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What a Baking Contest Taught Me About Finding Customers Rather than focus on your own enthusiasm for your products and services, focus on what will make your customer enthusiastic.

By Neil Gordon

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In an earlier stage of my career, I worked as an entry level editor at the publishing company Penguin before it merged with Random House.

Each holiday season, my division had a holiday bake-off. One department would bake desserts that would then be judged by the other. The editorial department would trade places with the publicity/marketing departments, alternating who would bake and who would judge each year.

I was really into baking at the time, bringing in things for my coworkers to eat even if there wasn't a festive holiday in sight. Not only that, but for my first holiday at the company it was marketing/publicity's turn to bake, so I had to wait more than a year for my turn.