That riff about the quarter-inch drill bit

I recently picked up a hard copy of Seth Godin’s “This is Marketing.”

I’ve had the audiobook version for years, but when listening to audiobooks, I often miss essential parts while multitasking, like walking our dog or doing the dishes.

A section in the book’s chapter three, titled: “that riff about the quarter-inch drill bit,” touches on and expands Theodore Levitt’s famous quote:

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. They want a quarter-inch hole.”

Meaning that the drill bit is merely a feature, a means to an end to drill a hole.

But simply drilling a hole isn’t exactly what we want either, right?

When I installed a fence in the front yard of our first home in Tampa five years ago, I didn’t want a hole in the fence when I bought the drill bit to pre-drill the poles.

I wanted the screws to fit better into the material and prevent damage to the fence.

Actually, I wanted to ensure that my son and dog wouldn’t run into the busy road that went by our house.

I wanted to prove that I could install a fence by myself and increase my status when my wife admired my work, and my father-in-law thanked me for keeping his grandbabies safe.

“I didn’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. I wanted to feel safe and respected.


S. Godin.


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