Be Remarkable in the New Year
Purple Cows and Chairs
Early last year I wrote a brief blog, Be Better – Be Different. Yesterday, while preparing some book recommendations for the New Year, I stumbled across the book Purple Cow by Seth Godin. It's an expansion on the subject of my earlier blog, based on a quote by author Dale Dauten, “Different isn't always better, but better is always different.”
There's kind of a reverse logic at work in Purple Cow, what Godin calls “the lesson of the Cow”, Safe is Risky. In the early '90s, office furniture was a very mundane business. Offices were furnished by purchasing agents. Their favorite saying was, “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM”, a safe decision. Furniture was functional, but boring. Safe was functional and boring.
Then Herman Miller introduced the Aeron chair. It looked different (ugly in fact). It worked different, and it cost $750. Any sane purchasing agent would run not walk from this monstrosity. But, it was a Purple Cow. Purchasing agents didn't want it, but purchasing agents bosses did! Anyone who saw it wanted to sit in it. Anyone who sat in it wanted to own it. The quirky design made a statement, and millions of Aeron chairs have been sold since their introduction. Today Herman Miller's Aeron chair is part of the permanent collection in the Museum of Modern Art. In the words of Seth Godin, “Herman Miller realized that making a safe chair was the single riskiest thing that they could do.”
What are you doing today because everybody else is doing it and you think it is safe? What Purple Cows are out there that might seem risky because others aren't going there, but your gut tells you they're wrong? And what are your going to do about it?
“Different isn't always better, but better is always different.”
For help identifying your Purple Cow contact:
– Art Johnson
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