The problem with being an opinionative person is that no one asks you for opinions any more. And why would they? Anyone who knows you knows that it’s only a matter of time before you tell them how you feel about, say, Grape Nuts cereal, and so they can save their breath until you look up from the breakfast table one day and declare that Grape Nuts taste like a homeless guy just shit some kitty litter into a bowl full of gravel.
There is an exception to that rule, however, and that has to do with focus groups. Focus groups, for those of you who don’t know, are where great ideas go to die. Let’s say you have a wonderful idea for a remote control that learns from your habits and over time changes the channels for you without you having to do anything. Kick ass, right? Well before a large corporation is going to give you a shitload of money for that idea, they want to know if people actually like it. That makes sense. What they do next does not.
They grab a bunch of people with nothing better to do than sit in a room and give opinions about shit. I’m not saying that all of these people are fucking morons, but if they don’t have anything better to do than sit in a room and say, “I like Tide in a red box, not an orange one!” chances are they’re not turning down a lot of employment offers from NASA, if you catch my drift. And so your remote control idea doesn’t test well with these people, and the company gets rid of the TV aspect of it, adds an antenna and an MP3 player and calls it a Zune because a bunch of fucking hillbillies “like that there music thingie I’m hearin’ so much about”. The fucking Zune. That idea ranks right up there with Anal Coca-Cola.
If you want the most mediocre, middle-of-the-road product imaginable, then by all means, send it through a focus group. Every meal will be pizza, every store will be Wal-Mart, and every movie will be Jack & Jill. It’s good that not everything goes through a focus group. The world would not be a better place if Schindler’s List had vampires in it.
The reason I’m bringing all of this up is because of those fuckers with clipboards at the mall. You know who I’m talking about. They usually stand near escalators so they can size up people before they approach them. They represent the business interests of people who want to know what typical mall patrons (like emo kids and pederasts) think. They rarely ask you what you think about something, because you don’t fit their target demographic, which is another way of them telling you that you are lame.
And this is why I like to fuck with these people. First of all, a great thing to do when you see these people is maintain furious eye contact with them. Stare directly through their pupils and into their very souls, and do not stop. Don’t blink either. That freaks them out. Then march right up to them and say something like, “Say, there sure are a lot of products and services for sale here, aren’t there? Yes sir, I could go on and on all day long about how I feel about all of these products and services, how about you?” And if they are foolish enough to ask you if you’d like to make five bucks to answer ten minutes worth of questions, you step back and yell, “NO, I WILL NOT HAVE SEX WITH YOUR MOM WHILE YOU WATCH, YOU FUCKING PERVERT!”
Another fun thing you can do is stand next to them in total silence until they make their pitch. “Excuse me, ma’am. Would you like to make five dollars to answer some questions about consumer products for ten minutes?” Then you jump in and say, “Don’t do it, I’ll give you six bucks to walk away right now.” Or you can degrade the public’s general confidence in these people by holding your own impromptu focus groups. “On a scale of ‘ok’ to ‘you betcha’, will you have sex with a goat?” Spend enough time at the mall doing that, and people won’t be getting involved in focus groups. Of course, you may wind up in an involuntary focus group about the effectivity of tasers, but we all have to take one for the team once in a while, right?
The point here is that filtering every fucking decision past a great number of people only results in averaging out everyone’s opinions, and if you don’t think that’s a bad idea, just take a look at what kind of presidential nominees appeal to the average voter. What we need more of in this world are visionaries such as Steve Jobs, who knew that greatness was never achieved in a focus group, it was achieved in a meeting room where he yelled at people and called them dickless assholes.
And so to finally get to my point, that is why I called my boss a dickless asshole. I was trying to do something great. Some people take shit way too seriously.