Be Curious. Not Judgemental.

One of the most profitable consumer products in modern history, the iPhone was a flop in surveys conducted before it was released. When asked in a survey whether they “like the idea of having one portable device” to fulfill all their needs, only about 30% of Americans, Japanese, and Germans said yes. They seemed to prefer carrying around a separate phone, a separate camera, and a separate music player instead of a single device that could perform all three functions. Echoing the survey results, then Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer said, “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.”

The iPhone didn’t prove the survey wrong. As author Derek Thomson explains, the survey accurately measured the participants’ “indifference to a product they had never seen and did not understand.”

What does this mean for the smart and ambitious practice owner, you ask? Glad you asked. Lessons abound!

Hypothetically thinking about the iPhone was nothing like seeing it in person. Once consumers saw the iPhone in an Apple Store – once they stepped into the brand and held the revolutionary new device in their hands – they couldn’t let it go. Their indifference quickly morphed into desire.

This is the trap practice owners are falling face first in to when they tell me ‘our patients aren’t ready for niche eyewear’ or ‘our patients just want good lenses, they wont spend money on frames’.

Talking about niche eyewear hypothetically will bring you to answers that are as wrong as the iPhone survey and Steve Balmer.

To really know anything in this life you must move from hypothesising to testing. It is only by testing things out that you will ever find out what really happens.

That is how you will leave average practice owners in your dust. While they stand around debating and complaining with all their hypothesises and opinions and excuses and reasons you’ll actually be brave enough to test something and let the results provide the answers.

Never stop doing that. It is more important than you could know. Without the willingness to put things to the test you would be doomed to 40 years of repeating the status quo, never changing anything significant and retiring full of regrets and ‘if onlys.’

To quote the great Ted Lasso (highly recommended on Apple TV), in one episode Ted references a Walk Whitman quote he likes: “Be curious. Not judgemental.”

Most practice owners think they have everything all figured out. So they judge everything and everyone. They have nothing to learn. But the smartest practice owners… they’re curious. They ask questions. They wonder ‘what if?’ And they are willing to test and test and test again so they keep learning and keep improving and keep enjoying the journey. Congratulations on being one of the curious ones and being here. I salute you!