Predicting Success

The talent for knowing when some venture is going to be a success or a failure is a valuable thing to have. Most of us don’t have it so either end up failing a lot (in order to get that one out of ten success) or don’t risk trying things. While we work on Performancing Partners this is something quite prominent in my mind when my brain isn’t occupied by lines of PHP code.

Yesterday Dilbert creator Scott Adams posted another wise article to his blog about “knowing when to quit”. His story about his failed TV show attempt really rings true. Why did it fail? Because everybody “liked” it.

The reason that a product “everyone likes” will fail is because no one “loves” it. The only thing that predicts success is passion, even if only 10% of the consumers have it. For example, I’m willing to bet that when the TV show Baywatch was tested, 90% of the people rolled their eyes and gave it a thumbs down. But I’ll bet 10% of the test audience had tents in their pants. Bingo.

That is so true. Have you noticed some of the products that go on to be massive have that “love it or hate it” thing going on? Now think about your blog, do people love it or just like it? How can you turn the passionometer up to 11? Well, that is the real trick isn’t it? Heh.

So with this in mind, our job with Partners is to create something people will not just like or accept but truly love with a passion. A tall order but for it to be successful, has to be done …

10 thoughts on “Predicting Success

  1. Good comment, I’ve been looking for something like partner’s networks. I’ll be interested in it. Maybe all this talk about Partners networks is really just hype, before launch. Pretty slick.

  2. The same was true with the Dodge Full sized pickup trucks when they first came out with their unique look.

    If I recall correctly (purely from memory), when they tested it 70% of the people tested did NOT like the truck at all.

    However 30% of the people tested absolutely frickin loved it.

    Dodge knew they had found their niche and then proceeded to take a serious bite out of the full-sized truck market and made Dodge trucks tough again in the minds of consumers – after years of being really lame.

  3. …a good number of people to love your product – that’ll be your early adopters right there. However you need plenty of other people who like it too, or are at least curious enough to buy it. Products that ‘click’ aren’t neccessarily the best (I still prefer my Creative Zen to my iPod) but they are the ones that everyone is talking about.

  4. For a while, just before the cartoon came out. I understand he outsourced a lot of the strip after that, and it really suffered. The cartoon was just never funny to me.

    Thanks for the writing tips! I also have a tendency to not take too strong a side unless I really do feel strongly about it and I know my blog suffers for it. I’ve gone back through some entries and deleted all the “likes,” “maybes,” and “possiblys” and ended up with stronger pieces.

  5. I quite liked the Dilbert cartoon but I guess like the rest of the people who liked it I wasn’t sufficiently into it to make it succeed. For example I didn’t (and wouldn’t) pay to see it ..

    The biggest tip for converting a “like” blog into a “love” blog is to communicate your own passion. If you are passionate and can transfer some of that to your audience then it can be very effective.

    Another difference you can make is to really address actual needs. Many blogs just skim off a slice of todays news with a couple of throwaway scentances. Others work hard to create something of substance and value that laser targets exactly what people were looking for. You know when you have managed it, people tell you that you struck a cord or wrote *just* what they had been looking for etc.

    Lastly don’t sit on the fence, don’t hedge your bets or mince your words. Come out and say what you think and stand by it. Kinda, maybe, ish, wishy washy is all polite and you won’t offend anyone but neither is it a position to get behind.

    Look at the top politicians, they polarise their audiences with clear “for” and “against” messages. The more intellectual who see shades of grey often struggle in comparison and have to try extra hard to overcome the sea of soundbites.

    Personally I am an “over thinker”, I tend to empathise too much to be very good at being 100% on one side of many arguments. You have to be strong willed for it to work.

  6. Scott Adams is completely delusional. No one “liked” that show. That show was a failure because it was awful. If anything funny ever happened in it, I — and the rest of the viewing audience — missed it.

    But I agree with Katiebird that unless you are dealing in controversial topics or do something really off-the-wall, a lot of readers are non-plussed and it’s a big hurdle. Not insurmountable, but tough. It’s hard to give the readers what they want, especially when they aren’t even clear on what that is.

  7. I hear so many nice things about my blog.

    But I KNOW that it’s an “I like it” sort of thing. Not an “OH MY GOD, YOUR BLOG is FANTASTIC” sort of thing.

    I get a steady stream of new visitors who say nice things and never return. Or forget to come back for a month or so between visits.

    As a result my numbers are gradually falling instead of steadily rising.

    This week I started trying to be a little more focused in my posts. And I’ve got some ideas….

    But, I hope you’ve got some advice for those of us who are struggling with the LIKE factor. To be so close, but still failing — I don’t want to fade away.

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