Anti-marketing, after Michael Nielsen

When speaking publicly, researchers and entrepreneurs alike tend to present the rosiest possible picture of their work. This often leads to harmful over-claiming (Pitching out corrupts within) and a less personal, more transactional relationship with others. An interesting antidote is to actively practice “anti-marketing”: to make a point of focusing publicly on the least rosy parts of one’s projects—what’s confusing, what’s frustrating, what’s not working.

If you make anti-marketing the goal, then interesting challenges become a positive thing: fodder for public conversation, not something to be swept under the rug. At least most of the time, you should be focused on your project’s biggest challenges, rather than what’s going well. I suspect it also builds a deeper, more authentic relationship with one’s audience (see also Work with the garage door up

This term was coined (as far as I know!) by Michael Nielsen in November, 2019 (in personal conversation).

Q. What’s Michael’s term for focusing public conversation on the least rosy elements of one’s projects?
A. Anti-marketing.