October 20, 2017•575 words
I hate marketing. There, I said it. I hate hate hate marketing. Reaching out to people, forming new “connections”, networking—I cannot stand even the thought of imagining myself at a tech conference. I hate the thought of approaching strangers and trying to somehow mention or convince them of me or my product. Apart from my wife and a few long-standing friends, I am notoriously bad at up-keeping relationships.
Marketing for me is something I haven’t been able to learn like other things. If you want to learn to program, well, that’s easy: just follow the tutorials. If you want to learn to write, well, that’s easy-ish: read a lot and be observant. But there are no “tutorials” for marketing. You might say it’s an art form, but if it were, it would be some cursed, wicked form of art.
Marketing is the only field I know where once a new strategy has been tried and is found to work, it completely stops working. Meaning, if someone discovers a new way of clever marketing, it’s immediately copied by all, and is thus rendered useless. Marketing seems to be “the art of sticking out”, and when everyone does the same thing, well, that’s the opposite of marketing.
As for me, I just want to code. That’s all I ever think about doing. But coding, at least in my current stage, is a guilty pleasure. I know I shouldn’t be doing it. I should be marketing. Getting more people attracted to my project. Reaching out. Ekh.
At first, I tried to embrace my hatred towards marketing as a learning opportunity. “Hey, here’s something challenging and rewarding, can’t wait to learn all about it!” But I haven’t really made any progress, other than blind luck. And that’s just it: it seems there’s a huge luck factor involved in marketing, especially (or actually, particularly) when you’re working with a zero marketing budget. And when my fate hangs by a wire, “luck” is not something I want to be toying with.
I need consistency. Reproducibility. Calculability. Marketing and networking offer none of those. I know people who are so good at networking that it upsets me and boggles my mind at the same time. There’s a pretty great Netflix show called Atypical about an autistic teenager named Sam who functions almost “normally” except for the fact that he struggles to understand normal social cues and interactions. But in a sense, you don’t have to be on the spectrum to struggle with making sense of all the kinds of relationships and their subtleties.
When a friend explains networking to me, I am utterly baffled. “Wait, so you’re saying you reach out to random people you don’t know if you’ll like or not, sit through an hour lunch with them while you try not to talk with your mouth full, and call it a wrap until you do it again a few months later? And then you have to email them every month or so to keep the relationship ‘active’? And you have to go out of your way to do something for them in hopes that 20 years from now they might do something for you? And that on top of all that, you shouldn’t have a cynical or “reciprocal" outlook about it, but instead it’s about sincerely getting to meet new people? What in the actual fuck?”
Yeah. No thanks. I’m gonna go back to coding where things actually make sense.