Derek Sivers

Proudly exclude people

You know you can’t please everyone, right?

But notice that most businesses are trying to be everything to everybody. And they wonder why they can’t get people’s attention!

You need to confidently exclude people, and proudly say what you’re not. By doing so, you will win the hearts of the people you want.

Hotel Café, a folk- and rock-music venue in Los Angeles, is a no-talking club. Big signs say, “No talking during performances!” Performers are encouraged to stop the show if someone is talking, and let the person know that he can go to any other club in town to talk over the music. This is the one place in LA where you can sit and really listen to the music. This, of course, makes it the most popular music venue in town.

When CD Baby got popular, I’d get calls from record labels wanting to feature their newest, hottest acts on our site.

I’d say, “Nope. They’re not allowed here.”

The record label guys would say, “Huh? What do you mean not allowed? You’re a record store! We’re a record label.”

I’d say, “You can sell anywhere else. This is a place for independents only: musicians who chose not to sign their rights over to a corporation. To make sure these musicians get the maximum exposure they deserve, no major-label acts are allowed.”

It’s a big world. You can loudly leave out 99 percent of it.

Have the confidence to know that when your target 1 percent hears you excluding the other 99 percent, the people in that 1 percent will come to you because you’ve shown how much you value them.

Anything You Want - book cover