Friday, November 25, 2011

The Capitalist Manifesto

"A manifesto about the end of the mass market," Seth Godin's latest book, We Are All Weird, asks you to accept that "weird is the new normal."

Weird isn't a function of physiognomy (think Charles Stratton or Joseph Merrick). Nor is it a state of being self-styled (think Oscar Wilde or Paul Reubens).

Weird is simply a new waythe new wayto behave as a consumer:
  • To be weird is to demand a vast choice of products. Products so highly customized they appeal only to members of your tiny "tribe" of fellow weirdos. (Like Chia Obama, pictured above, which appeals to hard-core Democrats with a love of indoor gardening and The Mod Squad.) Demanding choice is, in fact, the essence of weird.
  • To be weird is to demand luxury. Only the rich can afford vast choice.  The rich can choose, for example, not merely among "31 flavors," but strawberry basil ice cream, candied bacon ice cream or goat cheese ice cream. The poor can only choose between chocolate and vanilla, if they're lucky.
The good news: everywhere you look, wealth keeps increasing (despite gaping income disparity).

Right now, Godin writes, "There are 10 million households with a net worth of over a million dollars. And there are millions (perhaps a billion people) who make enough money from their day job that they're able to pursue something they enjoy with their spare time. More and more often, the thing they enjoy is something weird."

Godin's advice? If you're marketing a product to the wealthy, it'd better be weird.
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