Monday, October 21, 2013

Men of Worth: Why your toilet matters!

From flowers to jewelry, there’s a bribe for everyone’s budget. 
You can have anyone! All you have to do is dangle the right carrot.
Carrot dating.
Carrot dating? 
Carrot dating is now a thing. 

What has it got to do with anything else I blog about?

More than you think.

Well, three things, at least.

There are plenty of online rants about the absurdity of the selling point (that bribery is the best way to a girl's heart... or whatever bit of her anatomy you're after) so I'll leave you to browse those for yourselves. Instead I'll offer up a bit of insight into why this is of any relevance at all to my world.

1) Entrepreneurship

When I was in the early stages of my Entrepreneur adventures almost a year ago, I suffered through an appalling series of hard-sells to get rich quick at an event called Entrepreneurs 2013. Imagine the smarmiest gathering of annoyingly good salesmen lulling you into the belief that if you spend a couple thousand quid on their seminars you too can become an internet millionaire, and you have some idea.

As disgusting as the event was overall I am glad I went. Under the sales pitches were some fairly interesting lessons... and in fact the inspiration for this blog (and the book I eventually plan to write one day...)

The speaker was Simon Coulson. I detested him. He told us about the up-sells he got on his ferrari in one breath, and the benefits of a low-cost virtual assistant in the next. But he also said something that has stuck with me to this day. I paraphrase:
If you want to make a fortune online you need to tap into a market that will never go away.     Good areas to go into are Property, Weightloss, Wealth Gain, Gambling, Dating...
Toilets were not on the list. And at the time I hadn't yet plunged into that strange and wonderful world. But several months later it occurred to me that if you're looking for a need that every man, woman and child will have from the day they are born to the day they die, then you can't find a better market than toilets. The need is as certain as death and taxes, and comes around considerably more often than either.

The problem (and the reason that they weren't on the list) is that toilets usually hold a living rather than a fortune. The sort of Entrepreneurs who make a business out of them are probably not the ones driving a ferrari that cost more than my five years of private University education and my thoracic surgery put together.  They are the ones who spend half the year in developing countries, are willing to take a financial hit for the greater social good.

This is what actually started my interest in toilet entrepreneurship, and really gave me the final push to attend the World Toilet Summit. Which is where I met the good kind of Entrepreneurs. And learned that there can actually be positive connotations to the phrase "Shitripreneur".  So, Mr. Coulson, thank you for that in any case.

2) Empowered Women

One somewhat more socially conscious version of a carrot struck me (and this really is only very tangentially related, and more a stream of consciousness)

In 2007 India launched a campaign which I have heard referred to by various names, from "No Loo? No I Do" "no toilet, no bride." (Details Here) The idea was to encourage women not to marry into families that didn't have a toilet. With a surplus of available men it was a social pressure that could easily be put on, giving newly educated women more control over their own futures.

In this case it's not about objectification, but empowerment. It's a demand the women make for their own personal safety and dignity. The dangers of not having a toilet in the home range from disease to rape or assault on the way to and from dark fields where open defecation is practiced.

If you were going to push the online dating concept you could always make a website for eligible gentlemen to show off their amenities.

3) Online Dating- The toilet dating phenomenon 

I hadn't had much awareness or interest in online dating (or pre-arranged dating generally) until I started my singles tours with Doing Something. So it's only recently that this sort of thing has even been on my radar. But like with most things, once you've seen it you start noticing it everywhere. So now I've seen (and been on) a range of adventures into that world... with probably a more than usual percentage involving loos or sewage. 

Toilet Dating: Where our carrot is a good sense of humour
and a bit of mutual weirdness. 
It all started when they found my tour and asked if I would do a singles night. I had never been to a pub crawl or a singles night. Suddenly I found myself leading one. When it went viral the press branded it Toilet Dating, and misnomer though it may be it stuck.

The amusing thing is, "Toilet Dating" was probably actually better received by the press than Carrot Dating (which even the Daily Mail takes a skeptical view of). Those that weren't fixated on meeting people over disgusting urinals (which we don't actually do on the tour, I hasten to add!)  recognised it as a potentially quirky and fun thing.

I suppose with any dating platform you'll attract the sort of people you market to. I have said before, but it remains true, that the sort of person who is up for spending three hours thinking about toilets is probably fairly classy. Classy in the toilet? Oh yes! Anyone can take the piss and give you shit and all the classic puns. But the ones who will actually come out for a three hour event have looked deeper... (Okay... we'll nip that metaphor in the bud!)

Furthermore, the people who come probably aren't desperate.  I mean, is that really where they would look if they were? No... they are relaxed and confident enough to have a laugh, a strange night out, and meet some other cool people. Takes the pressure off a bit (no... that wasn't a pun. Shush!)

Last thing, because I'm single and can't resist temptation... 

Boys: Offer me a toilet I can't refuse and this could be your lucky day! (No toilet selfies please. Even I think those are tacky!) 


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