Start Up Blog

The Feedback Trap

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on March 23, 2009

I recently heard an interview with the Drummer from band Midnight Oil, Rob Hurst. He was asked how he felt about a particular record which made it to number 1 on the US charts. His response was this:

‘We were too busy touring, putting on shows to follow the bands progress.”


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It sounded as though serving the fans they already had was more important than gaining new ones. And guess what happens when we do that? Our reputation grows and more fans arrive, they find us because we are delivering something special to those who already appreciate what we are doing.

The formula for success is to continue to focus on delivering good stuff to those who already believe in you. To improve our delivery to them. Just like Midnight Oil was continuing to perfect the live performance of it’s songs. They weren’t worrying if their songs were good enough, they weren’t focused on external feedback from sources like sales revenue or chart positions. They ignored all feedback, except that from existing fans (customers). They didn’t get caught in the feedback trap.

So what are the feedback traps of the modern entrepreneur?

–    Website traffic
–    Google analytics
–    Facebook friends
–    Twitter follows
–    AC Nielsen data
–    Market share statistics
–    (Insert feedback mechanism here)

These tools can be useful, but they also tempt us to change tack.  They tempt us into believing we are strategically wrong, because the feedback is so instant. Where as the benefits of our strategy is never so instant. Strategy takes time to work, it takes belief and patience, more over it takes ‘the real feedback’ cycle to spread before we can truly know if we have something. And the real feedback cycle is what our current customers have to say, and if they spread the word.

Startups out there – don’t fall into the feedback trap.

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2 Responses

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  1. Ross Hill said, on March 23, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Nice reminder! :)

  2. HCA_Recruiter said, on March 24, 2009 at 6:00 am

    I agree with what you’re saying, BUT it’s also important in marketing your business to do just that market it. Those feedback traps you listed are excellent low-cost ways to help you do that.

    Don’t spend all of your time and energy on those feedback traps but don’t ignore them either.

    A healthy balance will always work best; at least it has for my business :)


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