Appeal of the Extremist

Extremist thought appeals to a small number of people; that is precisely what makes it successsful.

Would you like it more spicy or less? If you were serving 100 people and you kept asking the same till you have 50, who would like it spicier and 50 who would like it less spicy, you would have arrived at the mean.

The normal distribution curve is considered the truth of life. Following the normal distribution curve implies serving the majority in the middle. Normal Distribution will tell you it is the best way to reach the most; almost 70% of the people fall within 1 standard deviation from the mean.

Barring the people who fall exactly on the mean, neither side would feel that the food is incredible. Congratulations! You have just managed to disappoint everyone. 

If instead, you were to cook up something that really appeals to one end of the distribution curve; you might end up appealing to only 2% - 15% of them. 

But…

They will be willing to talk a lot about you. There are not too many people serving this crowd with exactly what they want. They may even bring some of the people who are closer to the mean towards the extreme.

Just try this, it is the best! 

If you were to take a survey on how much people care, those at the mean would probably care the least. The people who care a lot tend to be at these extremes. Since they care a lot, you receive word of mouth. How much someone cares does not normal distribution.

This is what makes startups thrive. Catering to a small audience that cares a lot about what you do. This is also the same thing that makes extremists thrive. The internet is filled with niche segments that can be attacked through specifically targeted marketing. Unfortunately, the same tools that startups use to target niche customers are being used to target niche ideologies. They tend to care more and bring many more into the fray. 

This is the appeal of the extremist. Create something that appeals to the fringes and they will do your bidding.