How to build a 12.5 billion (with a B) dollar company by making almost everyone hate you.

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If you’re taking a stand on something. I mean really taking a stand, you’re going to have both supporters and detractors. If you’re trying to make a name for yourself, you’re going to have to make strong statements so people understand who you are, why you exist why they should care. When you make that strong statement. When you make your brand stand for something real, something is going to happen.

People are going to get pissed off.

Anything worth standing for, anything that is going to stir strong emotion, that’s going to inspire loyalty and get people to part with their hard earned dollars is going to have to be a bold statement. The flip side of course is that any statement that is bold is, by definition, one that is daring to make. That means there’s people a lot of people, maybe even a majority of people that will disagree.

The United States has a population of 330 million people. The EU has a population of 508 million people. The world has a population of 7.4 billion people. Let’s assume you take a stance so extreme that 99% of people hate you, but 1% of people are madly in love with your product.

That’s 3.3 million customers in the US

That’s 5 million customers in the EU

That’s 74 million+ customers Worldwide

Let’s also assume that they each give you just 1 dollar per month. One measly dollar. That’s 12 dollars per year for 74 million people. That’s 888 million dollars a year in revenue. At current Enterprise Valuations on the S&P 500 that means you would have a company worth:

12.5 billion dollars.

That’s IF you piss off 99% of the people.

Look I get it. Negative feedback can be really hard to deal with. You don’t want to scare off potential customers. You know what the quickest way for your company to die is though?

Saying so little, or nothing at all, and no one cares.

At least is someone hates you they care. I’ve seen many companies that are hated thrive. I’ve never seen a company that no one has strong opinions about do well.

So go forth. Make a statement. Be thoughtful, but decide to be authentic. Decide to stand for something. Decide to create the kind of company that someone can can incorporate into the idea of who they want to be rather than just building a product. Decide to build such intense customer loyalty that they’re yours for life.

Jeromy Sonne