The book, “Purple Cow,” by Seth Godin, was nothing to sneeze about. Or was it? A topic that the five of us continually returned to while seated in the back of The Michigan News Agency was the group Godin referred to as the “sneezers.” These are the people who seek out the new ideas and not only try them out, they spread the word, too. These are the people who will be your early adopters if you have come up with a “Purple Cow.”
A “Purple Cow,” then, is another way of saying that something is remarkable. This means that your business is doing something different and original and it’s worth being noticed and talked about. By the way, Godin states that the opposite of remarkable is “very good.” Another way of stating that would be “boring,” “average,” or “nothing special.” The Purple Cow, on the other hand, stands out, at least for a little while. Just like everything else, there are cycles for the Purple Cow products. The goal is for the early adopters (sneezers) to help move it to mass use and create a “cash cow.” After that, Godin states, let the team who is good at “milking the cow” continue on while you reinvest towards the next time of doing it again. What happens if it fails?
Failure was another topic we discussed as part of why there are not more Purple Cows. According to Godin, in America, we learn to fail in first grade. It is where we realize it is best to try to fit in and color inside of the lines. In general, we are raised with the belief that criticism leads to failure and that being noticed gets us sent to the principal’s office, not to Harvard.
How are remarkable products discovered? The group discussed crowdsourcing, and Kickstarter as sources, which are newer ways of spreading the word. One question was if venture capitalists were specifically looking at those areas for investments or if it really is more of a grassroots support.
A few more points:
- (p21) The old rule is to create safe, ordinary products and combine them with great marketing. The new rule is to create remarkable products that the right people seek out.
- (p113) Marketing is in the core of the product and sharing the value. The better description for previous versions would have been advertising.
- Reference to the book “Business Brilliant” by Lewis Schiff – the difference between dwelling and analyzing failures is what is learned. Or, as mentioned through a quote by Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
I ask again…have you seen a Purple Cow?
Stacy (a.k.a. “The Book Lady”)