Seth Godin coined the phrase “sneezers” to describe the small majority of people on the “adoption curve” that exist before early adopters. Stowe Boyd also has a pretty great article describing what these people are like. These “sneezers” are the ones who get the widget before you’ve even heard of it. They’re lined up—in costume—before the release date has been announced. You can say they’re fans, but you wouldn’t really be doing them justice.
The thing about sneezers that’s pervasive for people like you and me—people who are bloggers, online “types,” writers, businesspeople, etc.—is that we can actually use the concept of sneezing for our own purposes.How? Well, for starters, we can use the concept for something we all make a living from, at least on some level: idea generation. Yeah, I wrote an ebook that talks about idea generation quite a bit, but I thought it might be time to revisit the concepts again, this time using something we’re all familiar with.
Let’s break it down: you know those kids who are lined up outside of Harry Potter or the Twilight flick hours or days before the showing?
You know the people who are waiting in line at the mall’s Apple store in anticipation of the next iPad release?
And surely you know the people who have Amazon wish lists set up with scheduled reminders for the release of the next video game in their favorite franchise?
What each of these groups of people has in common is that they are all the type of person who would be able to “sneeze” about their adoptions—over and over again.
…And what does that mean for you?
It pretty much means that you need to find the things you “sneeze” about—or would sneeze about, given the opportunity. Are you the type of person to jump at the chance to be “first,” or type of guy who’s going to be the first person in your office to see the new Star Trek movie?
These things are our bread and butter for ideas. They are what we want, need, talk about, dream about, and have ideas about. We need to figure out what we’re “sneezing” about, and then capitalize on that single thread, extrapolating every idea from its core until we have what we need.
That’s how people invent great cases for the iPad or iPhone, and that’s how we keep an idea like a blog, book, website, or business going.
Think Steve Jobs started out trying to build the best computer in the world? Nope. He just had an idea that by building a computer (and then a music player, and then a phone, and then a…) that was simple to use and elegantly minimalistic by design, people would sneeze about it.
What’s your “sneezable” topic, industry, or product? Chances are, it’s either something you’re already blogging about or something your business is already creating. If it’s not, and you’re looking for something that will prove to be a scalable, flexible, and fruitful idea for your meme, figure out what it is you sneeze about.
For me, it’s figuring out how to “hack” and optimize our lives—to make it more enjoyable, fun, rewarding, easy, whatever—and then sharing what I find with you.
What’s your “sneezable” idea?