I’ll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there’s evidence of any thinking going on inside it.
‘Everyone’ isn’t an audience. ‘Everyone’ is a byproduct of an incredibly successful thing that was made for a far more specific bunch of people. Don’t ever make something for ‘Everyone’ make it for someone. And make that person love it. I listened to an overwhelmingly amazing podcast the other day with Sam Simon, one of the original creators of the Simpsons. Most of the interview focused on his battle with cancer, but he also talked about when he and Matt Groening worked together creating the show. And he mentioned that there were two writers he wanted to bring on board, but they turned him down. And the rest of that season, he wrote the show for them—he wanted them to think it was funny. For Simon, that was the test: Did those two people think it was funny—not network execs, not focus groups, and certainly not ‘Everyone.’ Jesus, I *hate* Facebook, and you don’t get much more ‘Everyone’ than that thing now, but it didn’t get gigantic building for ‘Everyone,’ it got gigantic building for Harvard students, then Ivy League students, then more and more and more. Go ask all your friends on Google Plus how well building for ‘Everyone’ from the start went. When you begin with ‘Everyone’ you’re just stuck: How do you make any honest decisions? How do you solve any real problems? You don’t. You start to invent people and you start to invent their problems and it’s amazing because those people and those problems line up almost exactly with what you’re building and how you’re thinking about it—imagine that. Lying to yourself is amazing for productivity. Real audience is hard. Solving real problems is fucking bananas. But it’s the only way you make something that lasts, because you made something that someone actually cared about. Every amazing comic that Vertigo comics published wasn’t written for ‘Everyone.’ Every person that read them knew what I knew when I read them myself: This comic was written just for me. That. Do exactly that. You’ll be fine.