I stumbled upon the blog post of a company that just raised a seed round. In it, its founder claimed:
Almost two years ago I left tech startupland to build a manufacturing company.
I’d been dwelling on a single problem that had bothered me for years — despite buying almost everything online, there wasn’t a single, go-to place to consistently buy reasonably-priced basic shirts that fit well.
Lies. All lies.
Startup culture has taught people how to package their business raison d’être in a personal problem / solution framework. But in the same way there are few truly new ideas, the are few truly new problems. Not having a “single, go-to place to consistently buy reasonably-priced basic shirts that fit well” certainly is not a problem, and hasn’t been for years. Uniqlo.com. JCrew.com. Gap.com. Everlane.com. FrankAndOak.com. I’d list more, but you get the point.
But, still, everyone looks for the buzzwords of the moment (or buzzphrasing in this instance). Say the right thing, and you are the right thing. Even when the “right thing” is wrong or a flat out lie.
And the truth is, lie or not, spewing buzzterms, in some respects, is the “right” thing to do.
Its the human nature of our times to filter out the billions of bits of data that fly in front of us everyday, and train our eyes and ears to spot and grab onto one of a hand full of trueisms we auto-accept as relevant to us, whether there is any truth in the trueism or not. And while there are deep, deep problems with the way we laser focus on these soundbites to the point of taking the vast majority of them as truths when the vast majority probably need further scrutinization — like not having a place to buy shirts, or voting for anyone or anything that’s targeted towards “main street” — it would behoove one to realize that this is the default function of the brain of an average person in this day and age, and catering to that default mindset, while potentially a dubious move for your own moral self-conscious, is probably a savvy move if you want to get people to move in the direction of whatever your desired outcome may be; be it in a design, a pitch, or simply picking up a hottie at the bar.
I feel low for admitting this. But, alas, while human nature is often disappointing, it is wise to learn its ways. You cannot change what you do not know.