I’m really enjoying Seth Godin’s book, Purple Cow. Its one of those marketing books that reinforces those things you already know intuitively, but a book puts in fresh perspective–much in the vein of the grandaddy of all such books, The Art of War. It’s about winning.
The point he makes is that with all the choice consumers have in almost every aspect of life, you have to be really extraordinay (the purple cow) to set yourself apart. I read it on the tail of Joel Spolsky on Software, another righteous read which among other things gives a rating system for software shops and employee interview screening practices.
And these two reads back-to-back, Wow! I feel like creating super-elite, got-their-act-together club, and hoping I got the right stuff to join. There’s a lot of edging around the concept of being the best in the world.
Remembering the role that being extraordinary, and thinking of yourself that way, plays in every day life motivates this post. You need to be pretty darn sharp to be hired as a software developer at Foggy Creek Software–or even be hired as an intern. Similarly, to break through with a new product, you have to be remarkably better or different, and ALSO have that difference easily communicated by your fan-base (that must exist) to even have a chance. Word of mouth (or Internet) advocacy is critical. You must design a product that can win the early adopters and also motivate your base. Success is built in at the product design phase, an won by releasing its potential, virally.
And I approriately come to that realization reading a Seth Godin Marketing book on the New York subway, tapping out an article one-handed on my iPhonel, and posting by email to Blogger, knowing its going to get the top position in Google on the topic I target, because of HitTail (Update: no HitTail suggestion was a perfect headline for this article, so I just used a headline I wrote–I’ll save the HitTail effectiveness demo for the next post).