Keep It Simple, Stupid: A Study On Maxinomics

Da Vinci

It starts off small. 5 ways to save money for travel. Then someone else comes along and does 7 ways to save money for travel. Then it’s 10. Then 15. Then 25. Then 50. Then 150. Then 200. Then 500. Every subsequent blogger trying to outdo the last, repeating, rehashing and reposting the same, tired old information that can be found in a hundred other blog posts by a hundred other bloggers. An endless cycle of trying to outdo those who came before so that people will follow your blog and not the competition.

Somewhere in the middle, the message is lost in the hustle to outdo the competition. In the rush to offer the biggest, the best or the most numerous, the actual information is left by the wayside.

The Greedy Bastard Syndrome

The Greedy Bastard Syndrome is a disease that affects those who are addicted to consumption and physical possessions. They see the world through the capitalist point of view: me first, everyone else second. They are the type of individuals who are only interested in one thing: being on top of the totem pole.

As a result of this sickness, Greedy Bastards are pushed to the extremes trying to find ways to outdo the competition, believing that if they do not they will fall to the bottom of the heap, forgotten and irrelevant. Quality is not as important as staying ahead of the pack. Quantity is the name of the game, because if you can’t outdo your competition you aren’t doing it right.

As more and more people turn to blogging for a living, they fall back on the old ways of doing things. Unfortunately, old habits are not always the best habits. Rehashing the old and doing things the same way as everyone else is the fastest and most sure-fired way to find yourself being nothing more than another in a long list of monkeys with keyboards, banging out letters as fast as they can without any clear purpose or direction, all so they can stay on top of the heap.

A top 10 list? Screw that…I’m gonna write a top 50 list. Then someone comes along and does a top 75. Then you come back and do a top 150. The cycle continues. Me first, everyone else second. 

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

Whether you are talking about Ockham’s Razor (among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected), or Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s statement that, “perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”, it all boils down to less is more.

The tighter the niche, the more focused the results, the higher the quality of the information.

Simplicity

The best way to become an authority in your niche is to keep it simple, direct, to the point and as tightly focused as possible. Be the expert on that topic, and write about it with such detail that you become the ultimate source when people are looking for information regarding your niche. No one wants to read a watered down version of something: they want to read an article written by someone who is speaking with the voice of authority.

Too often in today’s blogging world people are so focused on maxinomics and presenting the biggest, loudest, most obnoxious version of something as a means of garnishing attention that they have completely lost the original intent. Keep it simple, stupid. Make it so refined, so simplistic in its design, that it is perfect in its very simplicity.

Sophistication comes not from maximizing and rehashing a topic fifty different ways so that you can be “larger” and “better” than the competition, but when you strip away all the non-essential bullshit and bring it back to the point where there is nothing more you can strip away. When you reach that point, you have absolute perfection. Ultimate simplicity.

Getting Back to Basics

The first piece of advice I give to students is “write from the soul”. When you strip away all the pretentiousness, the desire to be “just like so and so” and instead write what your heart wants you to write about, you achieve the simplicity that Leonardo was so focused on in his own work over the years.

You don’t have to be like everyone else to make it in this world. In fact, it’s better if you aren’t. If you instead focus on your own unique voice, developing your own unique way of saying things, of shooting photos, of recording videos, of drawing, writing, creating, and keeping things as streamlined, tight, focused and simplistic in nature, your work will shine through all on its own.

But the key is keeping things tight and focused rather than generic. Any monkey with a keyboard can hit letters and eventually make a coherent sentence or two. Your goal is to strip away the non-essential. Take things down to the very core message. Start there and refine the essence until it shines, the diamond in the rough.

Don’t worry about maxinomics. Take your niche and go deep. Find the perfection that Leonardo was talking about. Everything else is extraneous.

What about you? What are your thoughts on maxinomics? Tell us about your success working in niche markets in the comments below; I’ve yet to meet a single soul who focuses on tight niches and doesn’t see an excellent level of success, and it’s always a blessing to read about your success stories.

Looking for ways to refine your niche? Shoot me an email with your questions and I’ll get back to you ASAP. 

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About T.W. Anderson

T.W. Anderson is the founder of the Marginal Boundaries brand. He is the writer, editor, videographer, photographer, and social media guru alongside Cristina Barrios, the other half of the brand. In his spare time, he is the creative director of the Saga of Lucimia, a forthcoming MMORPG from Stormhaven Studios, LLC.

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