Mashed Potato Spaghetti Burrito
Once upon a long time ago on a cold day that I can’t exactly remember the month, Kevin, Rob and I decided to make a trek out to check out a skateboard ramp in North Carolina which was know as the Wilson Ramp. The ramp was both beautiful and intimidating. A giant steel coated beast with 12 foot transitions and 2 feet of vert, with a smooth steel surface.
It was below freezing. We had to chip ice off the flat-bottom and the cold temperatures made the surface rock hard. Lightning fast…. and slick. Given the cold, the usual trick of coating the steel with watered down Coca-Cola was out of the question.
I don’t remember exactly how but Kevin slammed hard, hurting his hip and knee and essentially ending his session for the day. We stopped at a convenience store to get him a bottle of very cheap I can’t remember what in order to help him numb his pain.
On the way home, getting hungry, we stopped at a Denny’s in order to take advantage of the all you can eat buffet. I got my food and sat down, and Rob and I watched a somewhat (ok, not somewhat, fully) inebriated Kevin walk up to the buffet, take a tortilla, throw on some mash potatoes, some spaghetti, and then walked over the the chocolate sauce and douse the whole thing in chocolate before garnishing it with olives and sprinkles from the ice cream bar.
I immediately lost my appetite and could not contain my laughter as I watched Kevin wolf down the monster he had created knowing that there would be regret in his not too distant future. We were not disappointed as the final hour of the ride home was to the tune of what can best be described of a drunk and mournful cow moaning as if it had lost its offspring.
I used the memory of Kevin’s ungodly burrito the other day when presenting to a group of students and stressing the need for customer segmentation.
I see examples of not doing segmentation in business plans, pitch decks, and products all the time. Now that everyone is out listening to customers, they are listening to ALL of them and throwing in the kitchen sink to make sure ever piece of criticism and feedback is addressed.
In the end, the result is something that everyone has asked for, but in aggregate, no one actually wants. Your pitch deck/product has become the proverbial mashed potato spaghetti burrito with chocolate and sprinkles.
Yes, listen to customers, but it takes a little bit of extra work to figure out which customers are the ones to listen to. It takes a bit of skill to figure out what people are asking for and try to assemble something that addresses their concern, and not literally their comment.
In the future, I may spend a little time talking more about segmentation, but as I have zoom calls soon, it will have to wait for another day.