Today, I am a recovering vegetarian.

About a year ago, I saw a fellow eating a turkey sandwich and I wanted one. But I stopped myself, because I’m a vegetarian. Then, I thought, "Wait a minute. For whom am I a vegetarian? If I want a turkey sandwich, I’m going to have a turkey sandwich."

So, for now, I’m eating birds and fish. (Discriminating readers would say, correctly, that I am no longer a vegetarian.)

Once I Felt So All Alone
I spent two decades at fancy dinner parties and business lunches as a vegetarian, where I would find myself in polite company facing several recurring questions:

  • Why are you a vegetarian? (Because I don’t particularly care for meat.)
  • Don’t you miss meat? (No. When I eat veggie burgers, I’m glad they do not taste like meat.)
  • Are you healthier? (I don’t know. Maybe. It’s hard to tell.)
  • Do you love animals? (Sure. But that’s not why I don’t eat them. The ethics of vegetarianism have become more appealing to me, but I’m a vegetarian for culinary reasons, for reasons of taste.)

Then the waiter would bring me a giant mound of cottage cheese with cling peaches around it with a maraschino cherry on top. It might be a soothing facial pack. But not much of a meal.

Now, the cottage cheese has been replaced by portobello mushrooms. They look like baboon ears. I think I have moved away from vegetarianism because I couldn’t face another portobello.

Over time, the questions changed. In fact, rather than asking questions, table mates would hear of my vegetarianism and say something like, "I don’t eat much red meat any more."

A Classic Climb
This is the classic climb up the product life cycle. Early adopters are joined by the mass market. Technical reasons for adoption become less important as fashion takes over.

Think of the first time you saw any new product or behavior. The first jogger; what is he running from and why so naked? The first litter bag; why carry trash with you, when the window is open? The first non-smoker; what a crank! They each had such technical reasons for their behavior.

Now, farther up the product life cycle, we do these things because, well, we do these things.

It’s worth considering where you are on the product life cycle. Want to chat about it?