Malik Piara

The minority rule

Imagine a family of four where one person decides to adopt a vegan lifestyle. When you want to go out for dinner and have to pick a restaurant, you need to pick an option that is suitable for the vegan person.

Even though they are the minority, their needs make them less flexible. We can extrapolate this to extended family dinners. When instead of four people you have sixteen, the need of this person will still have a greater effect on the restaurant decision. Even though there is only one vegan person in the group.

Visualising this hidden rule can help us understand the power of inflexible minorities in society. It can also be an insight we can use to make product decisions in a strategic way.

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When most people don't have a strong opinion or preference, appealing to the ones that do, may be a good tactic to increase user acquisition and consolidate a market.

I have found this to be particularly true in products and companies operating in existing markets. There is direct competition and good substitutes.

Take messaging apps like iMessage or Signal. Or money sharing products like Paypal or Revolut. Even though most people use many, some only use one. We all have that privacy-aware friend. We need to use the same app they are using if we want to reach them.

One lesson from this story is that attempting to copy features a bigger competitor has (feature-parity) or making decisions based on how many people will use a feature may be a flawed tactic.

There may be overlooked opportunities hiding in our smallest customer segment. Go listen.


Product enablement

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