What critics write

Amazon created the ultimate marketing machine years ago — the customer review.

Sure. This device had been available since the beginning of time (can’t you hear cavemen reviewing the wheel?). What Amazon did, however, was let us see everyone’s opinion of the product. It’s word-of-mouth marketing on steroids.

A few decades ago, a company relied on people to talk about their product outside the store. They expected you to tell friends about your new vacuum at the next baseball game.

Now, Amazon has moved discussion from the bleachers to the actual marketplace. People hop on a product’s page and in the same minute can get dozens of opinions.

Guess which reviews are most often considered by shoppers. The highs and the lows. In fact, the 1-star reviews often convert more sales than the 5-star reviews.

But you’re not Amazon. This tactic won’t work for you. (One of the reasons my blog does not have comments.)

At Baylor, students are asked to perform semester evaluations over their professors. These are used for tenure evaluation and other review purposes. An English professor I had explained how her department chair weeds through student’s comments. “He throws out the ones that say I’m the scum of the earth, and then he throws out the ones that say I hung the moon and stars,” she said.

On the next product you ship, project you show off, or blog post you publish, do the same thing. Throw out the top and bottom reviews.

Then throw the rest.


Because they’re from critics. And critics don’t matter.

Paint the painting you want. Write the book you’d read. Sculpt the statue you see in the marble.

There will always be plenty of critics, and you’ve got a full plate as it is. Do the work that makes you happy.