Minimalism’s branding problem

Correctly framing a problem goes a long way toward solving it. Things seen in one light are solutions, while in another light become problems. For example, taking six days to get from Vancouver to Anchorage is a problem—unless it’s on a cruise ships and then it’s better to add stops. People now pay extra for the longer journey. Like me in 2015, hoping Denali peaks through the clouds. 


Minimalism has a branding problem. People perceive minimalism as *get rid of your stuff*. However the value is not so much downsizing as prioritizing.

This same confusion is part of the FIRE movement. Participants choose to live with a large delta between what they earn and what they spend because they have a reasonably high earn and a relatively low spend. As a non-FIRE but equally thrifty friend told me, “I like the simple life.” Less consumption is not less life.

This obstacle exists in businesses too. If there’s a gap between what you think your business does, and what your potential customers think, then your business suffers. The world will not beat a path to your door.

In a good interview about her book, April Dunford speaks about the importance of product positioning. Dunford has a JTBD ethos. “A lot of times when your customer is a business and you ask them what they would do, they say they would use word or excel or hire an intern.” There’s a lot of non-consumption. There’s a lot of informing, which doesn’t work.

Instead, think of how your customer views your business. Think about how things that look odd (FIRE) make sense and consider why. 

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