January 25, 2017

Dogfooding -> The Fear

This is another installment in my continuing series about the rewrite of jonathanstark.com wherein I “eat my own dogfood” to bring the site in alignment with the advice I give my students about how to dramatically increase their profits. It’s sort of a self-inflicted case study :-)

Step one of redoing jonathanstark.com was to define a laser-focused positioning statement (LFPS).

Here’s the format for an LFPS:


I’m still solidifying my LFPS but I know that my chosen target market is credit unions. That being the case, I decided to start rolling out copy changes to the site to reflect this focus.

(FYI - more on how I picked CUs in a future installment)

So far, the biggest change was updating the main headline for the site. Well... technically, it was a teensy weensy change (only two words), but making it made me feel like my world was ending.


Figure 1: Changing the headline on jonathanstark.com from “Mobile Strategy for Consumer Brands” to “Mobile Strategy for Credit Unions” triggered in me a fear that bordered on panic.

Welcome to The Fear

Positioning guru Philip Morgan explains that positioning is hard because it triggers what he calls The Positioning Fear Reflex or simply The Fear.

Here’s an excerpt about The Fear from his excellent book, The Positioning Manual:

I’m going to fully explain this in the next section, but for now, know that you will face some gnarly fears as you move through the work of positioning yourself. Moving from operating as a generalist, “A to Z”, or “full service” firm to operating as a differentiated specialist will almost certainly cause you to fear that:

Collectively, I call these fears The Positioning Fear Reflex. It’s like the reflex that makes you pull your hand back from a hot stove, except in the case of positioning, it’s not protecting you from anything that’s actually dangerous.

I’ve known Philip for years. We have discussed positioning and The Fear many many MANY times. We have spent late nights comparing notes about how to help students overcome The Fear in our coaching programs.

And yet... when it came time for me to change just two words of the headline on jonathanstark.com to reflect my new positioning, The Fear came for me just like it does for everyone else. Visions of my children starving, being kicked out of our house, etc...

It’s CRAZY! It’s IRRATIONAL! But damn... it’s REAL!


I know in my bones that pigeonholing myself like this is probably the single best thing I could do to take my mobile strategy business to the next level, so I was able to follow through:

I clicked SAVE and I uploaded the file to my web server.

In the next installment of “dogfooding” I’ll share what happened within the first week of me changing those two words in that headline.