There’s a reason why most great thinkers and entrepreneurs didn’t put too much stock in asking people what they wanted. Steve Jobs was famous for it, and Henry Ford was quoted saying that if he asked people what they wanted they would have asked for faster horses.
I try to treat my blogs (and in actuality – my businesses) as a dictatorship and not a democracy. This might sound harsh, but it’s really not as bad as it sounds.
What is really means is that my audience don’t get a say in what I do. They don’t get to dictate the amount or type of content I produce. I don’t leave much room for people to give their opinions. I’ve disabled comments on my blogs, and don’t interact much with readers through email or YouTube comments.
I have to believe that I know the best course for my business.
This is not because I think I know better, or that I don’t value my followers’ thoughts. Not at all. It’s because I’m always in the process of creating and growing, and I don’t have a lot of mental space for too much feedback. If I do want feedback I will actively search for it (like the time I sent a survey about which animation software people wanted to learn the most) but I can’t afford the distractions of random unsolicited feedback trickling in.
If I spend time reading comments, replying to comments or re-thinking my actions based on people’s’ thoughts – it would be less time spent on actually creating something.
This kind of random feedback can cause so much damage. It can:
- Shake your confidence in what you’re doing.
- Make you want to change a lot of things in the project, loosing sight of what it was meant to be in the first place.
- Make you want to chase another newer project that seems to be “what the people want” at the moment.
The process of making a decision should be thorough and intense, but after that decision is made you have to trust yourself that this is the way to go, and power through creating it, no matter what the response might be in the meantime.
So I like to think of myself as a good dictator. One that has the best interest of his audience in mind, but makes the final decision himself, regardless of what people say they want. This goes both for the fun and hard decisions, and it’s not always an easy thing to do alone.