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Whaddya think?

We, as makers, tend to have a lot of pride in our work. Many of us work more for our own satisfaction than for pleasing others. And yet, pleasing others is paramount to our success.

How many times have we asked, "What do you think?" when showing off our latest creation? Of course, the expected response is one of awe and admiration because we already think the thing is great. So we may be unpleasantly surprised by a less than glowing review.

I once made some stereo cabinets with the idea that a local AV shop was going to sell them for me. I invested heavily in time and materials and saw the end result as something that would generate lots of excitement. But when I proudly showed them to the shop owner, his reaction was exactly the opposite of what I expected. They were too big. They included a niche for a record turntable, something that was, at that time, well on it's way to obscurity. The design was graceless and the finish was too dark.

All in all it was a total fail. I learned a good lesson from that. Instead of asking, "Whaddya think?", after the project was done, I should have asked up front, realizing that this guy was going to know his market much better than I.


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