I’m not surprised

If I walk into a hotel in the United States and find myself near the ballroom where a trade show is being held, I can tell, without being shown the room, exactly what the trade show is going to look like. Layout, booth styles, what the attendees are wearing… If I walk into a certain kind of italian restaurant in most cities around the world, I can tell exactly what is going to be on the menu and approximately what each item is going to cost. When I sit down on an airplane, I know exactly what the flight attendant is going to say, and when. When the phone rings and it’s a person trying to sell me financial services, I know what she’s going to say… (and you can probably guess the rest of this paragraph).

There’s nothing wrong with not surprising people. In fact, most of the time, you don’t want to surprise people. I don’t want to be surprised when I use an electric drill, and I don’t want to be surprised when they’re doing surgery on me.

But if you want the word to spread, if you expect me to take action I’ve never taken before, it seems to me that you need to do something that hasn’t been done before. It might not feel safe, but if you do the safe thing, I guarantee you won’t surprise anyone. And if you don’t surprise anyone, the word isn’t going to spread.