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What’s Your Purple Cow?

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Seth Godin's Purple CowThe concept of the Purple Cow was introduced by Seth Godin in his groundbreaking book by the same title.  Recently I read it again because it is full of ideas and case studies on how to make your business remarkable.

When you drive by a heard of cattle they all look like cows and it doesn’t seem out of the ordinary.  But if you drive by a heard and standing in the field is a Purple Cow you have to tell someone because it is so different.  When something forces you to remark on it, by definition it is remarkable.  This is what your new business strategy should be focusing on, finding ways to make your customers talk about your products to their friends.

So the obvious question is, what is a Purple Cow?

Sanpellegrino is different than regular juice.  Well, it’s not really different.  It’s sparkling juice in a can but the secret lies in the can itself.  Every can of Sanpellegrino has a foil lid you must peal off before drinking.  As if your juice is so special that it needs to be covered by an additional seal.  Also, you can’t find this juice at gas stations or any old grocer, I’ve only been able to find it a Costco.
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13 Ideas on Being ‘Cool’

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When you are cool you can get away with a lot.  It’s difficult to become “cool” though, most of the time it’s engrained in employees/owners/companies from the very beginning.  Being “cool” can be (and almost always is)  a competitive advantage, just ask Threadless, 22 Fresh, Coda Clothing or Vitamin Water.  It’s developing your own personal social object, your purple cow, your hedgehog strategy.  It’s the reason people both love and hate Howard Stern.  It doesn’t matter what you think of him, he has an element of ‘cool’.

Here are a few ideas on being “cool”.

  1. It’s a culture, a natural way of life.
  2. It’s being different and sticking to your guns.
  3. It’s pissing some people off to make another group happy.
  4. It’s that moment when you are unsure if you should do something or not, and you do it anyway.
  5. It’s holding a contradictory opinion from everyone else.
  6. It’s not listening to the people who put you down, they aren’t the cool ones.
  7. It’s making other people extremely happy.
  8. It’s going against the grain, not following trends but creating your own.
  9. It’s tweaking the norm to make it more enjoyable.
  10. It’s taking a seemingly regular event and making it irregular.

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