Today I went online to look for some information. I was looking to make a painting, a big one, and I wanted to find a supplier of paper in the size I needed.
I found myself on a forum post from several years ago. Somebody wanted something similar, and forum participants were offering potential options. This company makes it in 6 x 8, that company only goes up to 5 feet, this other one is really expensive – that sort of thing.
Then everybody’s favorite forum doofus shows up and says that if she were the original poster, she’d start with a postcard size piece. “It doesn’t have to be big to be a masterpiece.”
Let’s look at the presuppositions in play here, off the top of our heads.
She said “start”. She’s assuming the asker is “starting”.
She said “masterpiece”. She’s assuming the asker is trying to make a masterpiece.
She said “doesn’t have to”. She’s assuming this is about some sense of obligation, like the asker wouldn’t make their painting big unless they erroneously assumed they were somehow required to do so.
It’s so weird to read something like this, so random. Like this spontaneous internet non sequitur that popped up like an unexpected Whack-A-Mole. But what we read and hear, we digest, even unconsciously.
As an artist, I worry about this woman being let loose on the populace. I worry about her execution of her right to free speech. I worry that a nice, young artist with a dream of a mural will hear too many statements like this and start unconsciously internalizing these messages.
As a marketer, I worry about the same thing.
The internet is a hotbed of information. It’s also a hotbed of misinformation, bias, and agenda.
When I started this business, there were no small business blogs. None. People consumed whatever information was available because it was all that was available. We will take the wisdom that is offered, even if it’s not that wise.
Now there are thousands of blogs like this one. YouTube channels, blogs, podcasts, books, online magazines, guest posts, and more, all telling you what you should do, all (including this one) with a limited amount of knowledge, all (including this one) generally assuming they know all there is to know.
That’s bad, guys.
It’s bad because it’s affecting all of us on an unconscious, subconscious and even sometimes conscious level.
Most of the time, when I give advice, I try to avoid assuming your objectives, but I forget sometimes. I try to avoid assuming you want what I think you want, or what most people want, or even what you think you want but probably don’t. But I forget sometimes, and that affects the quality of what you read here, and how well it applies to you.
This week, I have an assignment for you.
As you go through your week, as you consume information, instruction, and advice, I want you to keep in the front of your mind two questions:
- Does this person know what I’m trying to do? Am I absolutely sure of that?
- Do I know what I’m trying to do? Am I absolutely sure of that?
That’s all. Have a great day. I’ll see you tomorrow.