‘We Are All Weird’ & and Rollerblading

“Human beings prefer to organize in tribes, into groups of people who share a leader or a culture or a definition of normal. And the digital revolution has enabled and amplified these tribes, leaving us with millions of silos, groups of people who respect and admire and support choices that outsiders happily consider weird, but that those of us in the tribe realize are normal (our normal). My argument is that the choice to push all of us toward a universal normal merely to help sell more junk to the masses is both inefficient and wrong. The opportunity of our time is to support the weird, to sell to the weird and, if you wish, to become weird.”

“The mass market—which made average products for average people—was invented by organizations that needed to keep their factories and systems running efficiently.    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.  This is a manifesto about the end of the mass market.”

“The way of the world is now more information, more choice, more freedom, and more interaction. And yes, more weird.”

“Weird (not normal) means that you’ve made a choice, that you’ve stood up for what you believe in and done what you want, not what the marketer wants. More and more, that’s precisely what’s happening.”

“Most people who make that choice are paradoxically looking to be accepted. Not by everyone, of course, but by their tribe, by people they admire and hope to be respected by. The weird aren’t loners. They’re not alone, either. The weird are weird because they’ve foregone the comfort and efficiency of mass and instead they’re forming smaller groups, groups where their weirdness is actually expected. The key element of being weird is this: you insist on making a choice.”

“The biggest cultural shift that the Internet has amplified is the ability to make an impact on your own culture.”

“It’s easier than it has ever been to make a video or spread an idea or live your life surrounded by like-minded people. And those like-minded people, when exposed to the poke of your creativity, poke back. New culture is created on top of the old one, and then another layer of culture goes on top of that.”

“The mass marketer keeps missing the point. He’s busy looking for giant clumps instead of organizing to service and work with smaller tribes. Probably worth slowing down and reading that sentence again, because our bias for mass is so strong and so ingrained that we often overlook it.”

“Some marketers got hooked on mass. They got addicted to the notion that they could grow and profit and make the quarterly numbers by creating average products for average people and advertising them a lot.”

“They’re addicted to mass and there’s no mass available.”

“If you persist in trying to be all things to all people, you will fail. The only alternative, then, is to be something important to a few people.   To get there you must disappoint some slightly engaged normal folks, who, to tell the truth, can probably live just fine without you.”

“If you cater to the normal, you will disappoint the weird. And as the world gets weirder, that’s a dumb strategy.”