Motivations Vary. Don’t Assume.

Originally published: 03/2012 by J Wynia

Recently, I’ve been toying around with options for “work” shirts for my home brewery. I have several of the Dickie’s-style work shirts from homebrew stores, etc. and like them. So, I thought it’d be fun to have a couple of “Fat Basset Brewing Company” work shirts.

Of course, having them printed the same way Northern Brewer did, you have to order quite a few shirts (even 6 is more than I really want). Then someone suggested that I just get set up to do my own screen printing. Then, I could print the logo on whatever clothing, etc. that I wanted.

Since that also appeals to my chronic desire to learn to do new things/hobbies, I, of course, started doing a bit of Googling for what’s all involved. That’s when I ran into something that I see in a lot of hobbies: assuming everyone else’s motivations are the same as yours.

I found TONS of information on screen printing at home. However, in doing so, I was struck how the vast majority of the tutorials emphasized (to the point of often including in the headline), the “on the cheap” nature of doing your own screen printing. There were tutorials about using old pantyhose as your screens, wire hangers as the frame, etc. All the while, the authors pointed out how much cheaper this was than any of the alternatives.

Clearly, the authors assumed the primary motivation of anyone seeking out info on screen printing at home would be frugality.

That particular assumption is also found in lots of the homebrewing information I’ve dug into. True, in every gathering of homebrewers, there’s someone who’s managed to figure out how to make their beer as cheap as humanly possible. But, there’s also almost always someone who got into it because they want to make beer they can’t get easily where they live. There’s the person who really enjoys building with stainless steel or wiring electronics to pumps. There’s the person who enjoys entertaining and giving beer away.

Fortunately, that diversity of motivators is represented in the content I find out there. Some sites show how to go all out and build your own stainless steel monstrosity that brews beer practically unattended. Others show you how to re-use junk you can get for free to build your home brewery.

Unfortunately, what I saw (in my admittedly small sampling) of the screen printing, the assumption of frugality nearly turned me off from even pursuing the idea. I don’t really want to do a bunch of futzing with the screens, getting them coated, exposed properly, framed and ready to go. I’m willing to do the actual printing, but don’t want to do a whole bunch of setup. And, I want a quality print when I’m done.

All of the articles that focused so heavily on the cheap way to do it left me wondering how I might actually do it WELL. Or easily. I’m not opposed to spending a little bit of money if it means that the process gets easier or that the outcome is of a higher quality.

I see these kinds of assumptions in software and other businesses as well. Rather than asking prospective customers what their needs are, salespeople assume that this customer is like many others and jump into their pitch. And, in the process, lose the customer.

It happened a little bit when I bought my new car a few months ago. I actually ordered it 9 months ago and waited 6 months to get it. When I went in and we discovered that the configuration I wanted would take 6 months, they assumed I cared about how quickly I would get the car and started pushing me to compromise on what I wanted. Fact was, I didn’t care much if I even bought a car last year at all. But, if I WAS going to buy a car, I wanted exactly what I wanted.

Ask good questions that either invalidate or confirm your assumptions whenever you can. In nearly every endeavor, it leads to better outcomes.

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© 2003- 2014 J Wynia. Very Few Rights Reserved. This article is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. Quoted content or content included from others is not subject to that license and defaults to normal copyright.