Schiit Happened: The Story of the World's Most Improbable Start-Up
Jan 12, 2022 at 9:45 AM Post #87,346 of 87,971

Paladin79

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It pained me to 'like' that post. That must have been horrible.
I've never had a kidney stone but all of my friends who have had one tell stories that include "making a grown man cry".
I have had four or five and ended up in the emergency room a couple times. You know you are in trouble when morphine does not seem to do any good. The largest I remember passing was a 7 mm and I had to suffer through it with hydrocodone as I drove to Columbus Ohio and back. I can only describe it as a deep internal pain that can lay you out on the floor.
 
Jan 12, 2022 at 10:09 AM Post #87,348 of 87,971

ArmchairPhilosopher

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Jan 12, 2022 at 10:10 AM Post #87,349 of 87,971
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Yeah, fair enough.

Yeah, makes sense. Freya S was tantalizing but I have no balanced sources so couldn't justify the extra $300 over Saga S. Didn't want to get Saga+ because it would go on the living room. Not a good idea to put a glowing tube with kids around. Haha.
Saga S is a slow seller, but Rina is currently experimenting to see if we can change that. Because, like you said, it's a bit of a unicorn. Plus, she's bored, because we're out of stock on so many things that there aren't many products we can advertise at the moment.
 
Schiit Audio Stay updated on Schiit Audio at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
https://www.facebook.com/Schiit/ http://www.schiit.com/
Jan 12, 2022 at 10:15 AM Post #87,350 of 87,971

FLTWS

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You have clearly never suffered the indignity of a radio call "Call the tower on a landline"............
:laughing:

Actually, I just bought a new portable phone setup as the other was over 18 years old and had one hardwired phone and one portable. The new one has 4 portables; one for the kitchen, one for the L/R, one for upstairs, and one for downstairs. So now I don't have to carry the one around as i move between floors, all I have to do is look at the screen on each phone to see that the caller is nobody I know and thus calling to ask me for money or sell me some crap i don't need. All my friends go with e-mail now unless its a real emergency.
 
Last edited:
Jan 12, 2022 at 10:37 AM Post #87,351 of 87,971
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2022, Chapter 1
Everyone Is Someone Else’s Weirdo


On top of the Weirdest. Year. Ever. chapter, I’m going to pile on.

Because I think this is an important point. Maybe the most important point ever.

I know, I know. You cross your arms. You harrumph and squirm. But bear with me a while. Ask yourself: How much stupidity has happened because “I wanted to fit in,” or “all our competitors are doing it?”

Answer: maybe all of it.

I mean, come on. What is the logical endpoint of “everyone else is doing it” other than the psychosis of Mutually Assured Destruction and Brave New World dystopias?

Harsh? Sure.

But come on, ya gotta ask:

If Apple hadn’t gone all-screen, would we still be using frigging tic-tac keyboards?
If Tesla never happened, would we have a flood of electric cars from, like, everyone, now?
If SpaceX hadn’t decided to reuse rockets, would we still be dropping them in the ocean?

Yeah. Only three examples, two from controversial companies, from one controversial person. But there are thousands of other examples, from Edison to the Wright Brothers to Amazon to…heck, take one tiny example that you may have forgotten about:

If Goto.com hadn’t come up with the idea of selling search placements, would Google still be a tiny niche technical search engine (they acquired them wayyyy back in the Web 1.0 days.)

Here’s the thing: most companies creep along, terrified of getting out of their lane, doing something different, and really shaking things up. And, I’d argue, this is because people don’t realize that it’s okay they are weird, because weird is relative, and everyone is someone else’s weirdo.

“Wait, what?” you’re probably asking. “What the heck are you saying? And what is this chapter about anyway?”

Okay. Fine. Let me distill:

People who aren’t comfortable with themselves don’t realize their unique capabilities—which can hamstring entire industries.

Yes.

I know.

I’m crazy.

But bear with me for a while. Will you concede that people really aren’t taught to be resilient, confident, and independent? At least in general? At least during their formative years? Will you concede that there are hard lessons—from derisive laughter to split lips—that can be part of “not fitting in?”

Will you concede now that it could be worse, now that we have social media? Will you accept social media can mean people are exposed to much, much more criticism than ever before? More hateful attacks from peers content to hide behind a keyboard, passive-aggressive bullies made brave by anonymity?

And will you concede there may be ramifications later in life?

I mean, if people aren’t comfortable with themselves—if they haven’t internalized “Everyone is someone else’s weirdo,” then this can be hugely damaging. First, in pressure to conform, to not question, to accept things as they are. Second, in a reluctance to embrace what is truly unique about themselves, to discover what they can truly achieve. And third, an extension of this conformity, this acceptance of the status quo, to everything they do…

…which is why nobody ever expected “no keyboard” as an iPhone direction.

Sigh.


What?

So what is all this blather?

Consider this a business chapter. Or a philosophy chapter. Or a bit of both.

If it makes you feel better about yourself, that’s great. If it convinces you to launch a crazy little company that makes you happy, that’s even better. If it is the final kick in the ass you need to do something that literally changes the world, send me a thank-you card when you’re the world’s first trillionaire.


Weird is Relative

First, let me try to convince you the title here is absolute truth.

This really shouldn’t be that hard. I mean, pretty much all of us belong to a strange subset of humanity known as “people who obsess about sound, and are willing to spend a decent chunk of coin to achieve aural happiness.”

To be clear: this is weird. This is VERY weird. I mean, most of humanity would rather be watching the sportsball on their 86” TV, right?

But watch what happens:

What sportsball?
What team?
What TV brand?
What display technology?
Maybe fishing would be better?
Or golf?
Or spreadsheets?
Or designing a new logo?
Or coming up with a new menu?
Or architecting the house the TV is in?
Or **** it, just give me a dive boat?
Or nah, I’m going to space…

See what I did here?

I started with a specific, somewhat bizarre niche (audiophilia) and countered with an expected generic (sitting on couch watching sportsball on big TV).

But as soon as you start drilling down into the generic, it gets highly specific.

What kind of sports are you watching? What team do you root for? What TV do you watch it on? What display technology? These all have their own fandom, their own niches, their own weird.

Drill down more into who’s sitting in front of that TV, and things Balkanize even more.

I mean, you have people who love fishing. There are people who are as into fishing as we are into audio gear. Heck, there are people more into fishing than we are into audio gear. Well, most of us.

To the audio dood, the fisherperson is weird.

To the fisherperson, the audio dood is weird.

Both are fine.

Here’s why: just in the above-mentioned example, you also have people who love spreadsheets (maybe accountants, maybe someone else), designers and marketers, chefs, architects, crazy guys who live on boats or want to go to space, and more, depending on your interpretation.

Every single one of these groups is strange to the other. Weird. Sometimes seemingly unknowable.

I mean, our accountant clearly gets great pleasure in dealing with money and numbers. I’d shoot myself in the head. Nearly literally.

I’m really happy there are accountants in the world, though!

I’m also really happy there are fishermen (fisherpersons?), designers, engineers (who don’t do audio), doctors, dive boat captains, chefs, crazy space-obsessed peeps, and more. They may be weeeeeiiirddddd, but I can’t do it all!

Without weird, the world would be a very boring place.

Wait.

Wait a sec.

I’m hearing it. Someone is saying, “Well, it seems everything is actually fine, despite Stoddard’s dire description. Seems like we’re all doing our own weird thing without any problems.”

Ah. No.

Sure, there are many specialties. And many different kinds of people. But you have to ask yourself:

How many of these people decided to do what they love…only after fighting with their own internal prejudices against their “inner weird?”
How many of these people are just copying what everyone else does in their field?

Seriously. As far as resisting the call of your weird, come on—how old were you when you realized that certain fields weren’t exactly, ah, what was expected? How did this influence your career choice?

I mean, hey, I went into engineering mainly because I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to be a doctor (but was convinced this was stupid because of the long educational track), and then I wanted to be a photographer (but was convinced this was stupid because I was “smarter than that”), and I wanted to be a writer (but I knew this was stupid if I wanted to ever live without a patron). In the end, it worked out well, but only after a 20-year detour into marketing, and only in a field that many engineers consider “boring” and “solved”: audio.

And it took a 20-year detour to realize: holy moly, most of what we were doing in marketing was either:
  • Boring
  • Wrong
  • Ineffective
And it took a global economic crisis for me to get off my ass and do an audio company.

And it took me looking at this as a “fun,” “hobby” company to embrace my weird and create a company with an offensive name and oddball branding that rejected pretty much everything about high-end audio: the high prices, the dealer network, the stuffy attitude.

So yeah, 20 years…crisis deconditioning…and finally I learn to say, “Weird is…fantastic!”

Onwards and upwards.


Weirdness is Power

“So how do I get a taste of this fantastic weird stuff?” you might ask.

First, remember the TV example above: as soon as you start drilling down into any seemingly monolithic group, there’s gonna be infinite weird. The dood who is all about the Steelers may think the guy who’s hella into fishin’ is totally bizarre, and the gal who’s forging her own knives will think the woman who works in advertising is from another world.

(And that’s before you get to their other hobbies!)

So, first point: any digging uncovers infinite weird. That includes you.

Also, remember that the world isn’t going to work—at all—if everyone sits home and watches TV. Or if everyone is an accountant. Or if everyone fishes. Or designs buildings. Or loves audio. Or is totally into coffee. All of these people may think the next is “weird.” But all the variations of weird are necessary.

Point two: weird is interconnected. And that’s what makes the world work.

“But I know a biker who makes delicate chocolate bon-bons and sells them as Bob’s Fat-Fingered Bon-Bons out of a food truck in Sinton,” you say. “Isn’t that a bit too far out on the weird axis?”

Reality check: if fat-fingered Bob’s bon-bons makes him a living and he’s happy doing it, then it ain’t too far out on the weird axis. In fact, it’s perfectly fine. It also proves the next point. Because would you have remembered Le Chene French Chocolatier in Santa Barbara?

Which brings me to my next point…

Point three: weird is memorable. And memorability is valuable.

Doubt it? Nope. Memorability is arguably the key component of branding, which companies spend millions of dollars on. Tens of millions. Hundreds of millions. Hell, over decades, billions have been pumped down the rabbit hole of non-memorable brands like Tide and Toyota to raise them to the ubiquitous standard-bearers they are now.

Here’s the thing: start with something memorable, like Fat-Fingered Fred’s Bon-Bons or Schiit, and the investment goes wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy down.

“But you’re limiting your audience,” someone cries.

And they’re right. Absolutely. More people are going to go with the boring option. Because you’re taught that it is the safe choice, the sane choice, the right choice, the middle path (in other words, the thing that ain’t weird, even though we are all weird, and even though lots of people choosing the same old thing is profoundly weird in itself, but we can’t see it, because that’s How It Is).

But maybe it’s time for it NOT to be How It Is. And maybe you aren’t aiming to make your company an eye-to-eye competitor to a global behemoth. And maybe that’s the absolute right thing to do—as I said, way back in one of the very first chapters of this book, building a global brand from nothing is an activity reserved for enterprises with stunningly deep pockets, the ability to look at advertising and marketing spends in the billions of dollars and not flinch.

No start-up, no matter how much VC they get, can match that. Period.

Stop. Go back. Read that. Trying to create a new generic giant is stupid. Full stop.

So…standing toe-to-toe with the Big Boring shouldn’t be your goal. Choose a niche, weird it up, and own it. The weirder, the more memorable. The more memorable, the less you have to spend on branding.

Point four: weird can be a superpower.

A superpower? Yes.

Want to have a company that’s immune to market conditions and doesn’t have to worry about competitors? Then you want to be Zamboni, not Ford.

Wonder why companies like Maglite seem to hang around and never go away? Because they’ve embraced their weird, found their niche, and owned it. They realized the real game isn’t trying to play on the giants’ field (where the giant will always win)—they changed the rules.

“Well, what if you’re too weird?” you ask. “Isn’t being ‘too far out there’ a problem?”

Sure. It can be.

But if you’re awake—if you pay attention—if you double down on what’s working and tweak or eliminate what’s not—then you’re going to be fine.

Remember, the recent phenomenon of betting big with one giant shot, trying to create a unicorn with tons of money shoved into a possibly-promising field, is just that—a recent phenomenon. Most successful companies got that way by doing something within reach, seeing if it works, and doing more if it’s a winner. Most did not leap fully-formed onto the national stage, propelled by VC and IPOs to feed a marketing maw to reach the masses.

Most successful companies were, ya know, a little (or a lot) weird. They tried some things, learned some lessons, adjusted, and grew.

Make weird your superpower. Who knows where it might go? Maybe far enough to change the world.

Point five: In a world where everyone is weird, it’s all fine.

I know, I know, being weird is hard. You remembering being laughed at. You remember being the last-one-picked. You remember being cut out of the “in” crowd.

But go back to Joe Sportsball watching TV. Start breaking it down, and there’s infinite Balkanization everywhere.

But there are also infinite opportunities to connect. Heck, maybe you even like the same particular display technology. Or maybe it’s nothing to do with that, but your job or your family or your town or your hobbies that connect you.

Bottom line, you can find your tribe easier than ever before. And, if you want to start a business, it’s easier than ever to connect to the people who fit with your own personal oddities. I mean, hey, look at Schiit.

Everybody is weird in many ways. And that’s all right.


So, Again: What?

Some of you are still wondering, “Okay, what’s the point? What do I do with this chapter?”

Great question.

Unfortunately, I may not be able to answer it. Not completely. Not with total clarity. I mean, this is (more than ususal) a stream of consciousness, an indication of what my brain is chewing on. It’s a reflection of my desire to see more weird crazy funky startups out there, rather than the same few generic brands stuffed down my search results by the big e-commerce name. It’s also me saying, “it really is fine, be weird, do the strange, be unexpected and bizarre,” to everyone out there, because I am truly happy there are people who love doing accounting and brain surgery and painting and underwater welding and performance art. Well, maybe the last one is a bit weird, but I’m willing to be convinced.

It’s also a reflection of my own prejudices, my “weird filter.” I like weird things. I like weird things with a story. I like weird things that are wayyyy out there.

An example: last weekend, Rina and I went exploring. She wanted to look at antiques (and ended up picking up a 1868 single-thread sewing machine—a technology she didn’t even know existed—that worked…there you go, we are both weird). Being not so interested in antiques, I checked Google Maps for breweries. Nada. Sigh. But there was a distillery. A very, very weird distillery. Called “Justice Label,” the graphic design on their products was apparently done by a talented-but-slightly-insane 4-year-old. They made moonshine (flavored!), whiskey, vodka and rum. They built their own stills. Yes, stills. They held classes on how to start up a distillery, including all the federal and licensing stuff, because “competition is what made the country great.” They sold gift baskets that included cans of Sprite. Their names were literally Jason Justice and Jack Justice. To be totally clear, these people are completely insane. This was great. I had to go. I had to go so bad that I waited, in the rain, for someone to come in a half hour after their scheduled opening time. And I bought a bunch of stuff (their 17x distilled vodka, made from local corn, is amazing). I love this crazy company (which also does a pink unicorn-themed candy-flavored vodka, because you know, why not—but, full disclosure, I didn’t try this one, because, yeah, sometimes it can get a bit too weird). I want to see more stuff like this!

This chapter is also a bit of an indication on where we’re going as a company. Last year, we went nuts with the Loki Max, a completely insane product that I never really expected to perfect. This year, we’re getting ready to lob a couple of crazy ideas at people, much weirder ideas than an remote-controlled equalizer.

These could be the best ideas we’ve ever had, or they could fall flat.

Now, don’t panic: even if both fall flat, it’s not a big deal, because we really, really believe the try-and-tweak-don’t-bet-the-farm model. If both go nowhere, it’s a bug on the windscreen, and we move on.

But if even one of them strikes a chord…yikes.

Again, we’ll see. We may be crazy. And the next chapter will likely be an introduction of a completely sane, top-of-class, pretty much irreproachable product. Nothing crazy at all. Almost boring, if it wasn’t so exciting in absolute, stark, black-and-white, non-weird terms.

But I blather on.

Let’s leave it at this: everyone is weird, but not everyone realizes weird is their superpower. And if you can harness your weird, you may end up with an enterprise that changes the world.

Go weird!
 
Schiit Audio Stay updated on Schiit Audio at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
https://www.facebook.com/Schiit/ http://www.schiit.com/
Jan 12, 2022 at 10:46 AM Post #87,352 of 87,971

Paladin79

Member of the Trade: Cables For Less
Joined
Jun 1, 2016
Posts
8,862
Likes
22,873
Location
Indiana
2022, Chapter 1
Everyone Is Someone Else’s Weirdo


On top of the Weirdest. Year. Ever. chapter, I’m going to pile on.

Because I think this is an important point. Maybe the most important point ever.

I know, I know. You cross your arms. You harrumph and squirm. But bear with me a while. Ask yourself: How much stupidity has happened because “I wanted to fit in,” or “all our competitors are doing it?”

Answer: maybe all of it.

I mean, come on. What is the logical endpoint of “everyone else is doing it” other than the psychosis of Mutually Assured Destruction and Brave New World dystopias?

Harsh? Sure.

But come on, ya gotta ask:

If Apple hadn’t gone all-screen, would we still be using frigging tic-tac keyboards?
If Tesla never happened, would we have a flood of electric cars from, like, everyone, now?
If SpaceX hadn’t decided to reuse rockets, would we still be dropping them in the ocean?

Yeah. Only three examples, two from controversial companies, from one controversial person. But there are thousands of other examples, from Edison to the Wright Brothers to Amazon to…heck, take one tiny example that you may have forgotten about:

If Goto.com hadn’t come up with the idea of selling search placements, would Google still be a tiny niche technical search engine (they acquired them wayyyy back in the Web 1.0 days.)

Here’s the thing: most companies creep along, terrified of getting out of their lane, doing something different, and really shaking things up. And, I’d argue, this is because people don’t realize that it’s okay they are weird, because weird is relative, and everyone is someone else’s weirdo.

“Wait, what?” you’re probably asking. “What the heck are you saying? And what is this chapter about anyway?”

Okay. Fine. Let me distill:

People who aren’t comfortable with themselves don’t realize their unique capabilities—which can hamstring entire industries.

Yes.

I know.

I’m crazy.

But bear with me for a while. Will you concede that people really aren’t taught to be resilient, confident, and independent? At least in general? At least during their formative years? Will you concede that there are hard lessons—from derisive laughter to split lips—that can be part of “not fitting in?”

Will you concede now that it could be worse, now that we have social media? Will you accept social media can mean people are exposed to much, much more criticism than ever before? More hateful attacks from peers content to hide behind a keyboard, passive-aggressive bullies made brave by anonymity?

And will you concede there may be ramifications later in life?

I mean, if people aren’t comfortable with themselves—if they haven’t internalized “Everyone is someone else’s weirdo,” then this can be hugely damaging. First, in pressure to conform, to not question, to accept things as they are. Second, in a reluctance to embrace what is truly unique about themselves, to discover what they can truly achieve. And third, an extension of this conformity, this acceptance of the status quo, to everything they do…

…which is why nobody ever expected “no keyboard” as an iPhone direction.

Sigh.


What?

So what is all this blather?

Consider this a business chapter. Or a philosophy chapter. Or a bit of both.

If it makes you feel better about yourself, that’s great. If it convinces you to launch a crazy little company that makes you happy, that’s even better. If it is the final kick in the ass you need to do something that literally changes the world, send me a thank-you card when you’re the world’s first trillionaire.


Weird is Relative

First, let me try to convince you the title here is absolute truth.

This really shouldn’t be that hard. I mean, pretty much all of us belong to a strange subset of humanity known as “people who obsess about sound, and are willing to spend a decent chunk of coin to achieve aural happiness.”

To be clear: this is weird. This is VERY weird. I mean, most of humanity would rather be watching the sportsball on their 86” TV, right?

But watch what happens:

What sportsball?
What team?
What TV brand?
What display technology?
Maybe fishing would be better?
Or golf?
Or spreadsheets?
Or designing a new logo?
Or coming up with a new menu?
Or architecting the house the TV is in?
Or **** it, just give me a dive boat?
Or nah, I’m going to space…

See what I did here?

I started with a specific, somewhat bizarre niche (audiophilia) and countered with an expected generic (sitting on couch watching sportsball on big TV).

But as soon as you start drilling down into the generic, it gets highly specific.

What kind of sports are you watching? What team do you root for? What TV do you watch it on? What display technology? These all have their own fandom, their own niches, their own weird.

Drill down more into who’s sitting in front of that TV, and things Balkanize even more.

I mean, you have people who love fishing. There are people who are as into fishing as we are into audio gear. Heck, there are people more into fishing than we are into audio gear. Well, most of us.

To the audio dood, the fisherperson is weird.

To the fisherperson, the audio dood is weird.

Both are fine.

Here’s why: just in the above-mentioned example, you also have people who love spreadsheets (maybe accountants, maybe someone else), designers and marketers, chefs, architects, crazy guys who live on boats or want to go to space, and more, depending on your interpretation.

Every single one of these groups is strange to the other. Weird. Sometimes seemingly unknowable.

I mean, our accountant clearly gets great pleasure in dealing with money and numbers. I’d shoot myself in the head. Nearly literally.

I’m really happy there are accountants in the world, though!

I’m also really happy there are fishermen (fisherpersons?), designers, engineers (who don’t do audio), doctors, dive boat captains, chefs, crazy space-obsessed peeps, and more. They may be weeeeeiiirddddd, but I can’t do it all!

Without weird, the world would be a very boring place.

Wait.

Wait a sec.

I’m hearing it. Someone is saying, “Well, it seems everything is actually fine, despite Stoddard’s dire description. Seems like we’re all doing our own weird thing without any problems.”

Ah. No.

Sure, there are many specialties. And many different kinds of people. But you have to ask yourself:

How many of these people decided to do what they love…only after fighting with their own internal prejudices against their “inner weird?”
How many of these people are just copying what everyone else does in their field?

Seriously. As far as resisting the call of your weird, come on—how old were you when you realized that certain fields weren’t exactly, ah, what was expected? How did this influence your career choice?

I mean, hey, I went into engineering mainly because I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to be a doctor (but was convinced this was stupid because of the long educational track), and then I wanted to be a photographer (but was convinced this was stupid because I was “smarter than that”), and I wanted to be a writer (but I knew this was stupid if I wanted to ever live without a patron). In the end, it worked out well, but only after a 20-year detour into marketing, and only in a field that many engineers consider “boring” and “solved”: audio.

And it took a 20-year detour to realize: holy moly, most of what we were doing in marketing was either:
  • Boring
  • Wrong
  • Ineffective
And it took a global economic crisis for me to get off my ass and do an audio company.

And it took me looking at this as a “fun,” “hobby” company to embrace my weird and create a company with an offensive name and oddball branding that rejected pretty much everything about high-end audio: the high prices, the dealer network, the stuffy attitude.

So yeah, 20 years…crisis deconditioning…and finally I learn to say, “Weird is…fantastic!”

Onwards and upwards.


Weirdness is Power

“So how do I get a taste of this fantastic weird stuff?” you might ask.

First, remember the TV example above: as soon as you start drilling down into any seemingly monolithic group, there’s gonna be infinite weird. The dood who is all about the Steelers may think the guy who’s hella into fishin’ is totally bizarre, and the gal who’s forging her own knives will think the woman who works in advertising is from another world.

(And that’s before you get to their other hobbies!)

So, first point: any digging uncovers infinite weird. That includes you.

Also, remember that the world isn’t going to work—at all—if everyone sits home and watches TV. Or if everyone is an accountant. Or if everyone fishes. Or designs buildings. Or loves audio. Or is totally into coffee. All of these people may think the next is “weird.” But all the variations of weird are necessary.

Point two: weird is interconnected. And that’s what makes the world work.

“But I know a biker who makes delicate chocolate bon-bons and sells them as Bob’s Fat-Fingered Bon-Bons out of a food truck in Sinton,” you say. “Isn’t that a bit too far out on the weird axis?”

Reality check: if fat-fingered Bob’s bon-bons makes him a living and he’s happy doing it, then it ain’t too far out on the weird axis. In fact, it’s perfectly fine. It also proves the next point. Because would you have remembered Le Chene French Chocolatier in Santa Barbara?

Which brings me to my next point…

Point three: weird is memorable. And memorability is valuable.

Doubt it? Nope. Memorability is arguably the key component of branding, which companies spend millions of dollars on. Tens of millions. Hundreds of millions. Hell, over decades, billions have been pumped down the rabbit hole of non-memorable brands like Tide and Toyota to raise them to the ubiquitous standard-bearers they are now.

Here’s the thing: start with something memorable, like Fat-Fingered Fred’s Bon-Bons or Schiit, and the investment goes wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy down.

“But you’re limiting your audience,” someone cries.

And they’re right. Absolutely. More people are going to go with the boring option. Because you’re taught that it is the safe choice, the sane choice, the right choice, the middle path (in other words, the thing that ain’t weird, even though we are all weird, and even though lots of people choosing the same old thing is profoundly weird in itself, but we can’t see it, because that’s How It Is).

But maybe it’s time for it NOT to be How It Is. And maybe you aren’t aiming to make your company an eye-to-eye competitor to a global behemoth. And maybe that’s the absolute right thing to do—as I said, way back in one of the very first chapters of this book, building a global brand from nothing is an activity reserved for enterprises with stunningly deep pockets, the ability to look at advertising and marketing spends in the billions of dollars and not flinch.

No start-up, no matter how much VC they get, can match that. Period.

Stop. Go back. Read that. Trying to create a new generic giant is stupid. Full stop.

So…standing toe-to-toe with the Big Boring shouldn’t be your goal. Choose a niche, weird it up, and own it. The weirder, the more memorable. The more memorable, the less you have to spend on branding.

Point four: weird can be a superpower.

A superpower? Yes.

Want to have a company that’s immune to market conditions and doesn’t have to worry about competitors? Then you want to be Zamboni, not Ford.

Wonder why companies like Maglite seem to hang around and never go away? Because they’ve embraced their weird, found their niche, and owned it. They realized the real game isn’t trying to play on the giants’ field (where the giant will always win)—they changed the rules.

“Well, what if you’re too weird?” you ask. “Isn’t being ‘too far out there’ a problem?”

Sure. It can be.

But if you’re awake—if you pay attention—if you double down on what’s working and tweak or eliminate what’s not—then you’re going to be fine.

Remember, the recent phenomenon of betting big with one giant shot, trying to create a unicorn with tons of money shoved into a possibly-promising field, is just that—a recent phenomenon. Most successful companies got that way by doing something within reach, seeing if it works, and doing more if it’s a winner. Most did not leap fully-formed onto the national stage, propelled by VC and IPOs to feed a marketing maw to reach the masses.

Most successful companies were, ya know, a little (or a lot) weird. They tried some things, learned some lessons, adjusted, and grew.

Make weird your superpower. Who knows where it might go? Maybe far enough to change the world.

Point five: In a world where everyone is weird, it’s all fine.

I know, I know, being weird is hard. You remembering being laughed at. You remember being the last-one-picked. You remember being cut out of the “in” crowd.

But go back to Joe Sportsball watching TV. Start breaking it down, and there’s infinite Balkanization everywhere.

But there are also infinite opportunities to connect. Heck, maybe you even like the same particular display technology. Or maybe it’s nothing to do with that, but your job or your family or your town or your hobbies that connect you.

Bottom line, you can find your tribe easier than ever before. And, if you want to start a business, it’s easier than ever to connect to the people who fit with your own personal oddities. I mean, hey, look at Schiit.

Everybody is weird in many ways. And that’s all right.


So, Again: What?

Some of you are still wondering, “Okay, what’s the point? What do I do with this chapter?”

Great question.

Unfortunately, I may not be able to answer it. Not completely. Not with total clarity. I mean, this is (more than ususal) a stream of consciousness, an indication of what my brain is chewing on. It’s a reflection of my desire to see more weird crazy funky startups out there, rather than the same few generic brands stuffed down my search results by the big e-commerce name. It’s also me saying, “it really is fine, be weird, do the strange, be unexpected and bizarre,” to everyone out there, because I am truly happy there are people who love doing accounting and brain surgery and painting and underwater welding and performance art. Well, maybe the last one is a bit weird, but I’m willing to be convinced.

It’s also a reflection of my own prejudices, my “weird filter.” I like weird things. I like weird things with a story. I like weird things that are wayyyy out there.

An example: last weekend, Rina and I went exploring. She wanted to look at antiques (and ended up picking up a 1868 single-thread sewing machine—a technology she didn’t even know existed—that worked…there you go, we are both weird). Being not so interested in antiques, I checked Google Maps for breweries. Nada. Sigh. But there was a distillery. A very, very weird distillery. Called “Justice Label,” the graphic design on their products was apparently done by a talented-but-slightly-insane 4-year-old. They made moonshine (flavored!), whiskey, vodka and rum. They built their own stills. Yes, stills. They held classes on how to start up a distillery, including all the federal and licensing stuff, because “competition is what made the country great.” They sold gift baskets that included cans of Sprite. Their names were literally Jason Justice and Jack Justice. To be totally clear, these people are completely insane. This was great. I had to go. I had to go so bad that I waited, in the rain, for someone to come in a half hour after their scheduled opening time. And I bought a bunch of stuff (their 17x distilled vodka, made from local corn, is amazing). I love this crazy company (which also does a pink unicorn-themed candy-flavored vodka, because you know, why not—but, full disclosure, I didn’t try this one, because, yeah, sometimes it can get a bit too weird). I want to see more stuff like this!

This chapter is also a bit of an indication on where we’re going as a company. Last year, we went nuts with the Loki Max, a completely insane product that I never really expected to perfect. This year, we’re getting ready to lob a couple of crazy ideas at people, much weirder ideas than an remote-controlled equalizer.

These could be the best ideas we’ve ever had, or they could fall flat.

Now, don’t panic: even if both fall flat, it’s not a big deal, because we really, really believe the try-and-tweak-don’t-bet-the-farm model. If both go nowhere, it’s a bug on the windscreen, and we move on.

But if even one of them strikes a chord…yikes.

Again, we’ll see. We may be crazy. And the next chapter will likely be an introduction of a completely sane, top-of-class, pretty much irreproachable product. Nothing crazy at all. Almost boring, if it wasn’t so exciting in absolute, stark, black-and-white, non-weird terms.

But I blather on.

Let’s leave it at this: everyone is weird, but not everyone realizes weird is their superpower. And if you can harness your weird, you may end up with an enterprise that changes the world.

Go weird!
Well that was certainly weird. :ksc75smile:
 
Jan 12, 2022 at 10:48 AM Post #87,353 of 87,971

FLTWS

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:laughing:
 
Jan 12, 2022 at 11:21 AM Post #87,354 of 87,971

chronoso

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Last night Roon Radio played a track that is seriously breaking my brain.
The soundstage moved so far back towards the listening position and left/right that I thought that I had surround sound. I don't.
Anyone want to tell me what's going on here? Start with the title track.

https://open.qobuz.com/album/sa4w4gax36vib

For those without Qobuz the album is-

JME.jpg
That is definitely an odd mix. In headphones it sounds like I'm sitting in front of my speakers. To your point, it's like only the side/rear surround speakers were working in a 7.1 system
 
Jan 12, 2022 at 11:50 AM Post #87,355 of 87,971

StimpyWan

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Well that was certainly weird. :ksc75smile:

It didn't seem weird to me! It made sense. But, I don't know if that's good or bad? Or, just different. Does that make me weird too??? :grinning:

Heck, most of the people I know are weird. Some so weird, they don't even know it...! :relaxed: :upside_down:
 
Last edited:
Jan 12, 2022 at 11:53 AM Post #87,356 of 87,971

yonson

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My flight deck.
1641983465105.png
I don't do flight, but I do racing...
sim_rig.jpg
 
Jan 12, 2022 at 12:08 PM Post #87,357 of 87,971

Paladin79

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It didn't seem weird to me! It made sense. But, I don't know if that's good or bad? Or, just different. Does that make me weird too??? :grinning:

Heck, most of the people I know are weird. Some so weird, they don't even know it...! :relaxed: :upside_down:
I was joking of course. :beerchug: I was taught early on to think outside the box and some of my best employees have done that. I was also taught to listen to any idea no matter how absurd it might sound at first since it might lead you to think in another direction. I am to the point of winding down my career and just doing a bit of consulting in retirement but it is always fun for me to look back at what I learned along the way.
 
Jan 12, 2022 at 12:10 PM Post #87,358 of 87,971

KoshNaranek

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Jan 12, 2022 at 12:55 PM Post #87,359 of 87,971

Mike-WI

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Please tell me you accidently left off the . before the 8, because an 8mm stone is HUGE!!!
Kidney stones > 5mm generally don't pass spontaneously.

8mm isn't huge but likely around average.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-95962-z#Sec7

Kidney stone measurements​

Stone size as determined using a digital caliper served as reference standard with an average stone size of 8.8 ± 2.9 mm ranging from 4 to 15 mm, while CT-based measurements systematically underestimated stone size (7.7 ± 2.7 mm; when averaging all measurements; p < 0.05); yet, Man-M and CT-based measurements showed a good correlation (p < 0.05, r = 0.70), (Table 2).
 

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