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41. Stop Trying to Please Everyone

41. Stop Trying to Please Everyone

“Great stories are rarely aimed at everyone. Average people are good at ignoring you. Average people have too many different points of view about life and average people are by and large satisfied. If you need to water down your story to appeal to everyone, it will appeal to no one. The most effective stories match the world view of a tiny audience—and then that tiny audience spreads the story.” -Seth Godin

Seth would know, he is the author of Purple Cow, The Dip and Tribes among other great books, and when it comes to using stories as a marketing vehicle he is the person to talk to (or listen to in the case of this video).

You will never create a story that everyone falls in love with because, as Malcolm Gladwell so eloquently put in this 2004 talk for TED, “there is no such thing as a perfect spaghetti sauce.” Everyone has different tastes, and the best thing we can do as storytellers is to recognize that fact and craft stories that our audience loves, instead of trying so hard to build something that every audience loves.

The Pixar’s of the world know this. Each and every one of their movies has been a blockbuster success because they understand what they’re good at and they don’t try to pander to people who will never appreciate it. They have consciously chosen to let go of universal appeal in exchange for making their true fans extraordinarily happy.

Stop trying to please everyone. Tell the story that you want to tell. Do what you love and do it to the absolute limits of your ability and you’ll find that you’ll start to attract people who actually care about your work.

I haven’t asked a question in a while. Tell me, what stories (movies/books/advertisements) do you think were ruined because their creators tried to hard to garner mainstream appeal? Leave your answer in the comments.

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