As I’ve run Eureka Room shows and asked for feedback, I’ve seen a pattern of interests. Some people love the programs with game-like aspects the most. Some people want more insanity and laughing and absurdity. Some people want to relax and watch the colors and hear soothing sounds.
I usually see personality types through the lenses of the DISC model, and I would say that the C’s like the games, the I’s like the interactive insanity, and the S’s like the colors and sounds. The D’s… well they probably won’t like the Eureka Room much at all so I try to make it clear they shouldn’t visit.
The “interactive insanity” and “games” are my personal favorite types of programs. The color-sounds programs are easier to make but I find that passive stuff not that interesting. I also don’t like calling them passive to people, since it sounds weak and negative. I wish I had better language and a better explanation as to why people fall into these groups. It’s extremely clear from feedback that many people just want to sit and watch.
If you know me, you know I don’t like TV and movies. Pretty much categorically. So I sit here and stare there for a couple hours, then finally I can get up and go do something interesting? I don’t get it.
Then this week I came across this article in The Atlantic. “Choose Enjoyment Over Pleasure. Pleasure is addictive and animal; enjoyment is elective and human.”
The article makes this distinction between pleasure and enjoyment:
Enjoyment and pleasure are terms often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Pleasure happens to you; enjoyment is something that you create through your own effort. Pleasure is the lightheadedness you get from a bit of grain alcohol; enjoyment is the satisfaction of a good wine, properly understood. Pleasure is addictive and animal; enjoyment is elective and human.
Enjoyment is lasting and creates good memories that can be returned to. Pleasure is fleeting and forgotten.
Enjoyment is a rich reward for taking a risk. Pleasure is a cheap gift for doing nothing.
It’s really a fantastic article and I encourage you to read the whole thing.
After reading it, I realized: oh, I like enjoyment but I’m not into pleasure. This is why I don’t like television and movies. I like being an active participant and reaping rewards of efforts. TV and movies just happen to me. Watching sports just happens to me. Alcohol just happens to me. What I enjoy is engagement with other people and making something or doing something with them.
So the people that like the lights-color are those seeking pleasure. (And don’t get me wrong, we all enjoy and need pleasures – they’re just not as rewarding and don’t lead us to any lasting happiness). The people seeking the weird interaction at The Eureka Roo are seeking enjoyment.
Indeed, people use the word “joy” and “fun” to describe those programs. Whereas the lights-color programs are usually described as “really cool”. The active programs tend to evoke feeling words and the passive programs tend to evoke judgment words. Though that’s just an anecdotal observation and I’d have to go read through the feedback to see if that hypothesis holds up.
So How Does This Help Me Make Experiences?
First, I have a better idea of what different personalities are looking for. (Or, perhaps, what people in certain ever-changing states are looking for).
Second, I have new words (pleasure and enjoyment) to talk about them and an understanding of how to talk about them in my marketing to appeal to different groups.
Thirdly, I can design better for these groups – or choose not to. If I know there are “pleasure seekers” I know that they are not here to work or take risks. They just want the candy for nothing. But the “enjoyment seekers” are ready to to take risks, work a little, and reap lasting, deeper, and more memorable rewards.
So Do I Serve The Pleasure Seekers?
While everyone definitely wants pleasure at some times, making more pleasure programs risks attracting addicts and giving people the wrong idea about the Eureka Room. From there it could get a reputation that I’d rather it not have. Pleasure seekers are friends with other pleasure seekers. I’m not sure I want to have to keep serving up sweeter and sweeter candy. Plus it feels like my efforts are throwaway.
Like I said earlier, the colors-sounds programs are far easier to make and it’s tempting to crank some of those out to get more revenue going. A set of visual programs might not be a bad thing. I’ll have to do some clever position and framing of it so that my passion for the weird stuff is clearly what The Eureka Room is about. I might even create another “business” so that is at the same exact space but it has a different name. That might be confusing to people in some ways but clarifying on others.
I’ll continue to kick these ideas around in my head as continue the journey into a commercial space.