The Demand From Intrigue (a.k.a. Don’t be Pushy)


When I was in elementary and Junior High I had this awful, pervasive
crush on one girl (I won’t tell you who).

Unfortunately for me, she knew it. For several years, I
asked her out or to “go steady” every 6 months. I’m don’t why I thought she
would change her mind. Maybe I believed in persistence, which usually works,
but not in this case. In fact, I think it backfired. Sometimes she wouldn’t
even come to the phone because, as her sister reported, she was ‘washing her
hair’. It took me until 8th grade to wise up to that excuse!

It wasn’t until college dating that I understood the concept
of intrigue, at least as it related to dating. Remember those ‘games’…playing
“I like you, but I’m mysterious and standoff so you’ll like me more…”. Unfortunately
for my dating life, I wasn’t very good at these games.

I further learn this principle in early startups in order to
attract venture capital. The intrigue you are able to create about future
opportunity is directly proportional to the getting money and good terms.
Funding is based on the height of imagination for what the company could become
(payoff). VCs know you want money, but you’d rather commoditize their money
more than the your company and the idea of what it could become!

This idea of intrigue goes beyond supply and demand and the
scarcity principle.


In Port Aransas (a TX tourist town) there’s a restaurant
where the chef left a 5 star restaurant in Austin to slow down life and cook things HE wanted to cook. He even invented his own
dishes. This restaurant doesn’t advertise, but there’s always a wait. People
find them because it’s the locals’ best kept secret. It got out at some point,
and now tourists tell tourists this story. Demand is high not because there’s limited supply, but because it was
never pushed (and it’s good, of course)!

I would have a lower perceived value of this restaurant if I
heard this story, but then had someone shove an advertising flyer in my face
and hear two radio ads for it in the same hour for this restaurant.

Another example:

Diamonds are expensive because there is limited supply. But,
assuming supply is equal between the two, which has higher perceived value:

A. The diamond from a 70-year old master-cutter who sold to celebrities
20 years ago and now has a hole-in-the-wall jewelry shop with ‘character’.

B. Or the same diamond pushed on me every week in my mail
box from Zales.

Answer: A. From the old man, I ‘believe’ it’s a better

The idea is we don’t *yearn* for things that are pushed on
us. We may have to buy a car from the pushy sales guy, or the computer from the
catalog we got every month for the last 12 months. But more than ever before,
we already made a consideration and purchase decisions on other criteria…perceiving
benefits from less pushy sources (previous experience, reviews, word of mouth,

So, be persistent, but don’t be pushy. Instead…

  • Add intrigue, mystique and curiousity around your product which will heighten the demand.
  • Use relationships and emotional interactions to spread the word.
  • Differentiate yourself with the story that is uniquely yours, and tell it in a unique  way.
  • And most important, get your story to come from someone other than YOU!

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