Seth Godin makes a hugely insightful point in his riff on Theodore Levitt’s famous quarter-inch drill bit quote.
People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. They want a quarter-inch hole.
Theodore Levitt, Harvard Marketing Professor
Godin argues that it’s not even the hole that people want.
It’s not the shelf they plan on installing on the brackets they’re going to drill into the hole.
What people want are the feelings they’re able to access now that they have the drill bit; the feeling of pride when they install the shelf by themselves, the gratification of pleasing their spouse, or the safety and security they might experience when then can put all their things on the shelf, and keep their space tidy and organised.
This is important for marketers to understand, but equally important for us to understand as consumers.
When we spend (be it our money or our time), what are the feelings we’re trading for?
Are we being capitalised upon?
Are we making decisions which will serve us over time?
That next Big Mac might feel incredible at the time, but it won’t an hour later. And if that feeling you purchased diminished so quickly, what will it’s value be in twenty years when your health catches up with you?
People are plagued by the fact that we always want, but don’t always know what we want.
Learning to want less, and more specifically is the trick.
Nobody wants a quarter-inch drill bit – but we all want to feel safe, healthy, respected and loved.
Today marks 100 days of putting my thoughts on the line.
Three months feels like a blink. But in such a short time, this already feels like one of the most meaningful commitments I’ve ever managed to uphold.
In honour of that, it seems like as arbitrary a time as any to look back, reflect and take a moment to thank those of you who’ve been the fertiliser to my grass-roots.
The growth I’ve experienced over the past few months has been overwhelming. I’ve written some crap, and I’ve written some work that I’m intensely proud of.
Having a tangible accumulation of ever-improving work is something I still can’t wrap my head around; some posts I was proud of two months now embarrass me to revise.
I can see the weeks where I allowed myself to be tired or overworked.
I can pick out the posts I published in a rush at 11:58pm instead of getting writing done in the morning.
The clear disparity in the quality of that work motivates me to take care of myself properly.
Beyond all that, I’ve benefited hugely from cataloguing a d categorising my thoughts.
By organising thoughts into the ‘clusters’ in the menu bar, I’ve been able to refer back to information quickly when I’ve needed it.
When I started out, I didn’t think I’d go back re-consider content nearly as much as I do. I revisit the ruckus cluster often, usually when I need a boost.
In terms of readership, the views and visitors to the site have been on a slow but steady incline.
These metrics aren’t what I measure the success of the blog by, but the fact that there is an upwards trend means that more people are hearing about the blog.
Because I don’t pay to advertise the blog anywhere, this means that a significant portion of this extra traffic will be from word-of-mouth.
If you’ve been a part of that, thank you.
Seriously. Some of the most delightful conversations I’ve had in the past few months have sprouted from;
“Hey! I read that thing you posted about…”
Conversations like that mean everything to me. And if you’re someone who regularly likes, comments on, shares or talks about my content, you’re responsible for a portion of that joy.
Thanks also to those of you who have followed the blog on WordPress, or via email.
There’s more than 50 of you now, and while I’m sure that at least a couple of you are Russian bots, I know that there’s a chunk of you who are lovely, real, genuine people.
It means a great deal that you’re willing to get notified every time I put something out there (not just when it’s good enough for me to share it on a social platform).
Launching this site has been the best thing I’ve ever done for my writing, but it’s also fundamentally changed the way I think.
It’s hard to express how valuable forcing myself to constantly seek out stimulating information to distill has been. Every day brings with it a looming pressure to notice things, and I’ve never felt more engaged with the world.
So far I’ve had the opportunity to share 2374 views with 1408 visitors, through 37,212 words.
I have at times been perplexed by the amount of sneezing I do at seemingly random intervals, deducing that I probably just have allergies to something.
During a meeting today, I needed to walk from one building to another. It was a gorgeous sunny day in Fremantle, and as we approached the second building, I couldn’t help but let out three muffled but aggressive sneezes.
“Sorry about that!” I said, embarrassed. “I think I must be allergic to one of the trees or something around here, it gets me all the time.”
The woman I was meeting with didn’t miss a beat before responding, “No, it’s probably the sun.”
Apparently, this is an actual thing.
The Photic Sneeze Reflex is a legitimate medical condition which causes people to sneeze when exposed to a variety of stimuli, including looking at bright lights.
Strangely, the earliest know record of the Photic Sneeze Reflex lives in the writings of Aristotle.
‘Why is it that one sneezes more after one has looked at the sun? Is it because the sun engenders heat and so causes movement, just as does tickling the nose with a feather? For both have the same effect; by setting up movement they cause heat and create breath more quickly from the moisture; and it is the escape of this breath which causes sneezing.’
Aristotle thought that the sun might cause nose sweat, which could tickle the inside of the nose enough to illicit a sneeze. While the logic checks out, this isn’t actually how it works.
Scientist’s best guess at the moment is that the sneeze reaction has something to do with the overstimulation of the trigeminal nerve,
This nerve is the connection point for three other nerve branches including; the ophthalmic branch, which can be stimulated by rapid changes in light conditions; and the maxillary branch, which when stimulated, can cause sneezing.
The running theory is that when the opthalmic branch is overstimulated, it can cause other branches of the trigeminal nerve to become irritated.
A 2010 study discovered that if you’re amongst the 18-35% of people who report sneezing at the sun, you almost definitely have a very specific and seemingly pointless inheritable genetic mutation.
For those of us with the mutation, the irritation passed on to our maxillary nerve from overstimulation of the ophthalmic nerve through bright light changes is just enough to send us over the edge and into a small fit of sneezes.
The condition is harmless unless you’re a brain surgeon, but one hell of a nuisance nonetheless.
You can test whether you’re affected quite easily. Just walk outside and look at the sun for a while (not directly, obviously). If after thirty seconds or so you wind up achoo-ing your head off, welcome to the Photic Sneeze Reflex Club. You’ll receive your card in the mail.