The saying was "everyone ought to be a nonconformist" during an individualist conference session during the 60s.
Who is a nonconformist? Is it simply someone who is eccentric, or are there minority cohorts of nonconformists, who, in their lack of uniformity, maintain their distance from that which is obviously conformist. Conformism - the adoption of behaviour and attitudes shared by others - is of course partly due to peer pressure, and begins at an early age. It is an essential human quality to want to belong, and belong we do, in dress, manners, speech, food and many other things that we like to share with others. So that leaves those who do not share the same likes, and the question of why and how preferences are formed. The contrarians.
Manufacturers of things for sale are very interested in preferences. They need to know preferences so they can plop their new product right down in the middle of the biggest buying segment. The iPhone and iPod, and "BMW Lifestyle Apparel" come to mind. All three products are positioned as having an individualist leaning, yet are perfectly centered on a certain buying market, age group and demographic segment. (confession/disclaimer: I do own a BMW, and like it)
We are constantly told that our mics are "intelligent" and that we are somehow "different from all the others", all attributes that we like to hear. The fact that we are "off the beaten path" and "away from the mainstream" is considered to be of value in an industry that demands creativity and renewal, and rejects that which is centered on "the masses". I'm not sure that we are centered on anything, let alone a demographic segment. Our customers seem to come from all over; Singers with a passion, curious engineers, jazz quartets wanting to capture their performance, guitar players looking for tone, genius composers, virtuoso horn players, the famous and the obscure,and producers who are both new and established. We don't seem to particularly appeal to the strict traditionalists - they have already made up their minds and their beliefs are firm - but we do seem to appeal to the younger artists, engineers and the adventurous, those who you might call individualists of any age, and even the wacky, but also to the seemingly low-key, and serious. We enjoy the diversity and the colors and flavors they brings us, and for the knowledge, too.
So who are you? Are you a conformist? I doubt it.