The Gold List

A weekly letter on Marketing and Influence
From David Sherry
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Good Stories Remind us of Something

When we introduce an idea to someone, it's not the first time they've heard the idea.

That's because, thanks to the English language, we're using existing building blocks: concepts, words, and stories that we have woven together in such a way to make something new.

Here are some example building block constructions:


> Horse = Horse

> Horse + Buggy = Horse and Buggy

> Buggy - Horse + Engine = Car

> Buggy + Engine + Wings = Plane.

> Buggy + Engine + Wings + Bus = Jetplane.


And so on.


The building blocks aren't new, but that particular combination of story might be.

And so every idea we share... reminds the listener of an idea they've heard before.

It's this memory-reference that helps build the associations necessary to understand, believe, and even love the story you tell.

Harry Potter reminds us of Star Wars.

Star Trek reminds us of Star Wars (and vis versus).

Keeping up with the Kardashians reminds us of Real World.

Joe Rogan reminds us of Howard Stern.

Chopped reminds us of Top Chef.

And because it's a new narrative that you're weaving, because you're making something that didn't exist...

You are creating that association, but with a spin!

Howard Stern - Hair + Youtube + UFC = Joe Rogan

These new verticals of Youtube, Fighting, Type of guest... these bit of spin put Joe Rogan into his own category, while also being in a more general category we understand.

To help your audience understand you, you need to be somewhat like something else they know.

Because, it's *really* hard to start a new category.

Think of the Internet, think of Cryptocurrency.

They were and are widely dismissed because the idea, in some ways is TOO new to TOO large of a group of people.

Of course, until it's not...

Why do you think Bitcoin is said to be Digital Gold?

Internet + Gold = Bitcoin.

It's so we can understand it. But of course, it's much more nuanced than that. And until *enough* people understand *enough* new building blocks that they can understand the narrative, Bitcoin and Crypto will remain less mainstream.

In tech, there's a joke about the "Uber for X" idea.

Which is that you take the Uber model and simply apply it to a new category.

This worked, and continues to work.

Not for every business, but this shortcut to understanding is precisely what some people needed to understand to invest in.

Bird Scooter is Uber but for scooters minus personal delivery.

Your listener wants to understand your ideas.

Are you giving them the building blocks to make the right associations?

And are the associations they make about your product the types of associations you'd want them to make?

April 26, 2019
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