Playing With Fire 🔥

A good metaphor for creative enthusiasm is fire. Applying that fire to your product marketing is essential – but do you have any left over if you talk about it?

Talking about an idea saps my enthusiasm for it – it’s as if I can either “spend” my enthusiasm on talking or doing.

Can you relate?

Example 1 – converts fire to thing: Last year, I built a simple productized service. To my self-satisfaction, it had self-service ecommerce payments, monthly recurring subscriptions, and scheduling built-in. I did it because I felt like I had to. Because there had been a small fire inside that I had to put out. I told no one about it until it was done. I have customers using it now; it makes them and me happy.

Example 2 – converts fire to discussions: I’ve had the idea for a different productized service in my head for about 3 months but for someone reason, I haven’t put the work in to build it. Moreover, I feel my interest waning.  It’s too bad because I see demand for it swelling during the pandemic.

Reflecting back on example 2, I realize I discussed it with three people. These people were either partners with whom I’d collaborate or prospective buyers. Yet still, conversation with them dampened the fire to create.

The fire starts as a spark within you and comes from either hate or love. You’ll hear yourself say:

  • I hate these…
  • But that sucks…
  • Oh god, I love that…

Next, you’ll have an urge to bang out your ideas to a friend via email or chat. That’s how you insta-quench conversation-lust, right? Setting up a time for a live conversation takes too much time.

Alternatively, you can feed the spark with:

  • Your research and reading on it
  • Writing about it
  • Building it

Fast forward and you’re bringing a product to market. You and I are product marketers. Meaning we put products in the market then shape and reshape them until they fit. You can call your product “services” too, it doesn’t matter. ((The distinction between products and services matters, but less than we think. There are managed services entrepreneurs who do less busy-work than SaaS entrepreneurs, whether intentionally or not. The distinction is between a business model wherein (a) the owner primarily does the work and (b) the owner’s system primarily does the work ))

The point is that unlike product research, writing((Sidebar thought: your writing on your business idea gives you (a) marketing ideas and (b) marketing copy)), and building, product talk blows out the flame of your creative enthusiasm.

Counterpoint: conversation is an amazing ideation tool, especially one-on-one, but group conversation too, if it favors research.

In fact, you must discuss complex business ideas. There are too many details to work out. Too many unsolved questions that conversation brings instant answers to. (And yes, they are fascinating!)

The principle of Creative Destruction means your business-mind will spark during the post-pandemic economy. Talking about the pandemic helps; all these new problems. Your product-marketer mind will evaluate the worthfulness of every product and service you’ve been selling, and consider new alternatives.

The things you have been selling – those you should talk about profusely, yes. But careful with the new alternatives.

How do find balance between talking and doing?

My advice is never to talk about your business idea enough that you’d bore a stranger on a plane.((An Italian aviation design firm has proposed airplane seats that will combat boring passengers and coronavirus contagion at the same time))

That’s just good manners, firstly. But it also still your tongue. Minimum Viable Rant.

But maybe your audience finds your idea interesting enough to question you – be careful.

Always end the conversation about your product idea with at least one more thing you have an urge to say, one more point to clarify. And squash it – use that urge to do some work.