directions signs and sky

There have been two really good articles come out in the last week. The first came from @adage about freakonomics trumping logic in marketing with another great follow-up from fellow Engauge-er @JM_allgrownup about focus being the key to success.  Both articles compared the successes of brands who tried offering a lot of options and then other brands who had tried doing a couple of things really well. The results showed that less was definitely more. This is definitely true in more cases than the Burger King versus Five Guys comparison in the above articles. In my time working at @hinda_incentive and reading other books, I've learned about something called "decision paralysis." You would think a lot of options is good. However, when given too many options, people will go into a "decision paralysis" and not choose anything at all. It seems that choosing to do a couple of things well outperforms most companies who try and put their hands in a lot of pies.

Look at Apple. They don't have a huge variety of products. However, the things they make, they make well and succeed. Then look at Tumblr. In regards to page views, the blogging platform is rapidly catching up to the older established Wordpress. Tumblr does a couple of things well: sharing and content. Their platform is designed to not include all the frilly sidebars and widgets and focus soley on content. That focus (which @JM_allgrownup so eloquently describes in his post) is what drives success.

Beyond Business

I think this focus concept goes beyond just selling iPads and burgers. I believe this could apply to how we do our jobs and go about our everyday lives. Do we try and be everything to everybody? Or do we try and just do one thing really well? With historical icons like Leonardo da Vinci and other Renaissance men, we think that we should be everything to everybody.

But it's exhausting isn't it?

Do we try to be everything to everybody at work and or in our own lives? Or do we focus on our few raw talents and making those things work for us?

I believe trying to be good at everything isn't necessarily a bad thing. It shows, drive, determination and a willingness to learn. But do we risk putting ourselves in an internal "decision paralysis" when we start having to prioritize what we do at work and even at home? Where do find the balance?

Is it possible to be everything to everybody and still succeed? What do you think?


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