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The Enemy is... Boring

Something to Think About

Three meditations: something to think about, a “how-to” resource, and a marketing deep dive. Ommmmmm.

Wisdom from Paul Graham, co-founder of Y-Combinator and someone who has seen a whole lotta startups.

"How To"

Pete Larkin, shared his Thought Leadership quadrant framework with me recently. I’ve had several occasions to use it since. If you prefer knowledge and opinion leader (KOL) in your marketing, just substitute that for thought leader and everything still holds true.

subject matter expert or SME is someone with deep understanding of the topic. They are natives in an arena that is foreign to the rest of us. But that expertise doesn’t automatically come with reach.

On the other hand, having an audience and being an influencer, doesn’t automatically come with expertise. Popularity doesn’t equal competence. 

It makes logical sense that people with the most credibility would capture the most attention. But illogical or not, it just isn’t the case by default.

When both expertise AND audience come together, that’s when you have a genuine thought leader

Pete’s gone further with this idea in Trust Marketing and Thought Leadership, which he developed at Anglepoint. If your marketing program includes leveraging thought leadership and influencers, this is a great resource for honing your approach.

A Marketing Deep Dive

How to Utilize marketing Principles for Raising Capital

The enemy is… boring. 

Whatever you do in marketing, it cannot be boring. 
Boring isn’t just neutral. 
It’s hostile. 
Painful even.
Humans will go to great lengths to escape its clutches.

I recently read in The Almanac of Naval Ravikant (hardcover kindly gifted to me by Adrian Dahlin) the following attributed to Blaise Pascal,  “All of man’s troubles arise because he cannot sit in a room quietly by himself.”
Doesn’t seem like such a big deal. 

Even reading it, I doubted its profundity. 
This week I gave a presentation for The Midday Connect on marketing to investors. 

Except that I had also just read a study conducted by Timothy Wilson, et al. from 2014 about boredom. 

In this study, participants were asked to do what Pascal mentioned. 
Sit in a room by themselves. 
Keeping their own company.
Nothing but their own thoughts. 

For a day? Hours?

Only 6-15 minutes. 
That’s hardly a long time.
What did they experience?


They HATED it.


A lot.


They hated it so much that when offered the chance to deliver electric shocks to themselves rather than be totally bored…

… they did!

Well, 67% of men and 25% of women did. (I feel like I understand that Brad Paisley song “Waitin’ on a Woman” in a whole new light.)
Rather than sit quietly… they shocked themselves.

One man shocked himself 190 times

So when you’re thinking about your differentiation or positioning, it’s not just making your brand stand out or making yourself an obvious choice.

It’s rescuing your customer from what everyone else is inflicting on them.

A sky with no stars.



Painfully ordinary.



Just remember…

…people hate boredom so much, they will electrocute themselves to escape it. 

In the same study people actually reported that they would pay to avoid the shocks. 

Still, whether financial or physical, the pain was better than boredom!

One of my favorite copywriters Dean Waye shared one of his rules for what you can put on your website. It cannot be on anyone else’s. 




Lack of differentiation. 


I want to shock myself.


Don’t let that be you. 





Chad Jardine, CEO




For more about how to get the perfect fractional CMO fit for your company, check out How to Hire a Fractional CMO, the Complete Guide.




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