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76 thumbs down

A few weeks ago Seth Godin wrote a post on his blog called: What 99% looks like. He used the example of a Turkish vlogger who had posted an interview with him to YouTube that received the following view count, up votes and down votes:


The point he wanted to make was that many of us will instinctively focus on that one number: 76. We will say to ourselves that 76 people hated our video, our work, so much so that they felt compelled to give it a decisive thumbs down.

His message was clear: “Ignore it. Shun the non-believers and ship your work.” 76 people out of 108,605 views is not even 1%. And 76 out of (10,827 + 76) interactions is still not even 1%. You could easily say that this video has a greater than 99% approval rating.

I love this message, because there will always be naysayers, especially if you’re doing something interesting and unique. In fact, having naysayers is probably a good litmus test to make sure that you are indeed doing something interesting and unique.

But here’s the thing. 

The YouTube metrics above make for a rather transparent platform. You can see that the video received 108,605 views and that 10,827 + 76 people felt so strongly about it that they wanted to leave a mark by way of a thumbs up or thumbs down. But most importantly, you can see that way more liked the video than hated it.

But what if it wasn’t clear that over 10,000 people were fans of your work? What if all you saw was how many people hated it? And what if those voices were amplified? That would be pretty discouraging, considering that many of us are already focusing on that number to begin with.

I can think of many instances where the fog is thick and we don’t have full visibility. That’s where it gets even tougher, but more critical, to “shun the non-believers.” There may be people out there who truly love your work and what you’re trying to do. You just may not know it, yet.

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