Make 50% of the Population Hate You

“Make 50% of the population hate you.”

My editor reminded me of this the other day when we were talking about the main argument of my book. (And then I immediately wanted to tongue her.)

Because that’s what arguments do, after all: they stand in opposition to something. They take a stand, plant their flag, and proclaim something they believe to be true—that, by design, not everyone will be able to agree with. You don’t want everyone to agree with you: you want people to charge down the field with you. But that doesn’t just require an army: it requires an enemy, too.

No matter what you’re working on—a website, a brand, a book, a course—you need an enemy. You need 50% of the population to side against you. This is a radical departure from the way we’re used to thinking: how can I make as many people as possible like me? (As you twirl your hair and offer some dude a Kit Kat.) But this is the thing about making something that’s compelling: it can only be compelling to some. Otherwise, what you have isn’t compelling: it’s generic. And the last time I checked?

Nobody fangirls over Great Value.

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