I am reading Rory Sutherland’s excellent and entertaining book “Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don’t Make Sense”. Rory is one of the key people behind advertising juggernaut Ogilvy. In his book, Rory explores a set of principles he curated throughout his career. One of these principles is “Test counterintuitive things only because no one else will.”.
Oh – I couldn’t agree more!
Time and time I have seen entrepreneurs create empires based on their contrarian worldview. Of course you know AirBnB, where everyone told them that nobody would ever stay in a stranger’s house. The same is true for Uber – who would willingly enter the car of a stranger? Or back in the day when we built eBay. Who would ever send money to a stranger to buy something they haven’t seen before buying?
The world is full of highly successful businesses built on doing what is counterintuitive.
At be radical, we do tons of things which most consider counterintuitive. We decided to not grow. We only work with clients where we have a strong conviction that we can make a difference. We help folks work with our “competitors” if we can’t/don’t work with them. We refuse to take money for referrals. We always do what is right for our client – even if it hurts us. We oftentimes tell a prospect that they don’t need us – nor anyone else. We give away most of what we do for free (have you joined our network yet?).
Non of this makes a lot of intuitive sense. And yet – it works beautifully.
The result? We are doing super well. We have amazing clients. We are having fun.
What is it in your market/industry/business/world that you could turn on its head? Doing what is counterintuitive doesn’t always work – but it surely can be much more fun and is a far less crowded space.