We’re visiting my folks up in Manistee, Michigan for the Independence Day holiday. This town really does it up right for the Fourth of July. In fact, they have a full insert in the paper with the schedule of events from Thursday through Sunday. I want to draw you attention to one of the activities that my dad and I attended: The classic car show.

Now, what fascinated me most about this gathering of automobile aficionados was not the variety of lovingly maintained vehicles (though they were a treat to see). For me, the interesting thing was observing the community which surrounded this hobby. Looking around, you could see people wearing auto-related t-shirts, reading “Hot Rod” magazine, and having deep, passionate discussions with those around them.

What a cool, focused community. They have a shared culture, lifestyle, and language which is all there own. I also realized that if anyone wanted to target this particular group, they had better learn about and live just as the hobbyists do. Really, how could you say you specialized in serving this group, in whatever field, if you didn’t know a carburetor from a camshaft.

And then I thought about other focused communities like this. Could you serve the science fiction community if you didn’t know Star Wars from Star Trek? Could you serve the chess community when you don’t know who Kasparov or Fischer are? Could you specialize in the dog show industry if you didn’t know a Greyhound from a Keeshund?

Targeting a tight-knit community is a great idea. If you can serve the particular needs of even one person in that sector superlatively, you will become known to everyone in that field with relatively little additional effort on your part. To do so, though, you must obtain at least an amateur’s knowledge of the field. Without that knowledge and a sincere desire to become a servant of that group, your actions will reveal you for what you are: A user whose sole interest is in lining his wallet.