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Why Being a Success Means People Hate What You Do

I know this blog is not a success just yet. Why? People do not hate it.

Wuh?

It’s true. People do not dislike it so bad that they just have to tell me about it. There is no “love” feedback either. I just don’t get those sorts of messages.

Sure, I get plenty of “You suck” emails. I also get plenty of really nice “Thanks” emails.

But I am not pressing peoples buttons. Not in a good way, not in a bad way. Not enough.

Dilbert creator Scott Adams wrote a while ago about “knowing when to quit“. His story about his failed TV show attempt really rings true. Why did it fail? Because everybody “liked” it.

The reason that a product “everyone likes” will fail is because no one “loves” it. The only thing that predicts success is passion, even if only 10% of the consumers have it. For example, I’m willing to bet that when the TV show Baywatch was tested, 90% of the people rolled their eyes and gave it a thumbs down. But I’ll bet 10% of the test audience had tents in their pants. Bingo.

That is so true. Have you noticed some of the products that go on to be massive have that “love it or hate it” thing going on? Now think about your blog, do people love it or just like it? How can you turn the passionometer up to 11? Well, that is the real trick isn’t it?

It’s critical to inspire passion, good or bad.

For a start if you inspire passion then you either learn what needs to be fixed or what is already working very well.

Think a mild dislike of DRM is going to change the way digital music is delivered? Niggles don’t motivate people to respond unless they are natural complainers.

Secondly only really passionate people become true advocates for a blog, product or service. When the original Matrix movie was released about ten people told me I had to see it before it even arrived in theaters over here. My best friend told me it was his favourite film of all time, before seeing it at the cinema, he watched it on his computer.

I love Seth Godins blog but HATE ever so much (and he knows it, or should by now I have sent him about a million trackbacks) that he does not allow comments. His blog is like a broken answering machine, yes you hear a human voice but you don’t really believe it is a real human and you know that unless you are Guy Kawasaki your messages will be ignored. Many blogs don’t allow comments but they mean much less to me. That’s passion at work.

We would all like to be loved rather than hated, of course we would. That place in the middle, though; the “like” place, the “nice” place? That road leads to mediocrity.

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Comments

  1. seth godin says:

    but I’m not ignoring you!

    I read everything you say about my blog and if you send email, I’ll read that too.

    promise.

  2. seth godin says:

    but I’m not ignoring you!

    I read everything you say about my blog and if you send email, I’ll read that too.

    promise.

  3. Well, ok, if you promise ;)

    Do you believe through your blog you allow more or less dialogue than, say, an airline or credit card company though?

  4. Well, ok, if you promise ;)

    Do you believe through your blog you allow more or less dialogue than, say, an airline or credit card company though?

  5. Don’t you think that between love and hate, there exists a fine line and that it’s really not an accurate measure of your blog’s success.

    There will never be something or someone that everyone loves or hates absolutely, which is probably why there’s always someone else on the other side of the fence.

    But I wonder if it’s possible to be really passionate about a blog when the only form of communication between a blogger and reader is through words.

  6. Don’t you think that between love and hate, there exists a fine line and that it’s really not an accurate measure of your blog’s success.

    There will never be something or someone that everyone loves or hates absolutely, which is probably why there’s always someone else on the other side of the fence.

    But I wonder if it’s possible to be really passionate about a blog when the only form of communication between a blogger and reader is through words.

  7. In most cases if you are getting it right there will be a % who hate it, a % who love it and the rest in the middle. If you do not annoy a segment of your audience you are really not trying hard enough. Look at Elvis, the kids loved him but mums and dads were horrified.

  8. In most cases if you are getting it right there will be a % who hate it, a % who love it and the rest in the middle. If you do not annoy a segment of your audience you are really not trying hard enough. Look at Elvis, the kids loved him but mums and dads were horrified.

  9. @Chris wow congrats on the visit by the mighty Godin. Wow…you’ve made it man :)

    I love your blog Chris…you’re being too hard on yourself.

  10. @Chris wow congrats on the visit by the mighty Godin. Wow…you’ve made it man :)

    I love your blog Chris…you’re being too hard on yourself.

  11. If it makes you feel any better, I hate your blog. No, actually I’m on the love it side, but I agree that you need to have passionate readers to make your site really stand out. Any tips?

  12. If it makes you feel any better, I hate your blog. No, actually I’m on the love it side, but I agree that you need to have passionate readers to make your site really stand out. Any tips?

  13. By far my favorite post so far!!!!!!!!!!

    Although our blog is pretty new, we have taken the high ground, been polite and tried to provide some positive, helpful information. Just as you said, it’s resulting in very mediocre results.

    As much as I know about this industry, it’s players, law makers and culprits, I could unleash some way serious controversy…just afraid it may give the wrong impression to potential clients.

    So, I’m stuck in the middle of the road for the meantime.

    Great Great post though.

  14. By far my favorite post so far!!!!!!!!!!

    Although our blog is pretty new, we have taken the high ground, been polite and tried to provide some positive, helpful information. Just as you said, it’s resulting in very mediocre results.

    As much as I know about this industry, it’s players, law makers and culprits, I could unleash some way serious controversy…just afraid it may give the wrong impression to potential clients.

    So, I’m stuck in the middle of the road for the meantime.

    Great Great post though.

  15. I think you’re right about this. The problem is that it can be tough to get that real passionate message out to a lot of people.

    For example, try submitting a passion inspiring post to Digg or Reddit. On Digg it will get buried real quick. You have a chance on Reddit, but it’s tough with a lot of down votes when you are competing with pretty pictures and anti-Republican news articles.

    I couldn’t agree more overall. The only way people are going to recommend your blog to others is if you’re saying something that really gets to them.

  16. I think you’re right about this. The problem is that it can be tough to get that real passionate message out to a lot of people.

    For example, try submitting a passion inspiring post to Digg or Reddit. On Digg it will get buried real quick. You have a chance on Reddit, but it’s tough with a lot of down votes when you are competing with pretty pictures and anti-Republican news articles.

    I couldn’t agree more overall. The only way people are going to recommend your blog to others is if you’re saying something that really gets to them.

  17. Didn’t copywriter extraordinaire John Carlton say something like, “If you don’t piss off half your readers, you’re not doing it right”?

    I think one of the key traits of great bloggers is courage. The courage to make people mad. I’m not saying they set out to do that deliberately. (Well, some might.) But most (including me) worry too much about offending their readers.

    I need to retrain myself since becoming assimilated into my employer’s public agency mentality. “We must always be politically correct and accommodating!” Everyone’s so stinkin’ sensitive these days.

    Oops! Sorry about that little rant!

    Although I can’t think of any blogs I hate, I can think of a few I love (yours among them). Most, though — even the ones I enjoy reading — are, as you say, mediocre.

    Hey, will you think about doing a follow-up article on how to press people’s buttons? I could definitely use a good cheat sheet for that!

    Thanks, Chris!

  18. Didn’t copywriter extraordinaire John Carlton say something like, “If you don’t piss off half your readers, you’re not doing it right”?

    I think one of the key traits of great bloggers is courage. The courage to make people mad. I’m not saying they set out to do that deliberately. (Well, some might.) But most (including me) worry too much about offending their readers.

    I need to retrain myself since becoming assimilated into my employer’s public agency mentality. “We must always be politically correct and accommodating!” Everyone’s so stinkin’ sensitive these days.

    Oops! Sorry about that little rant!

    Although I can’t think of any blogs I hate, I can think of a few I love (yours among them). Most, though — even the ones I enjoy reading — are, as you say, mediocre.

    Hey, will you think about doing a follow-up article on how to press people’s buttons? I could definitely use a good cheat sheet for that!

    Thanks, Chris!

  19. I hate this blog entry, does that count?

    lol, kidding

  20. I hate this blog entry, does that count?

    lol, kidding

  21. I love your blog! I’m sorry I haven’t said so before, but I’m English, I don’t do sudden outbursts of emotion.

    I do know what you mean though. I wonder if maybe it partly comes down to most people opting for being liked over being controversial or rocking the boat, and because of this they would find being hated a strange thing to deal with. Even if an equal number of readers loved their blog. You have to be quite brave to raise your head above the battlements, and Blogland can be a cruel place. Does that make sense?

    ps: Sorry if you get this twice, my browser went a bit strange when I tried to post before.

  22. I love your blog! I’m sorry I haven’t said so before, but I’m English, I don’t do sudden outbursts of emotion.

    I do know what you mean though. I wonder if maybe it partly comes down to most people opting for being liked over being controversial or rocking the boat, and because of this they would find being hated a strange thing to deal with. Even if an equal number of readers loved their blog. You have to be quite brave to raise your head above the battlements, and Blogland can be a cruel place. Does that make sense?

    ps: Sorry if you get this twice, my browser went a bit strange when I tried to post before.

  23. Love the post chris, and while I don’t want to be known for being negative I’m glad some people see some benefit in bringing emotion to the table.

    I found the advice similar to a song lyric I mentioned here:

    http://www.45n5.com/permalink/marketing-advice-from-a-female-teenage-popstar.html

  24. Love the post chris, and while I don’t want to be known for being negative I’m glad some people see some benefit in bringing emotion to the table.

    I found the advice similar to a song lyric I mentioned here:

    http://www.45n5.com/permalink/marketing-advice-from-a-female-teenage-popstar.html

  25. In the Philippines, we call it the ‘crab mentality’ wherein people tear down on already successful people just to pull their own self up.

  26. In the Philippines, we call it the ‘crab mentality’ wherein people tear down on already successful people just to pull their own self up.

  27. this blog sucks ;)

  28. this blog sucks ;)

  29. Absolutely. Love – and you can’t stay away or stay silent. Hate – and the same is true.
    But I have to take up Leonard Chen who questioned, above, “if it’s possible to be really passionate about a blog when the only form of communication between a blogger and reader is through words.” What is more powerful than words? Wars have been started and ended by words, and legendary love affairs immortalized through the centuries. We won’t even mention the power of advertising, or those who become misty-eyed when reciting their pledge of allegiance, weep when exchanging wedding vows, print words on tee-shirts because they so badly want to share a clever slogan… Oh, yes, words can create passion. With the right blogger as the mind behind the words.

  30. Absolutely. Love – and you can’t stay away or stay silent. Hate – and the same is true.
    But I have to take up Leonard Chen who questioned, above, “if it’s possible to be really passionate about a blog when the only form of communication between a blogger and reader is through words.” What is more powerful than words? Wars have been started and ended by words, and legendary love affairs immortalized through the centuries. We won’t even mention the power of advertising, or those who become misty-eyed when reciting their pledge of allegiance, weep when exchanging wedding vows, print words on tee-shirts because they so badly want to share a clever slogan… Oh, yes, words can create passion. With the right blogger as the mind behind the words.

  31. I HATE YOUR BLOG!

    there you go, feel successful yet?

  32. I HATE YOUR BLOG!

    there you go, feel successful yet?

  33. you’ll probably be very successful when somebody makes a ChrisGarrettSucks.com like they did with Michael Arrington. OR ChrisGarretRocks.com!!

  34. you’ll probably be very successful when somebody makes a ChrisGarrettSucks.com like they did with Michael Arrington. OR ChrisGarretRocks.com!!

  35. @Jack – yeah I’m not worthy! I posted my response to his response as a new article ;)

    @Cory – tips will be coming soon :)

    @Marc – there is nothing wrong with middle of the road, but pushing the outside of the envelope means accepting you will cause some to hate what you do

    @John – yeah what arouses passion in you will not necessarily be the same for others – people get passionate on Digg all the time but it tends to be in “my operating system is better than yours” debates or “GWB did this that or the other”

    @Bonnie – courage is very important, I was shell shocked when I first started writing how much anger people would have over the smallest of slipups or misunderstandings. I have flame-retardant kevlar pants now :) I will do a post on tips soon

    @Jim – gee thanks ;)

    @Kate – I forgive you, I was raised in England so fully understand ;) Blogland surely is a cruel place but there are ample warm and fuzzy folds if you look for them

    @Mark – where would we be without emotion? Living with Mr Spock I guess

    @Jhay – Yup if you get that treatment you know you are doing something right ;)

    @Mark – har har, another comedian ;)

    @Jen – agreed, words can be very powerful. With the ubiquity of sound and vision in todays world it is easy to forget that words on a page have so much impact.

    @Ahmed – another comedian, I guess I get the readers I deserve ;)

    @Quais – to be honest I am a little surprised nobody has put together a campaign to boot me from the web yet ;)

  36. @Jack – yeah I’m not worthy! I posted my response to his response as a new article ;)

    @Cory – tips will be coming soon :)

    @Marc – there is nothing wrong with middle of the road, but pushing the outside of the envelope means accepting you will cause some to hate what you do

    @John – yeah what arouses passion in you will not necessarily be the same for others – people get passionate on Digg all the time but it tends to be in “my operating system is better than yours” debates or “GWB did this that or the other”

    @Bonnie – courage is very important, I was shell shocked when I first started writing how much anger people would have over the smallest of slipups or misunderstandings. I have flame-retardant kevlar pants now :) I will do a post on tips soon

    @Jim – gee thanks ;)

    @Kate – I forgive you, I was raised in England so fully understand ;) Blogland surely is a cruel place but there are ample warm and fuzzy folds if you look for them

    @Mark – where would we be without emotion? Living with Mr Spock I guess

    @Jhay – Yup if you get that treatment you know you are doing something right ;)

    @Mark – har har, another comedian ;)

    @Jen – agreed, words can be very powerful. With the ubiquity of sound and vision in todays world it is easy to forget that words on a page have so much impact.

    @Ahmed – another comedian, I guess I get the readers I deserve ;)

    @Quais – to be honest I am a little surprised nobody has put together a campaign to boot me from the web yet ;)

  37. I feel so validated!!! :D

    The way I put it to people who want to be successful bloggers is that nice is nice but edgy is cool. Push people’s buttons, make them think, make them stand up and shout even if it’s at you. Have no fear!! :)

    Loved the post. Telling EVERYBODY about it.

  38. I feel so validated!!! :D

    The way I put it to people who want to be successful bloggers is that nice is nice but edgy is cool. Push people’s buttons, make them think, make them stand up and shout even if it’s at you. Have no fear!! :)

    Loved the post. Telling EVERYBODY about it.

  39. Thanks :) It is a hard lesson but we really as human beings are so afraid of not being liked. It takes a jolt to realise being AUTHENTIC and RIGHT can mean not being liked, would we rather be WRONG? Some people really would rather be wrong and liked than right and disliked.

  40. Thanks :) It is a hard lesson but we really as human beings are so afraid of not being liked. It takes a jolt to realise being AUTHENTIC and RIGHT can mean not being liked, would we rather be WRONG? Some people really would rather be wrong and liked than right and disliked.

  41. This post made me chuckle because I immediately thought of Blaugh. People either love our cartoons or hate our “lame” and “pretentious” sense of humor. I guess we could be considered a success. :)

    A few others that come to mind:
    Family Guy
    Bil O’Rielly
    American Idol
    WalMart
    Star Wars
    etc.

    Great post.

  42. This post made me chuckle because I immediately thought of Blaugh. People either love our cartoons or hate our “lame” and “pretentious” sense of humor. I guess we could be considered a success. :)

    A few others that come to mind:
    Family Guy
    Bil O’Rielly
    American Idol
    WalMart
    Star Wars
    etc.

    Great post.

  43. I’m definitely in the love category where Blaugh is concerned :)

  44. I’m definitely in the love category where Blaugh is concerned :)

  45. You suck! Just kidding!

    But seriously, what the heck is a niggle?

    Not since Sting has anyone sent me scurrying off to the dicitionary.

    Okay, just kidding again…

  46. You suck! Just kidding!

    But seriously, what the heck is a niggle?

    Not since Sting has anyone sent me scurrying off to the dicitionary.

    Okay, just kidding again…

  47. booting you, or Michael Arrington for that matter, out of the net is gonna take A LOT of work, and very good work at that. those who try to such a thing don’t have it in them. So you are safe, for now :) (careful not to piss me off, cause i might have it;))

  48. booting you, or Michael Arrington for that matter, out of the net is gonna take A LOT of work, and very good work at that. those who try to such a thing don’t have it in them. So you are safe, for now :) (careful not to piss me off, cause i might have it;))

  49. I noticed that Seth doesn’t allow comments, but one time he wrote something that I absolutely had to respond to. So I found his email address somewhere on his blog, and sent him a letter. He almost immediately responded, and even referred to my question on his blog.

    Just wanted to say that he really does read his emails and respond. It would be interesting to hear his explanation as to why he doesn’t allow comments. I’m guessing it has to do with the amount of comments he would get, and how it would be very time consuming to manage them.

  50. I noticed that Seth doesn’t allow comments, but one time he wrote something that I absolutely had to respond to. So I found his email address somewhere on his blog, and sent him a letter. He almost immediately responded, and even referred to my question on his blog.

    Just wanted to say that he really does read his emails and respond. It would be interesting to hear his explanation as to why he doesn’t allow comments. I’m guessing it has to do with the amount of comments he would get, and how it would be very time consuming to manage them.

  51. @Paula – sorry, sometimes I don’t realise I am using unusual words ;)

    @Quais – consider me warned :)

    @Miriam – yes I had a little email debate with him, he is a good bloke

  52. @Paula – sorry, sometimes I don’t realise I am using unusual words ;)

    @Quais – consider me warned :)

    @Miriam – yes I had a little email debate with him, he is a good bloke

  53. It is really funny how everyone gets caught up on a “label” called blogger, but aren’t we still human beings? Then you have people who talk about social media but yet as you’ve said they don’t allow for comments or don’t respond when they get them on their blog/ site – so really is social media all that social?

    Forget the hype, the person who the world loves today will be forgotten tomorrow – do what you love and forget what the world things. There is a market for just about everything – just look at the pet rock.

  54. It is really funny how everyone gets caught up on a “label” called blogger, but aren’t we still human beings? Then you have people who talk about social media but yet as you’ve said they don’t allow for comments or don’t respond when they get them on their blog/ site – so really is social media all that social?

    Forget the hype, the person who the world loves today will be forgotten tomorrow – do what you love and forget what the world things. There is a market for just about everything – just look at the pet rock.

  55. For some people social means “audience” :)

  56. For some people social means “audience” :)

  57. Just be glad you’re not as popular as Kathy Sierra.

  58. Just be glad you’re not as popular as Kathy Sierra.