First off, thanks for staying back despite the long break between my last newsletter and this one. I’m grateful to you for sticking by me. Also, it was heartwarming to see many of you write to me inquiring about my well being and also regarding the abrupt discontinuity of these newsletters. Thanks for your love, I'm doing fine.
There were some unforeseen hurdles, or you could call them the typical “Spanner in the works” problems I had to attend to. For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on sorting them out, only to realize that some problems will persist. This newsletter, however, had to happen irrespective of the other problems that were taking up mental space. Glad to be back here and, more importantly, to share all this stuff with you guys.
Let’s dive in!
How many times have you been offered a product that you didn't really need?
You were promised a solution to improve your health and fitness with that shiny new gadget, only to realise that you're in the same place where you started. Just that your bank account is a few hundred or thousand dollars closer to zero.
I'm pretty sure you saw that snazzy new to-do app that touted itself as the pinnacle of productivity. You downloaded it across your devices, synced them all. A few days go by, and you realise that your to-dos continue to pile and shame Mount Everest.
There are many similar businesses/ products/ solutions out there that need not exist. The world would do better without them. They're built on the premise to make you and your lives better, a snake oil prescription of sorts. In the short run, this rakes in the moolah. But in the long run, having such a product offering is a sure shot prescription for failure.
In our business, I see many customers coming to us with new products or older designs that need improvement. Many a time, I realise they do not need a product in the first place. They can do perfectly well without it. In certain other cases, a cheaper alternative will do just fine.
When I tell my customers they don't need a product or they can use a cheaper one, it curtails our business in the short term. But in the long term grand scheme of things, it opens more doors for us. It increases the trust customers have in us. It has helped us in two ways:
When people (at our customer’s place) transition to another company, they bring new business to us because they're sure we won't rip them off. They also spread our principles to other customers out there acting as a natural marketing channel for us - and a very efficient one. A happy customer is your best marketer.
Existing customers come to us repeatedly because they know we're in it for the long game and will not rip them off either.
This small decision to say "you don't need this product" goes a long way in building trust with your customers. In business, trust is the most valuable currency you can have. The more decentralised this currency is about your brand and/or product, the better it is for you in the long run.
Lesson 101 of any business: You exist to serve customers and not the other way around. You cannot peddle products to your customers just because you exist. If your customers do not need you, then there is no need for you or your product. You're there to solve a problem. Not to create one and then offer a solution. Because the day the customer discerns the truth, and I'm sure it won't be too long before they do, it'll be your end.
Here’s something interesting:
The Long Night Of The Soul by Jonathan Tjarks: “The thought of death is so painful that many people do everything they can to put it out of their minds. It’s easy enough in our society. I’m not surrounded by death. It usually happens far away, in hospitals and nursing homes and hospice centres…It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you have done, or how much medical care your money can buy. We all have to face that moment. It’s the only moment when every person on Earth is truly equal. We come into this world with nothing and leave it the same way.”
We can all learn a lesson from Beethoven by Arthur Brooks: “Deafness freed Beethoven as a composer because he no longer had society’s soundtrack in his ears. Perhaps therein lies a lesson for each of us. I know, I know: You’re no Beethoven. But as you read the lines above, maybe you could relate to the great composer’s loss in some small way. Have you lost something that defined your identity? Maybe it involves your looks. Or your social prestige. Or your professional relevance.
How might this loss set you free? You might finally define yourself in new ways, free from the boundaries you set for yourself based on the expectations of others. For example, as you age, what if you lean in to the “declines’’ — really just natural changes — and use your wisdom more than your beauty and wits? What if you turn your energy from impressing strangers to being completely present with the people you love?”
A 97-Year-Old Philosopher Ponders Life and Death: 'What Is the Point?': “I walk around often and ask myself, ‘What is the point of it all?’ There must be something I’m missing. I wish I knew.” The video accompanying the piece is where all the action is. The part where Herbert listens to a string quarter which his wife loved lends more meaning now in her absence. Life, like other things, is more valuable to us when we are at the fag end of it or when we lose the people we love. I hope this video reminds us of the fragility of life and engenders a feeling of love towards it.
Here’s a thought I’m pondering on:
“The price of truth is everything, but no one knows what everything means until they’re paying it.” ~ Jed McKenna, Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing.
Till next weekend, take care.
If you would love to discuss anything I’ve written about and shared, please reach out to me by replying to this email or sending a direct message on Twitter 🐦 @iam__prashanth. The tribe there is over 2300 members and continues to grow.
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