I am not sure that we do are all weird, but, of course, I do completely agree with the thesis stated in the book by Seth Godin entitled this way.

“We Are All Weird: The myth of mass and the end of compliance” is a call to action for marketers and brands to engage “in the most important revolution of our time”: the rise of the weird –weird defined as what isn’t normal, what isn’t conforming to the masses-. Nowadays, in a truly global world, the power of choice is more available than ever, and this allows the majority to find customized –weird- items in every sector and to create communities –tribes- around any hobby or idea however weird this may be.

Below, I quote a chapter about the concept of choice. I found it as clear as revealing.

Antelopes don’t have hobbies[1]

You need to be rich to be weird.

Not Rockefeller rich, of course, but rich enough to not worry about surviving. Rich enough to care about choice.

Most animals aren’t rich. Ever. They forage or hunt and if they don’t succeed (daily), they die.

(…)

The truly poor don’t get to say, “I don’t like vanilla, I want chocolate”. Rich people, a group that is more and more of the planet, are now expected to say just that. Despite the growing gulf between what politicians label as rich and poor, in much of the world even the poor are rich enough to care about what they watch or what they eat.

When people are truly poor, “Take or leave it” is an appropriate marketing strategy. Poor means no choice, so the provider gets to choose. Commodities were the best you were going to get, so marketing was primarily limited to “here, want some?” If all you can afford is beans and rice, then beans and rice is all you get. Not a lot of room for initiative or anything we might call weird.

One of the most exciting changes in the way aid flows from the richest countries is that we’re realizing that even the disadvantaged want choices, that even people we label as “poor” want control over what they do and how they do it. When we give people choice, we make them richer.

Many who  work in international development are quick to agree that people in the developing world deserve choice and want choice, but their actions belie this. The easiest knee jerk reaction is for the wealthy to decide what’s needed, and ship it out in a giant container or dispense it from the back of a truck.

Over and over, we see that when you gve people a choice, they take it.


[1] Seth GODIN, “We Are  All Weird: The myth of mass and the end of compliance”, published by Do You Zoom, Inc. 2011.