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What would Ballmer do? Do the opposite


Ever had a boss double or triple-down on sales clichés: “everyone is our customer”, “it’s a numbers game”, “it’s a law of averages” (think a Steve Ballmer former CEO bully at MSFT—who “resigned and went on to buy the Los Angeles “Paper” Clippers—enough said).

I digress, in entrepreneurship it’s not about sales clichés or averages—it’s about building a product/service around a niche market. That’s right, the niche! Take the villages to capture the city mindset–controlling a narrow radius so as to not waste time and money in the mass market.

Think Tesla, Google, Apple

All companies that initially created products in the niche market—eventually moving into the mainstream.

The process

Beginning in the niche and moving into the masses is what I want you to recognize—that’s the secret sauce—Wait, who’s the niche?  And where’s my sombrero?

Niche influencers are experts, aficionados and subject matter experts, a small group of people in your space that have the depth and breadth to be called specialists.

An expert will always reject mediocrity, period; and, only embrace superiority, period. Her reputation can’t be compromised. The specialist is the most difficult to impress—critics of critics—if you will. There is a name for these experts, I call them: The CULT (Customer User Lead Testers).

You want honest opinions about your restaurant, software or hair cuts you I advise a CULT member. If a CULT member (in your space) buys into the product/service you can officially quit your day job…at MSFT.

Look at the chronology of customers

Innovators are first, then Early Adopters (niche) followed by the Early Majority, Late Majority and of course Laggards; and, if you want Innovators and the Early Majority to evangelize your product—the CULT needs to buy-in first. They are the beta testers before you enter the market: “In the beginners mind there are many options, in the experts there are but a few.” (Chinese adage).

What would Ballmer do? Do the opposite.

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