Wanting vs. Tolerating

If you’ve ever paid $10 for a bad drink at an overcrowded bar, you know there’s a difference between making something people want and making something people will buy. You’ll cough up the money because you’re already there, and so are your friends, but if there was a better or cheaper drink available, you’d choose either over what you’re currently stuck with.

If 90% of your customers are sourced from paid acquisition, you don’t have a business. You have a marketing machine. Would anyone buy your product if you didn’t bribe them? Will they return after you’ve done so? Turn off the money faucet on the front end, and you’ll quickly find out.

It’s easy to make something people will tolerate. Something agreeable, or at least not objectionable enough to cancel the subscription. “Look, dear investors! For every $1 you throw in, you’ll get $1.10 at the end. What an ingenious machine!”

Choosing to create value is ten times harder, but also ten times as magical when it works. Multiplying dollars is only fun for so long when, at the end of the day, you’re still playing a zero-sum game.

Don’t waste everyone’s time — including yours — just because everyone will tolerate having their time wasted up to a certain point. Give us what we really want. Chances are, it’s the very thing you want too, and that way, there’ll be far more winners than just your bank account.