I just got back from spending the weekend in Chicago, as part of the summer program. On the bus, there was this really annoying girl. She basically kept trying to insist on what she wanted – what movie to watch on the bus, getting people to stop making noise that she didn’t like,. People got annoyed, to the point of people specifically requesting for what she didn’t want.

What’s my point in saying this? I’m not just trying to rant or defame her. But the point is this. At the risk of sounding harsh, people don’t care about what you want.

No matter who you are, that’s a fact. Most people aren’t going to care about what you want, as an individual, personal brand. It’s worse if you’re a company. People will care what you want only if you’ve built a reputation with them, such that they trust you and like you enough to care. But even then, the extent is limited, and you can’t push it too far.

It’s a relatively obvious lesson, I guess. But one that we often forget. In whatever we’re doing, whatever message we’re trying to spread, it’s not about what we want.

If you want people to listen, you can’t just be talking about what you want. You’ve got to give them what they want.