The past few weekends have been brilliant in proving that audiences vary all over the world. Two different events with which I had a personal experience painted a vivid picture. First, the iPad launch. I’ve read a number of tweets, blogs and even a clip on Modern Family asking why someone needs an iPad. It’s not really a computer, ebook reader or netbook. It’s just…different and it’s at $500 in it’s least expensive form. But you can read books on it! You know where else you can read books? In books. Consider Luis Soriano, who has a “biblioburro” or a “library donkey” in Magdalena, Colombia. Children in his part of Colombia will walk up to 40 minutes to get to school. He’ll ride 5 to 8 hours to get books to kids. The iPad’s price, need for electricity and web seem preposterous in those terms. Think of all the books we could buy in developing countries! Nonetheless, Apple raked in about $150 million in sales the first weekend.
Easter weekend, Bay Area Fellowship in Corpus Christi decided to turn the funnel around on their congregation. Instead of just asking for tithes, Bay Area Fellowship had their congregation donate goods such as luxury cars, furniture and HDTVs and gave it away to attendees on Easter Sunday – $2 million worth, actually. The giveaway was so large that Pastor Bil Cornelius was interviewed on CNN, Fox, MSNBC and a number of other national outlets. Critics came out denouncing the church for giving unnecessary items to people who weren’t in need. The church’s response? A saved soul is a saved soul. We give away food and medicine in developing countries to entice people to come to church and we give away gadgets and other items of interest to a developed country to entice them to come to church, the goal in both being eternal salvation.
In both of these cases, the general population could make arguments against both Apple and Bay Area Fellowship. Each, though, decided to ignore the naysayers and move forward with their mission. Apple with their plan to build a closed platform that hasn’t existed as a notable device in it’s size and capabilities (other tablets already exist but mostly nobody cares) when people need books in the far reaches of the world and Bay Area Fellowship who gave $2 million in expensive goods to move people closer to God when others could argue that should be done in developing countries with food.
Can you look at what you and your company are working on, power through the dip, and push out what really matters? It’s tough to ignore the crowd, you won’t ALWAYS succeed, but when you do, folks will notice.