Seth Godin’s The Purple Cow introduced a remarkable concept called Otaku. According to Seth Godin, “an otaku is more than a hobby but less than an obsession.” When I have conversations with CEOs of startups and hear why they are passionate about the product or service they market, this concept comes to mind. When I read the blog Techsy Talk, I learn of Liz King’s otaku for event technology. When I read the country music blog Home Sweet Country, I sense Lauren Hoffman’s passion for country music. There are many ways to express a love of a hobby or a passion. When a person loves what they do and has an audience who views them as a thought-leader in their respective field, this person is referred to as an influencer. When I had the opportunity to speak with Private Dining Concierge’s Founder and President, Valerie Ciarlo, I immediately recognized her otaku for making event planning easy.
CASE STUDY: PRIVATE DINING CONCIERGE
Private Dining Concierge was inspired by a San Francisco-based venue selection tool that connected people looking to book an event to venue space in San Francisco, CA. With experience in the restaurant industry, Valerie found that this website was the missing link for planners and restaurants in the New York City market. By designing a simple way to send one RFP (Request For Proposal) to many restaurants, Valerie was determined to eliminate the time spent on searching for a venue and increase the communication among planners and restaurant staff. Private Dining Concierge is valuable because Valerie knows how planners and restaurants work together. This service works because PDC connects planners solely to the quality restaurants in food and service and allows planners to search for venues that suit their needs. More important, PDC is successful because it is fueled by Valerie’s knowledge and passionfor the private dining industry.
Just as Starbucks Founder Howard Schultz has an otaku for coffee, Valerie has an otaku forprivate dining. As a result, she designed a product to make the booking process easier. We encourage you to think of your personal and professional interests and what is important to you. Expressing an otaku exists in many forms. Some of these “forms” include blogging, starting a business, volunteering your time at a charity or joining an association. The list of ways to demonstrate your otaku is infinite. We ask you to share some of the ways you have expressed your interest in the past or what you plan to do now that you have read this post.