The fridge changed the tomato

The invention of the fridge genetically changed the tomato.

Or at least, the refrigeration process did.

Thanks to that process, we can eat tomatoes all year round, regardless of season and location.

But for the majority of producers, the focus is NOT on flavour.

It’s on distribution

On developing a tomato that can withstand the rigours of refrigerated shipping.

Tomatoes develop flavour in the ripening process, but you can’t ship a ripe tomato. It goes squishy in transit.

So, over the decades, producers have developed a genetically modified tomato that can be picked when it’s hard and green and transported across the globe.

Then, when it arrives at its destination, the tomato is gassed with ethylene to force it to ripen rapidly.

The tomato looks great and tastes of absolutely nothing

The end consumer is deeply unsatisfied. They grumble that the tomato tastes like it’s been pumped with water.

But they return to the supermarket next week to buy the same tomato. It’s convenient.

In the summer, though, they go to the local farmers market…

That’s where they eat what a tomato should taste like.

It blows their mind

If anything, all those lousy tomatoes from the supermarket make this real tomato taste even better.

This tomato wasn’t made for the distribution process. It was made by a farmer who simply wanted to make a great tomato.

And, whilst the farmers market won’t replace the supermarket, it certainly provides a treat and welcome break.

The process of making a good tomato is slower, patient, and focused on taste, not distribution.

The same is true on LinkedIn.

The algorithm is much like refrigerated shipping. It supports and encourages a market of content made for distribution and engagement.

It lacks depth, nuance, and imagination. But it’s easy to consume and keeps the reader scrolling.

And people make a living on that sh*t.

But wouldn’t you rather make something that tastes good?

A few years back, I built a social following of 17.5k in a matter of months, all on the back of hacks and engagement groups.

It was deeply unsatisfying but relatively straightforward.

It mostly attracted customers who wanted to learn how to make their own flavourless tomatoes that ship well.

But I wanted to work with people that want to make something good (still do).

It’s harder to build a business around quality insight.

But people like April Dunford, Fletch, Carl Richards, and Lucy Werner have proven that it’s possible when you patiently focus on the tomato, not the distribution.

Want to become a thought leader?

Every 4 weeks, I publish deep dives into B2B thought leaders, breaking down the content strategy they used to go from unknown consultant to top tier personality.

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