Lukas Z's Blog

Attention - How to Compete With Dostoevsky

After we write a book, or compose a song, or program an app we need to market it. (Ideally, thinking about marketing comes first, though.) But how can we compete?

Look at the explosion of production on Youtube. Or Spotify. On Social Media. Why should they choose our work instead of someone else’s? Why should they gives us their attention?

And we don’t only compete with all of that, but with everything that came before. “Brooklyn 99” may be a fun show to watch, but we can just as well watch old episodes of “Friends” or “Seinfeld”. We can read the new book by soandso, but we can also read Dostoevsky. In fact, we probably should read the older books, because there is a reason that something is still talked about after so many years.

One opportunity could be that the recent stuff is more relevant. Disco music was great three or four decades ago. Now our taste has changed. (I should read a new novel. I would like to know if for example the characters in current books stare at their phones all the time..)

Another chance might be to surpass the old. What if the new has a good chance of being better than the old? Because the new can use the old and pick the best parts.

Be as it may, in 2020 the choices for consumption are limitless. In every genre there are so many alternatives. Maybe there really is no reason to stick with one show, one author, one band unless we really love something about them. Their style, their philosophy or the kind of music they make.

Consistency may be key. Perhaps with some we can each time be sure that their content is good for us.

I assume many people prefer to go to McDonalds because they know that their expectations will be satisfied. Even if we try a new hamburger, we can be pretty sure it won’t be horrible. (This is of course assuming we don’t consider McDonalds food generally horrible.)

Be as it may, attention is like the Spice in the Dune novels. It’s the most valuable “substance” there is. I suppose we must earn it. And then keep earning it.

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