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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

Svbtle Exclusivity

A few recent happenings has gotten me thinking about my initial motivation to switch my blog to Svbtle a couple of months ago. On the surface this would seem to be an odd decision on my part, considering that I'm CEO of one of the biggest WordPress product companies around and a switch of platform (away from WordPress) wouldn't make loads of sense.

I first fell in love with Svbtle when Dustin first previewed the UI, which I felt would be perfectly suited to clutter-free idea generation & writing (something which WordPress isn't doing so well these days).

But most importantly, I wanted into Svbtle because of the exclusivity. The fact that Svbtle was invite-only made we want into the action so badly. I wanted to be part of the crowd where the cool kids hung out.

And I don't think I'm the only one... Immediately after Svbtle's launch, there was a self-service copy created. And over the last couple of months, we've also seen a verbatim copy made for WordPress, along with a proper, inspired-by-Svbtle project as a fork to WordPress.

To me that suggests that there were others that loved the look of what Svbtle was, but hated being on the outside of the walled garden.


Exclusivity breeds demand.

Consider all of the material stuff that you'd like to own; most of those things are likely either high value items (that most of us will never be able to afford) and / or are highly exclusive.

This applies even more-so to experiences. Want to see the SuperBowl live? Well, only a finite number of people will be able to do that every year. Want to go to space? Sure - maybe when it's affordable in 2085.

The exclusivity and lack of availability / accessibility doesn't however deter our want or need for these things. Instead it has the contrary influence and I believe that this just makes us want it even more.

Maybe it's partly down to us being jealous and we want to keep up with the Joneses. Maybe it's ambition and we're simply striving towards that next goal.

Regardless though, if you want someone to buy something you're selling, don't make it easy for them to get. :)


Looking at Svbtle and the exclusivity that surrounds it, I can draw many comparisons to the person who I perceive Svbtle-creator, Dustin Curtis, to be.

I say perceived, because I actually don't know all that much about Dustin. I've known that Dustin Curtis is a superhero ever since I first stumbled onto his "The Life of Dustin Curtis" design.

This isn't saying much of course, as I've not met Dustin in person. But for most other people that I'd like to know about, I can find much more than this online.

Yet I hold Dustin in the highest regard. I think he's a super-talented designer and that he's a thought-leader. He's very mysterious and obviously has loads of self-confidence (which borders on arrogance, which I love).

But I can't really proof any of this.

That's exactly the point though: similar to the exclusivity of a product / service, Dustin Curtis has put himself out there just enough to intrigue others. I know that I'm unlikely to ever work with Dustin, but I have this belief that he'd be an awesome person to work with / have on my team.

Subtle?

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