Alienating the 2%

Riot!

Yesterday, Seth Godin blogged about the concept of ‘alienating the two percent’, which stated that, “if you have fans or followers or customers, no matter what you do, you’ll annoy or disappoint two percent of them. And you’ll probably hear a lot more from the unhappy 2% than from the delighted 98%.” That seems pretty self-explanatory; people who are unhappy about something tend be more vocal in their opinion than those who are satisfied. Think about it this way, when you get exactly what you wanted from a store do you typically go up to the cashier/manager and tell him or her how excellent of a job the store is doing, no. However, if you are mistreated or the store doesn’t have a certain product in stock, you will most likely complain (the customer is always right philosophy). Here’s one of Seth’s examples:

“Every time Apple delights 10,000 people, they hear from 200 angry customers, people who don’t like the change or the opportunity or the risk it represents.”

If, in this case, apple decided to cease their constant stream of innovation to please the angry 2% of their customers they would ultimately piss off the 98% (vast majority) of their customers who were pleased with apple’s progress and steady stream of innovation. As Seth argues, in this case, the smartest decision would be to continue pleasing the vast majority. No matter what you do in this world, someone will always have a problem with something you do, even if its as minuscule as a font change on your business card. You will not be able to please everyone and therefore, you shouldn’t even try.

**What does the image have to do with anything, you ask? When fans get angry they riot.**

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