Monday, March 9, 2020

The Owner's Delusion

I don't give a baker's (insert expletive here) about America's Cup yachting, who wore what on the red-carpet, or listening to the actor explain how he managed to get one of the latest Speedy Tuesday watches (probably not the wisest thing to disclose on a video interview) without actually going through the same process as, you know, everyone else, but rather by picking up the phone and playing the potential "friend of the brand" card.  I don't care what watch Cindy Crawford's face-tattoo'd son wears (let's hope that latest inking doesn't get infected).  I couldn't really give two (insert a plural expletive here) as to how clever the folks at Audemars Piguet think they might be about what bad asses they are as they can now break the rules as they have mastered them, whatever those rules are...

I will, in all likelihood, never be able to afford a Hublot at "full-pop".  While I find F1, fascinating in its way, I know the majority of sports fans in the US do not.  A tourbillon is about as useful to me as a back up Flux Capacitor, and the notion that retaining David Beckham to wear your watch for mere millions is not daring.  It's a business arrangement.

Although this is something that I've written about and spoken about at length, I was pleasantly surprised to hear someone from another industry speak about it.  Stewart Butterfield conceptualized, but didn't name it, but one of his readers/social media followers did - The Owner's Delusion.  
It is the belief of the owner (or shot caller) that what they feel is interesting, important, etc., is universally knowable.  If you can find it, check out the "How I Built This" podcast.  

As in any business, it is sometimes challenging to accept that what you think is beautiful, important, interesting is possibly not any of those things to your potential customers, or the world at large.  Remember about ten years ago when essentially every watch designer, brand manager, owner droned on and on about Wabi-Sabi?  Folks, I lived in Japan for three years, and even I had (and still have) absolutely no blessed idea what they were really referring to, other than it sounded cool.

Anyone who has ever suffered through wedding/baby/vacation photos can sympathize.  What you think, feel, believe is important,  But doesn't necessarily translate into marketing strategies.  You ever notice how there has never (to the best of my knowledge) been a Charles Manson, Pol Pot, Hitler (okay, bad example) watch?  

Make no mistake, we will continue to have watches that are nothing more than the irrational musings of a decision maker who should know better.  We will also have brand partnerships with flawed celebrities, elitist sports and potential guests of the federal penal systems.  And ultimately?  That's certainly the brand's right.  But 5,000 words about a brand's resolute savoir faire,  modern aplomb or their innate DNA, or any other nonsense is just that.  Nonsense.

Gentle Readers, the shit started getting real five years ago, and is full-on like Donkey Kong real now.  It's time to shelve the bullshit, and leave the delusional marketing in the rear view mirror.

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