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Are you a ship’s captain or a cab driver?

Updated: Jul 2, 2019

Ask people who buy microbrands what they like about them, you’ll more than likely have a number of people say they like that the brand owner is accessible, and is more likely to listen to their customers, which in turn leads to giving customers more of what they want.


On the surface, that seems true, and a good thing. In some ways, on some level, and to some degree, it is. But, if we take that idea of giving people what they want to its logical conclusion, is there a viable business there?


What most of us want is an extreme value – in the most ideal scenario, it’s a custom-tailored product, of the highest quality, perfectly durable and reliable, best-in-class performance, deliverable on demand, and available to buy at the seller’s cost.


Clearly, that’s not a model for a viable business.There’s a value in listening to what customers say, but only up to a point.


As a brand owner, it’s your job to chart your own course, to lead, not be led, or let others tell you where to go. Which hat are you going to wear? That of a ship’s captain, or that of a cab driver?

I’ll quote James Walpole here, because I found his short essay on dealing with online feedback particularly insightful...



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