Toy Story, Part 1: Mr. Potato Head

Mr. Potato Head is fun to play with. It is most fun when you first come across one, and you realize that you can create different, even crazy, figures with it using nothing more than a few plastic human-like organs and some accessories. But sooner or later, you discover that no matter what you do, you end up with something shaped like, well… an animated potato. You are restricted by the accessories that came with the toy and the limited options to attach them to the potato-like body, and so are your creations. As fun as it is, Mr. Potato Head is not designed to grow with you.

When your content is like a Mr. Potato Head, it is fun to read or watch, and your audience can even play with it, but only so much. Your audience can use the ideas you shared with them to imagine slightly different ones. They can apply your ideas, but they can do so mainly in the scenario you thought of. Your ideas might be valuable to your audience, but their scope is limited and concrete. 

With a Mr. Potato Head content, whatever your audience creates is shaped mainly by your vision and how you see things. You give your audience concrete tools for concrete challenges. The outcome could be great, but it is mostly yours, and the audience doesn’t really feel they are part of the creation. 

A Mr. Potato Head content cannot grow with your audience. It is helpful for a limited time, and then your audience must move on to the next level. At some point, it simply doesn’t fit them anymore. 

But if not a Mr. Potato Head, what else can your content be? That’s for tomorrow’s edition.

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