Musings over Coffee: People Like Us

I just got back from having breakfast with my older brother and cousin at Porto’s Bakery and all I have to show for it is this yummy collage of desserts that they’re known for. I was good, though. All I had was a large cup of cafe mocha and a chorizo and egg omelet on Cuban toast. The conversation was fun and long overdue.

Today we ended up talking about everything from food to friends to social media from a customer’s point of view and that of mine as an author.

Since Facebook and Instagram consider me a business, my brother and cousin have slightly different timelines from mine. Their posts don’t have the “Promote” button like mine do, an option for me to consider if I want more people to see my posts or gain more followers so Instagram can give me an avenue to actually sell a product (I need 10k followers to have that “Swipe Up” for the link option). It made me yearn for the days when I didn’t know about the Promote button myself, when reach was more organic instead of paid for.

But that’s the landscape of social media right now. It’s pay to play everywhere if you want to be seen.

Then we got to talking about Porto’s Bakery. My cousin and I learned about Porto’s through my brother who discovered them when they were just a small bakery in Los Angeles. Now they have about four other locations. My brother said that sure, they make delicious quality food but they also have an amazing staff, very attentive and professional, in every location. They don’t rush you and they make sure they get your orders right every time. If they don’t, they do their best to correct any oversight. These are the qualities of the bakery that keep him coming back whenever he comes into town (that and In ‘n Out Burger).

It made me think of Seth Godin’s book This is Marketing (yes, I’m going to come back to this book a lot in the coming year, I think), and how he stresses that you need to focus on your smallest viable audience—the people who get you and will miss you if you don’t post anything for a time—to build a business. People like me who drive ten or fifteen miles, wait in long lines to order what we want and wait another twenty minutes to pick up our perfectly boxed pastries or food “get” Portos. We’ll even spread the word about them to anyone we think is one of us who’ll like something like Porto’s pastries and Cuban food, something that’s of good quality.

That’s when it hit me—my brother, cousin and I make up Porto’s “smallest viable audience,” and we will spread the news about Porto’s because just like Godin says, “people like us do things like this.”

Hope you’re having a wonderful Sunday!

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