Different People are Thought to Be Mad

Katie and I both spend too much time pondering the role we play in our respective creative niches. We give far too much credence to the opinions of fork people. All we really need to focus on is doing our best work, and figuring out how to market it to the people that will appreciate it. Everything always comes back to finding your tribe.

“Many creative people have a certain degree of dissatisfaction with the status quo, the established way. If you look at things differently, you are thought of as ‘different.’ In turn, ‘different’ people are thought to be ‘mad.'”

Jim Henson, interview with The Boston Globe, July 14, 1989

When you introduce a new way of doing something, there will be people that automatically embrace it. This is especially true if the old way represented a pain point. It was expensive, or labor intensive. It created barriers to entry, both for creators and consumers. These people are relieved to learn there’s a less complicated, more efficient, and more profitable way. Hallelujah!

You will run into opposition from people invested in the old way. They’ve got millions sunk into the old paradigm, from manufacturing to training to marketing. Changing costs money. Any time you look at a product or service and wonder what they don’t do something differently, that’s the answer. Change costs money.

Others are emotionally invested. They have an expectation that a product looks like this, or it works like that. Even if the new thing is objectively better, they’re being asked to step outside their comfort level. Some folks view it as being told they’re wrong. They take it personally. Change is seen as a personal attack against them.

Different People are Thought to Be Mad

It often comes down to a narrow, ultracapitalist definition of success. If you’re different and you’re making money, you’re a genius. If you’re not making money, you’re just weird. Beyond the surface, though, there’s a little more to it than that. You need to be making money in a way that doesn’t disrupt the status quo too much. If your way can coexist with the old way, and you’re not making people entrenched in the old way feel bad, you can have your niche.

This is why it’s so damned hard to conquer the world.

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