The main point of this book can be summed up rather simply, being different is not only good it is required in the current market.  Seth Godin spends a significant portion of the book enforcing the point that the era of mass marketing is over, and the age of innovators who go viral is here.

I tend to agree with this point from a consumer standpoint as the majority of new products I try are recommended by experts (or trendy) people I trust.  For example, the majority of makeup products I choose to try are based on recommendations from a few makeup artists.  I read book reviews on blogs or at my library to find my next must read.  My most recent clothing purchases are from brands I have shopped at for years or based on fashion bloggers who have a style I like.  None of these examples involve traditional media such as TV or print ads.

The remainder of the book he spends discussion how to become an innovator and make your own Purple Cow, his term for an idea/product that stands out.  He has a variety of ways to do this including:

  • Draw on other industries to learn ways to make yourself stand out – finding that behavior or work style that encourages innovation
  • Copy the behaviors of successful innovators in your field rather than their products – you cannot make your own Purple Cow being the second at something.
  • Find your niche – the era of “one size fits all” and TV ads is gone, rather you should target an underserved niche. Target those people who will influence those in the niche market by talking about your idea/product.
  • Marketing is no longer done after a product is developed, it must be built into the development stage – cross training between marketing and designing is key/
  • Consider the following during idea development – Who is your audience? How is your product better/different than what is on the market?  Who will be talking about your product and are they reputable?
  • Test the limits/find the edge – what is most hated AND most loved.
  • Define what just isn’t done in your industry – and do it.

Some general points he makes I found to be, well memorable Purple Cows:

  • The opposite of “remarkable” is “very good”
  • Innovative and memorable ideas can be spoofed – criticism and praise go hand in hand.
  • Innovative products eventually become common place as they are accepted – it isn’t enough to produce one Purple Cow, you have to continuously produce them to keep ahead of the curve.

This book is a fast read (I read almost all of it over my lunch breaks in one week), thought provoking, and a good though exercise for anyone who is in a position to make business changes.  As a small business owner, I came away with several topics to explore and clarified my business plan a little more.  As an employee at a larger firm, I found the ideas behind how to innovate useful and applicable to what I do on a daily basis.  This book is well work the time it takes to read and well worth recommending.

Love and go time,


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