Jordan Ogren

September 23, 2021

Your taste sucks. But here's how to improve it.

I want to try this experiment before I die:

  1. Randomly select ten people and share ten paintings with them
  2. Have them rate each painting 1-7
  3. Collect data
  4. Notice any outliers (people with remarkably different tastes)
  5. See what level of correlation there is between each person’s ranking
I would hope that this experiment proves the importance of taste and how we don’t necessarily choose our taste level (in life and marketing). But first, what is taste?
“Taste is the perception produced or stimulated when a substance in the mouth reacts chemically with taste receptor cells located on taste buds in the oral cavity, mostly on the tongue.” — Oxford Dictionary.

The marketing definition for taste is your ability to tell how “good” or “bad” something is. While there will always be one person who enjoys the taste of frog testicles, many more of us would prefer the taste of an apple or orange.
The sad truth is that many of us have poor tastes when it comes to design and writing. And we fail to see it as a growable skill. 
We view taste like a person born 4 feet 11 inches views height; it’s unchangeable. But with taste, that’s not true.
“Perfect taste, like perfect pitch, is a gift from God. But a certain amount can be acquired.” – William Zinsser (On Writing Well).

I love how William relates taste to pitch. Some people are born with beautiful voices; others are not. However, that does not mean that you are stuck with the voice you were born with.

You can improve your pitch (voice) by gaining knowledge, taking lessons, and waiting for puberty to end.

Taste is no different. The trick to learning it is to observe those who have it.

“The trick is to study writers who have it.” — William Zinsser.

Marketing insights 🗡
  • Figure out how effective your taste is (Is your taste better than average? The same? Or worse?)
  • If you have poor taste, find three people to study who have great taste (Not sure who? Email me, I can help lead you to some great people)
  • If you have good taste, help those around you hone their taste by talking through aspects you like or dislike (Taste)

While you can’t do anything about your intrinsic level of taste, you can improve it.

What are you going to do to acquire a more robust taste?

🧠 // JO