“Sometimes when you’re drunk, you can see better.” ~ Damien Hirst
Forever ago, I discovered ‘The Key To Get Ahead In Life‘ and was enlightened to a secret, hidden in plain sight, that’s been driving mankind to flourish for centuries.
That sensation you get between half and three quarters of the way down your second drink, when you’ve just taken the edge off and feel anything is possible. … Just enough smashedness to make everything feel lovely.
This isn’t to say that you should consume so much to become dysfunctional…
You must never have any more than slightly less than two drinks. Beyond that state of mildly intoxicated perfection lies drunken madness!
All jokes aside, I was talking to Mike C., an affiliate marketer who, when talking about his plans for the coming months told me he was moving to Prague and shared:
As you may recall, I was born in Czech. I’ve been living in Asia the last few years and I want to spend some time to better understand the European markets and culture in a greater depth.
Yes, you read that correctly. Mike is moving to another country to better understand the culture of the markets to which he advertises in order to achieve better results.
This move is as extreme as it is intelligent. I shared a similar strategy of my own:
I love that you’re moving for “market research.” I often lecture people about how profitable it is to find your customer avatar and get them ever so slightly drunk. You skip over one round of split testing with every bottle of wine that gets uncorked (three for each bottle of whiskey).
This isn’t to say that you should ask obvious questions or even tell them what you’re doing. When working with my last client, the travel company, one of the avatars we were exploring were flight attendants (figuring they’d use the service more often).
I messaged a neighbor who I’d know through the community was a flight attendant (living with other flight attendants) and asked to interview her over a bottle of wine.
The photo of her isn’t relevant to the story, but I figured a cute girl couldn’t not help the readability of my (currently sober) ramblings. She agreed and we planned a time.
By the time I’d reached out, I had already spent ten hours reading through forums, private Facebook groups, Reddit submissions, and industry guides. I didn’t want to know who was a flight attendant… I wanted to know what made them tick. The more I could get to know them on a foundational level, the more effectively I could speak.
When we met, I started with broader questions about her career choice, what made her gravitate towards it, and what she loved about most about having such a unique lifestyle. Knowing the entry level salary of most flight attendants is barely livable, I wanted to learn what made it so desirable to her and “I like to travel” is rarely a fair substitute for (according to my research) the bullshit they have to tolerate.
As we entered our second glass, the questions started to get more personal. I asked about what it was like to date when she spent half the month traveling (at the time she had a somewhat serious boyfriend), how many colleagues she knew who broke the airline’s rules (making money on the side), and (while she could fly nearly anywhere for free) what it was like to live with such limited finances.
For the cost of a bottle of wine, I not only made a friend… but I learned my client’s money would be far better spent in other markets. Flight attendants are forbidden from using their travels to make money for other ventures (something I knew from my research), but it was far more serious in reality. If I had started targeting this particular audience directly, they would have been scared to convert and likely would have never given us any real indication as to why. Wine lubricated true discovery.
If you’re selling someone something they can’t use, you’ll experience friction.
I doubt she would have considered this an “interview” as I did my best to make it a conversation. The more comfortable she was — the more authentic her answers.
This same process is effective when validating ideas. Not to say you should get shitfaced and hope to do productive research, but a drink or two often helps people feel comfortable enough to express how they truly feel and… gives better data.
For the record, (and I’m sure you won’t be surprised to find that this is actually something I track in a mental spreadsheet, the majority of my most profitable ideas came to me halfway through my second glass of whiskey (I have a high tolerance).
Who do you want to learn more about? When was the last time you drank together?