Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Purple Cow, Disc Two

As I mentioned earlier, Purple Cow is the second of Godin’s books that I’ve ventured into. While Permission Marketing was solid and worth the effort, the Purple Cow is inspirational to the point of making me sit in my car in the parking lot without turning it off. It very much articulates a philosophy that I very much identify with, by expanding on some of the ideas from Permission Marketing. Godin is an astute observer of trends in society and in business and is very good at reading people and figuring out why they do what they do. As I mentioned in my first Purple Cow post, according to Godin (and this passes the sniff test with me), the reason people act so herdlike is fear—but ironically, when people don’t take risks, their chances of failure are much higher.

Here is a red-letter list that Godin asks us to pull over for and write down:

1. Don’t be boring
2. Safe is risky
3. Design rules now
4. Very good is bad

Godin says, I think very rightly, that people want to be safe. What they teach us in school is to do reasonably well, not stick out, not ask too many questions, etc., etc. The problem with this is that it doesn't make us different enough to succeed in the marketplace.

So I read Ben's post today about whether associations will be able to sort-of harness the energy happening in these online communities. I think that yes, if they start thinking along the lines of Godin's list. It's risky to let passionate staffers cultivate online communities and write blogs on behalf of the organization, but I think it's the way to move forward.

UPDATE: This line of thought reminds me of Creating Passionate User's awesome post on "Death by Risk-Aversion."

By Seth Godin
ISBN# 159184021X