True believers (and the truth)

The internet has amplified the volume of the true believers, the defenders of any faith.

If you're into high end stereo, it's far easier to find strident voices in defense of $100,000 stereos than ever before. If you have strong views on health care (either side) it's not hard to find the orthodox and articulate believers. It's not just specialty magazines or conferences any longer. The true believers are in our faces every day.

When you lead a tribe, the volume and accessibility of the true believers is a good thing. They're easy to find and they maintain order and create a culture for the group you're leading.

The problem is that these loud voices may be loud, but they might not be right.

If you want them to write glowingly about your company's new stereo, you'll make one that's so obscure and expensive you won't sell very many. If you want them to adore your new restaurant, it might be so edgy and cutting edge that not enough people will actually come and you'll go under.

Go check out the track record of the loudest believers in your industry. They're wrong far more than they are right. In fact, when they love a new tech product or candidate, it might just be the jinx that guarantees failure.

The truth of the market is that the market you sell to isn't filled with true believers. It's filled with human beings who make compromises, who tell stories, who have competing objectives. And as a result, the truth of the market is that the products and services that win (if win means you can make a good living and make positive change) are rarely the products and services that are beloved without reservation by the true believers.