the problem with passion

brand-as-business bit:  Carol Roth wrote a ChangeThis manifesto that challenged some of the conventional myths about entrepreneurship. She took on the “follow your passion” movement, which suggests that you should earn a living from your greatest life passion. Roth points out:

Zappos.com is a business where passion followed opportunity but wasn’t the starting point. I can’t imagine that Tony Hsieh is more passionate about shoes than most of the women I know. He is, however, completely passionate about customer service, which has taken the business to the top of its game…Successful businesses identify a customer need or want—an opportunity. When the entrepreneur is incredibly passionate about filling that customer need and is uniquely positioned to be the best person to do so in some way, shape or form, that’s where business success happens.”

Roth’s point makes me think that a company started with passion for filling a customer need might enjoy a more elastic brand. Zappos.com can stretch into selling categories other than shoes, whereas Payless Shoe Source, for example, is most likely limited to selling inexpensive shoes.

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