“A potential spoiler”

Here’s a quick way for the mainstream media to enrage people: In a New York Times review of Ron Paul’s latest TV commercial, Julie Bosman concludes, "The advertisement accomplishes what the Paul campaign said was its modest goal: to introduce Mr. Paul to voters in that state, where he is emerging as a potential spoiler in the Republican primary."

But this isn’t a post about politics, it’s about spoiling things.

When you’re trying to sell something new, particularly in a business to business setting, there are always people like Julie Bosman. They are the defenders of the status quo.

They have an important job to do: to point out to everyone the risks of change. To identify potential spoilers.

You don’t have to like Ron Paul’s politics to be annoyed at this (I’m not voting for him), particularly if you’re an agent of change, someone who tries to sell growth or new ideas or even a product.

The thing is, being annoyed at it doesn’t do you any good at all. The status quo police aren’t going to go away, and in fact, they are often a big help in that most of your competition is held at bay by them.

So, how do you persuade the status quo police to stop treating you like a potential spoiler? You don’t. I don’t think you have a prayer. Instead, you create an environment where her colleagues and her family persuade her.

The establishment didn’t like the microcomputer (the president of Digital Computer thought it was dumb), the iPod or even Nike sneakers. The establishment didn’t like Jimmy Carter’s chances the first time out either. You can spend all your time selling the establishment, or you can just work around them. Sell to people who are listening. Create stories that spread, from the converted to the skeptical.

Go spoil something!