I just got a 90 minute tape of Stephen Covey speaking - really smart stuff. One of his principles is, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
Now, Covey means this in the context of interpersonal relationships. When having an argument or disagreement or trying to convince someone of something, you first try to understand their point of view before you try to make them understand yours. He puts it really well.
But taking it a step further - I think it'd be good advice for someone in entertainment or business. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. I remember I saw an interview with Will Smith, and he was talking about how he got so successful. He said that he looked at the top 10 grossing movies of the year, and nine of them were "creature movies" - for whatever reason, that kind of movie drew a lot of business. So Will Smith went out and pursued roles like Independence Day and Men in Black and got successful at that, and now he can make whatever kind of movies he wants. He still makes a lot of creature/action movies, but he also free reign to make whatever he wants.
I think it's true in business, too. Better to start with something customers already want before offering something they don't understand. There's exceptions, but not so many. Look at Amazon - they start with a really simple idea of having great information and reviews about books online, and shipping those to you quickly when you buy. Later they've added features that people wouldn't have wanted if they didn't already trust Amazon - stuff like Amazon Prime.
They can do whatever they want because they understood customers first. After that, you can ask customers to understand you when you do something a little different.
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