ll have to show them why it’s a absolute must-have…for them.
FYI – this isn’t just about business, it’s also about personal relationships.
Let’s say there’s something you absolutely love, but your significant other couldn’t care less about it. You try to beat them over the head to make the understand just how insanely cool it is, but, despite your effort, they just don’t get it. They just don’t care.
There’s a good chance they never will. BUT, before you give up, ask yourself whether you’ve been explaining it and offering it in a way that makes it as relevant as possible to your friend’s interests and desires. Often, we never take that final step.
So, what do you guys think?
Can you grow a passion seed way beyond it’s original ring of users and evangelists?
How much of a barrier is education? How much is this about not seeing why it’s important?
Is it really worth the effort? What am I missing?
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