Book Review: "Purple Cow"

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Book Review: 'Purple Cow'Purple Cow is about the why, the what, and the how of remarkable. A Purple Cow is a metaphor for a remarkable, interesting, and revolutionary idea or product. This book highlighted many of today's Purple Cows and shares in-depth ideas and concepts of how a company can become one, while teaching that companies can't simply continue to hammer out the same ideas.

Book Review: 'Purple Cow'
"My goal in the Purple Cow is to make it clear that it's safer to be risky - to fortify your desire to do truly amazing things. Once you see that the old ways have nowhere to go but down, it becomes even more imperative to create things worth talking about."

This past week I finished reading "Purple Cow," written by Seth Godin, and was very happy that I did. Seth Godin is a renowned public speaker, and, in my opinion, one of the best authors to ever touch on the subject of marketing. I am a big fan of the the man and his books.

So what is a Purple Cow? Well, a Purple Cow, as described by Godin, is a metaphor for a remarkable, interesting, and revolutionary idea or product.

Imagine for a second that you and you're family are traveling across country on vacation. As you continue to travel towards your destination, you begin to drive past several farms where cows can be seen grazing in the pastures right next to the highway. For the first few miles you and your family would no doubt be intrigued, finding every cow amazing and fun to watch as you continued to drive past them. Now, fast forward a bit to the 20th farm or the 25th farm down the road... are you and your family still watching the cows? Are you still intrigued? Probably not! The new cows are just like the old cows and what was once amazing is now common. Worse than common. It is now boring.

The same can be said with many of today's products and services. Many are indeed so similar to their competitors that they themselves have become boring. Take the aspirin industry into consideration... a quick visit to the drugstore turns up Advil, Tylenol, Aleve, Bayer, Motrin, Alka-Seltzer, and so many other brands of aspirin. They're all pretty much the same, aren't they? They all claim to relieve head-aches and head-ache related symptoms, and all promise to do so quicker than their competitors can. Aspirin and the aspirin industry are boring.

Now, going back to you and your family traveling down the road, what if you happen to spot a Purple Cow at the 30th farm? That would be interesting and intriguing... wouldn't it? Sure it would... it's a freaking Purple Cow on the side of the highway. It is so different, so uncommon that you and other travelers would no doubt pull over for a closer look. You'd begin to ask questions, take pictures of it, and even go as far as telling someone else about it. Wouldn't you?

The same can be said for an idea, product, or service that is truly remarkable and different... one so remarkable and different that it gets us to take notice of it, to ask questions, to tell someone, and to actually invest in. Such an idea, product, or service is what Seth Godin refers to as a Purple Cow.

A coffee stand was just a coffee stand... until there was Starbucks. Starbucks is the now purple cow of coffee shops.

A donut was just a donut... until there was Krispy Kreme. Krispy Kreme is the now purple cow of donuts.

A search engine was just a search engine... until there was Google. Google is the now purple cow of search engines.

The same can be said for many companies within many industries both online and off.

Book Review

Purple Cow is about the why, the what, and the how of remarkable. It highlighted many of today's Purple Cows, and shares in-depth ideas and concepts of how a company can become one. Needless to say, I was able to learn quite a bit from this book, and feel that the information shared was definitely well worth the price.

Furthermore, the book teaches that a company that is looking to be successful can't continue to hammer out the same ideas, products, or services. It's both boring and dangerous. In order to be successful, a company needs to be different, innovative, and remarkable. So, let me ask you. Is your company a Purple Cow? If not, this may be the book for you. Reading it may just help you to discover new and innovative ways to think about your business.

A marketing book was just a marketing book... until there was "Purple Cow." "Purple Cow" is the now purple cow of marketing books!

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