books - business 2008

Free Prize Inside – How To Make a Purple Cow

Free Prize Inside

How To Make a Purple Cow

by Seth Godin

from the back… ”Godin makes the case for ‘soft innovation’ as the best way to grow a business, instead of relying on big ads or big innovation. He says that anyone can think up clever, useful and small ideas to make a product or service remarkable, that is, worth talking about.” – Management Consulting News

pg 28 Getting rid of a problem is as good as adding a feature.

pg 59 Your growth will come instead from the dissatisfied and the unsatisfied. The dissatisfied know that they want a solution, but aren’t happy with the solution they’ve got. The minute they find it, they’ll buy it. Yahoo!s best customers weren’t busy looking for a replacement. Google focused on dissatisfied Web surfers.

pg 60 The problem is that management really likes those satisfied customers. The first question they’ll ask about any innovation is, ”Will our satisfied customers like it?” Of course, this is a silly question, because the satisfied customers already like what you’ve got. The question you ought to ask first is, ”Will people dissatisfied with what they’re using now embrace this, and, even better, will they tell the large number of unsatisfied people to go buy it right away?”

pg 88 Generally, it’s a bad idea to answer objections. If you spend all your time answering one objection after another, sooner or later the people you’re selling to will find an objection you can’t answer. Better to answer an objection with a question.

When someone says, ”We’ll never be able to put the book in a box because then we’ll need two ISBN numbers,” start by understanding the objection. ”What’s the problem with two ISBN numbers?” is a good way to start. Keeping working your way backward until you uncover the actual problem – not the symptom of the problem.

Then, before you try to answer the objection associated with the real problem, take two more shots. First, ask, ”If we can solve this problem, can you see any other reason not to move ahead?” This obligates the person to speak up or put up. It means the obligation you’re going to tackle is the real problem, not a stalling tactic. Second, work to get them on your side. Ask, ”If I could persuade you that solving this problem was really important, how would you do it?”

Tactic: Let Them Pee on Your Idea – When you present your vision of a free prize, some people within your organization are looking for certainty, for a lead to follow, for a complete vision. Others, often those in positions to hurt (or help) your cause, want to pee on your idea as a way of marking their territory. Let them.

The minute an executive changes your idea in a harmless way, it becomes his idea. And now that it’s his idea, you both win. Some champions go so far as to intentionally overlook details in their concepts, to make it easier for someone in power to dramatically improve their idea. Why not?

pg 93 Calling a big meeting is almost never a good idea. Big meetings are terrific for setting milestones or dictating your thoughts to a willing audience. But big meetings are absolutely terrible for introducing a new idea.

         everyone wants to know what the others think

         everyone wants to be in the loop, the earlier the better

You can take advantage of both needs by having informal conversations with individuals. Focus on the part they need to hear, and honestly tell them it’s the first time you’re discussing that particular element. In the words of Rich Gioscia, now head of design at Palm, ”you don’t convince people in a team meeting. You work the channels.”

pg 114 FedEx thrives by delivering things on time, not by creating fashionable innovations. It’s unlikely that management would have been happy if Joe had taken a Skilsaw and started cutting holes in trucks. So he chose to champion the soft innovation trough the system.

Joe first approached the corporate identity group. He asked if his slot would affect the FedEx brand (by obscuring the logo, when the slot was cut into trucks). Notice that he didn’t ask for permission. He didn’t say, ”I’ve got this great idea. Do you guys want to do it?” Instead, he asked if they were willing to hear more (if someone else did the work). They agreed. … As each department bought in, he makes sure the other departments knew about his progress. Every department had concerns, but no ne was big enough to make them refuse the project. … Were senior FedEx people dying to come to his meetings? Not at all. So he pushed ahead on his own, getting a prototype built as fast as possible, making it easier for everyone to visualize it, and even more important, establishing that this thing was going to happen – so people ought to get in now, before it was too late to give their input.

pg 124 The lessons of are simple. First, stop keeping your ideas a secret. Ideas in secret die. They need a light and air or they starve to you death. The more people you share you idea with, the more likely it is to become real.

The second lesson is even more important – it’s not the idea that matters, it’s what you do with it. The real challenge (and the real skill) comes from championing your idea, shepherding it through the system and turning it into a reality.

pg 127 Edgecraft is a Straightforward Process

  1. Find an edge – a free prize that has been shown to make a product or service remarkable.

  2. Go all the way to that edge – as far from the centre as the consumers you are trying to reach dare you to go.

pg 157 Design is the single highest-leverage investment you can make – a well designed product is usually cheaper to make and service than what you’re doing now, and it sells better. A true free prize.

Don’t tell me it’s for the rich. Target thrives with great design. In-N-Out Burger does as well. Once you realize that printing cheesy stuff costs precisely as much as great stuff, that an ugly website is as cheap as a beautiful one, you’ll understand why great design is available to all of us.

pg 166 I got a nice note from a banker in Texas. She had a limited budget, and she wanted to know how to promote the fact that the bank had more ATMs in the community than the competition. My idea? Without telling anyone, start putting a few $100 bills in the $20 storage bin of the ATMs. Not too many, just a few, at random.

Word would spread! By confounding expectations and doing the opposite, you reach an edge. (Alas, this promotion never happened because the woman I gave the idea to didn’t know how to become a champion.)

pg 176 While the edges always change, the process never does. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Find a product or service that’s completely unrelated to your industry.

  2. Figure out who’s winning by being remarkable.

  3. Discover which edge they went to.

  4. Do that in your own industry.

pg 183 Five questions:

  1. If we knew the right answer, would that be enough to solve our problems?

  2. Which edges are working for unrelated organizations?

  3. Could we get closer to the edge?

  4. How do we make our product or service public, not private?

  5. Is it really remarkable?

pg 211 I politely disagree. It’s not that people somehow lose their ability to be creative when they’re in an environment in which they feel safe. It’s that they ignore the creative ideas that naturally occur to them and fight changes championed by others. They like the way things are, and they can’t resist the urge to defend the status quo.

The challenge of a champion is to help people who are already creative to take advantage of their talent. By selling the dream and fighting the status quo, we can free people who have been lulled into a false sense of security.

pg 217 The point is this: It doesn’t matter how technical your topic is. It doesn’t matter how dense the ideas are. If you really and truly are trying to sell people, you must do it with simple, emotional, memorable images. If the audience can’t remember what you had on the screen without looking at their notes, you have failed.

If you’re serious about the ideas, please click over to Amazon for the Software Project Survival Guide. I really can’t recommend this book strongly enough. If Free Prize Inside persuades you to read just one other book, I hope it’s this one.

pg 219 I will share one effective tip if you decide to try brainstorming. Whenever you hear an idea you feel like criticizing, use this phrase: ”Great idea. Write it down.” It allows you to move on without taking the time to criticize the factual foundation of the idea.

Free prize:

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