Learning from the primaries

So, the New York Republican Party just nominated a candidate that by every judgment is to the right of the party as a whole and far to the right of this very blue state. Odds of winning: close to zero.

And it happens all the time.

The same way a few people will write in to a magazine to complain bitterly about a new design.

It’s easy to confuse people who are passionate and loud with the majority.

The people who care a lot show up. They vote in the primary, or at the convention. They write letters to the editor and bash your products on their blogs.

If you want your idea to spread, you need these people. They are the ones with otaku, the ones who care, the ones who will take the time to spread the word.

But don’t confuse them with the majority. If you need to win an election or sell a ton of products, this group (call them the early adopters) will almost always steer you wrong. As Brad Feld said, listen to what they say and do the opposite.

Important to note the part in the preceding paragraph about "need." I think most of the time, you don’t need to have a majority. Most of the time, it’s deadly to even try. Catering to the passionate is exactly what you should do.