Idea: Stop Trying to Be All Things to All People.

In the last century, it was de rigeur for businesses to hide behind a veil of plain vanilla everything. Don’t say anything controversial. Don’t challenge authority. Keep your dirty laundry secret. Just say yes to whatever the customer wants. Hide your financial data. Have all your employees look and act the same. Each admonishment standing alone sounds reasonable. But collectively, they create a picture of cowardice, confusion, and potentially false advertising.

bq. “If a blog is interesting,” Mr. Evensky said, “chances are you’re saying something that’s potentially controversial.”

As I write about often, the new millennium is marching towards increasing autonomy for all of us — individuals, companies, nations. We are less dependent on any aspect of “tribal consciousness” and can exist with considerably more self-reliance than ever before. Alas, companies can build their own web sites in-house, reducing the need for web developers like us.

The truth, as it turns out though, can be very good for business

But our business is as hot as ever. Being able to blog about who we are — and who we are not — has enabled potential customers to get to know us before plunking down any money. There is a good chance we are “losing” as many as we are gaining, but the advantage is that people can screen us for themselves, with far less investment of time and money. The truth, as it turns out though, can be very good for business, even if it’s also a bit scary or controversial to put into practice.

Successful businesses no longer need to be scared of transparency or truth-telling. You can survive and even thrive by choosing your preferences and letting others know what they are. There is so much diversity in the marketplace — why not make it easy for like-minded customers to find you without having to wade through big piles of generic sales doo doo? And if your “true nature” is being a rude, crude, ill-bred know-it-all? Well, then the whole reality TV marketplace may just be a ton of fun for you!

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Mr. Evensky’s quote is from an article in the NY Times, Psst: Want to Know My Net Worth?

From the Sunday NY Times; though since they start their pay-for-content program tomorrow, it’s probably not worth following the link. You’ll have to pay $49.95 to read the article as a subscriber. I do still believe in giving credit whenever possible though.