I swore I would avoid a “Snakes On a Plane” post. Then Seth Godin had to go and ruin it for me. This might be my all-time favorite comment about selling (anything) on the Web (or anywhere else for that matter). Seth Godin has a brilliant piece about the perceived failure of “Snakes On a Plane”. While I don’t have a strong opinion about the movie one way or the other, I do think it’s interesting that it’s getting roasted by industry types because it didn’t come out of the blocks as strong as analysts expected. It’s interesting because it speaks to how expectations influence the perception of success and because it ignores the Long Tail. When the producers started making “SOAP,” I doubt they expected the buzz this movie would generate prior to its release. They probably thought they were just making another late-summer popcorn flick. Once the meme took off, though, people got way ahead of themselves in terms of thinking where this would end up. And now, they believe the phenomenon has come crashing back to earth. I’m not convinced. The movie has gotten generally positive reviews and it’s doing pretty well in the ‘sphere lately. Check out Technorati’s chart of posts containing Snakes On A Plane per day for the last 30 days.
Notice that jump to the right there. I don’t think that’s a movie breathing its last. Time, as always, will tell.
Back to Seth’s point, though. He hits it right on the head that having a great product is the key to your overall success. When I listed the four steps to successful selling online, I left that one out. Consider it the “zero-eth” step. Following steps 1-4 will only get you so far if you don’t offer the consumer value in the first place, whether that value derives from a cool consumer product, a useful business service, or a cheesy summer popcorn movie. Solve for that first. You can only put so much lipstick on a pig, after all. Or, in this case, a snake.