Every failed creator missed the same lesson. Some version of “Nobody wants to read your shit.”
If your work gets kind words from friends, and that’s it… you fucked up somewhere. In fact, probably the whole thing was a mess. The real tell that you have something is what people do with your product once they have it.
Do they dance? Do they share it without you asking them to? If they ask when it will be for sale, you’re on the right track. By the way, you get to hear this exactly one time before you go figure out how to use Shopify, Etsy, iTunes, whatever.
Once you know you have something — or better yet, before — your game changes to attention. That is currency.
I mentioned the president of UFC in the title. I did that for a reason. You might learn something useful if you pay attention now. This will be useful for an entrepreneur of any kind.
When you want to influence behavior, memory is a key variable. Ad campaigns have to hit you with the same ad dozens of times because they know you aren’t going to remember it the first time. And you don’t remember it because you don’t give it your attention. Without your body engaged (your brain is part of your body), the memory is weak. But if you can make someone have a physical reaction like giving the finger, or draw their attention “by choice”, the memory has a better chance to stick.
People’s attention is instinctively drawn towards a fight of any kind. I bet famous people are much, much more likely to recognize this than the average person. Famous writers run hit pieces on each other in newspapers since the early days. Political rivals boost each others’ brands by going toe to toe. Coke and Pepsi.
UFC actually makes a great example. I intentionally avoid watching it because I know I will be sucked in very, very fast. As a man, I am probably extra vulnerable to the fight-magnetism. But a fight is a lightning rod for attention. You can’t look away.
UFC knows this. I am sure that some of the tabloid feuds between UFC competitors are real, but some are complete bogus. The stories are total factory jobs. And even if the company itself believed the fighters were in a feud, the story wouldn’t be credible. The fighters could easily discuss it beforehand, in private, and pick a fight in public.
Most people realize that the UFC creates feuds to attract attention to their brand. But the same tactics are happening everywhere you look in media. You just can’t tell because it’s so prevalent.
In the Twitter sphere, I watch people run this game all day long. The political guys do it best because disagreement is in their nature. A writer tweets something offensive and people jump to add their commentary with a retweet. It’s the equivalent of running an advertising campaign on your opponent’s behalf. The only thing they forget to do is ask “How high?”
You are probably expecting me to pivot to talking about Donald Trump now. Instead I’m going to pull a fast one on you and show you another way you can influence someone’s attention. I just used his name because he is a powerful source of controversy. You’ll see how this is important in a moment.
Everyone who saw the title but skipped reading the post now believes I am a moron for misspelling the president’s name (probably some of the people who read it do too). This is intentional. A mistake of any kind requires extra effort for your brain to process the information and continue. I bet you’ll even notice the next time your mind has to pause to process a large but manageable error. Now you’re in on the joke.
As a bonus, I know that a large portion of my Facebook friends are predisposed to dislike that guy I said I wouldn’t talk about. They all raised a subconscious middle finger as they scrolled by.
For creators of any kind, “fuck you” is better than silence any day of the week. A personal attack means your work hit them and they didn’t like it. You caused a reaction and took up residence in their memory. But silence is a complete miss. Nothing. You wasted your time.
Now go back and look at the link that brought you here. 🙂