Marketing Cringe

Weekly I/O#80


When marketing our work, we must feel a bit cringe. Zero cringe can be suboptimal because it either means we are not being authentic or we are tasteless.

Podcast: Y Combinator CEO: The Key To Writing For Startups & Entrepreneurs | Garry Tan | How I Write Podcast

When we do marketing, how much cringe is the right amount of cringe? I find myself hesitating each time I'm about to share my work on social media because I cringe a bit. This idea from Garry Tan, the CEO of Y Combinator, might shed light on why having some cringe is good.

According to Gary, a certain level of discomfort or 'cringe' is essential in marketing. Zero cringe is probably suboptimal because if we don't feel any cringe, we are probably not being authentic. Being zero cringe could indicate either we are totally tasteless or we are just following the current trends, both of which fail to incorporate our unique essence and can quickly become outdated.

In Gary's words, "being yourself is always a little bit weird, and it doesn't seem numerically possible to have zero cringe and be authentic." This idea also echoes what the illustrator Worry Lines said in this post, "If I'm cringing just a little bit, it's probably about right."


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