Too Crazy To Succeed?
Why wild ideas fail . . . at first
Punk rock was born in 1976 and it was too crazy to succeed. It received no radio play, attracted small crowds and made no money. Hip Hop was born in New York at the same time and followed a similar path.
But NOW we view punk rock as one of the most influential movements of popular music. Hip Hop has spent decades at the top of the charts, ruling the music genres.
Simply put, in the late ’70s, Punk and Hip Hop were just too radical. The mainstream was dominated by prog-rock and disco. The notion of these DIY movements led by unskilled musicians, talking about social issues, with an anti-social stance and aggressive styling was just too much.
These ideas failed… at first.
So why are they now such mainstream ideas? (yes, punk is mainstream now… Green Day!)
These wild ideas failed because they fell too far away from what people already knew and liked. That was the whole point. For your average middle-class suburbanite, the music was unrelatable and the attitude foreign.
But the longer these movements persisted, the more familiar they slowly became. Until, gradually, they were assimilated into the mainstream. Once they were around long enough, they became ‘safe’, they had a ‘track record’ and the mainstream deemed them then worthy of attention.
That Fantastic Idea Of Yours
This is often what happens with true visionaries. BECAUSE they are true visionaries, the average person has a hard time getting a handle on their ideas. As a result, uptake is slow and nine times out of ten, that idea disappears into the dark of history without ever being seen again.
This gives you essentially two choices
1. Modify your idea. Reduce it, dilute it, bring it a little bit closer to what is already known and accepted so that it isn’t such a huge leap for the public. They slowly upgrade it until you’re back where your original idea started.
2. Stay in it for the long term. The reason why Punk and Hip Hop made it into the mainstream was that those two things just refused to die and go away. Wave after wave of youth DID discover them and got involved and added to the library of content… until that wave broke into the mainstream
Fear Of The New
Humans beings fear the unknown and they resist change. New ideas, new music, anything very far ahead of where we are now, make us fearful and reluctant to engage.
If you think this is just about music, think again. Remember Google Glass? That idea was just too radical when it first came out… so radical that it incited violence and severe backlash. Google pulled it from the market.
Slowly but surely though, the market is moving that way, where more and more devices are internet ready, recording what you do and say. And Google didn’t give up! In fact, Google Glass is now a factory tool, where it has a second lease on life. It won’t be long before it comes back to the public.
If your ideas don’t fly at first, ask yourself: is this just too radical? Should/could I tone it down a little? And if you’re not prepared to do that, settle in for a long ride because it could be ten years or so before the market is ready for what you already know!
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