One of my intentions for 2018 is to re-learn to play the guitar.The challenge I’m setting for myself is to (after I actually buy a guitar) learn by heart every song on Neil Young’s album Silver and Gold, along with the Townes Van Zandt version of If I Needed You (just can’t get that song out of my head after seeing that scene on Patriot where Terry O’Quinn and Michael Dorman play the song together).So, I started shopping for a guitar recently. I figured I’d not “spend a dollar on a ten-cent decision”, so I shopped around online a bit, found a used guitar that looked pretty good and fit my budget, and then asked the seller the one question I knew would be a make or break thing for me:Does the guitar smell like cigarette smoke? That was my make or break question.The seller said no smoke smell, so I ordered the guitar and received it today.And… it smells exactly like the inside of Robert’s Western World in Nashville, TN, the smokiest place I ever spent time in in my entire life.It’s not as strong smelling as Robert’s, but it’s that same stale smoke stench. The guitar is unmistakably and unambiguously smoky.So, back to the seller it goes. 🙂The question is why did this happen?If I’m being charitable, I’d guess it’s because the person who checked out the guitar on the seller end can’t smell worth a damn, or is a smoker themselves and can’t pick up on the smell of second-hand smoke. If I’m being uncharitable, I’d guess it’s because they think I wouldn’t notice the smell, or they were flat out lying.In the end it doesn’t really matter. Bad information slowed me down. I’ll still make progress towards my goal, but I’ve got to return the guitar, wait for the refund, and then shop for another one.Not a huge deal, but a possibly avoidable mistake. I could have shopped for a guitar locally. I could have bought a less expensive guitar new. Both approaches would have avoided this mistake.To me, the dynamics of this situation are a sort of micro-version of what it’s like to make the decision about how you will specialize your business.There’s a desired outcome.There’s uncertainty.You gather information to fill in the gaps in your knowledge, or perhaps you do just a little research like I did with this guitar and barge right in without all the facts.Lots of things can work. How much research you should do in preparation for making the specialization decision is primarily a factor of your risk tolerance.-PP.S. Want help improving your positioning or marketing? I offer a small group program to help you do exactly that: http://positioningacceleratorprogram.com
Insight for Indie Consultants
Daily emails that inform, encourage, and provoke.