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The Color Purple

March 10, 2006

I got to finish reading the (in)famous Purple Cow around 2 days ago. Famous, because it is made by Seth Godin: a world-renowned marketing guru. Infamous because, as what one of my old teachers said, the book had a thought – and nothing else. I find it difficult to really like Purple Cow. The concept was simple: be a risk taker and it lasted for a boring hundred of pages.

It was like reading the same thing over and over again. But that’s not the worst part. The worst part about it is that it tries to come up with a book about something that can’t be defined. It’s like making love’s manifesto. It’s like treading at the parameters with descriptions and examples without actually pinpointing what Purple Cow (or love) is all about.

Yes, Seth Godin emphasized that the Purple Cowness of successful radical brands cannot be laid down in mere steps and ABCs. He even mentioned that there’s no exact way, no definite measurement on how to become successful by becoming a Purple Cow. Then why, my friends, do you have to come up with a book? A mere postcard or car bumper sticker would have been sufficient (but then again that wouldn’t make Mr. Godin a million or so richer).

During the first few pages, Purple Cow was 100% interesting. But sadly, for a book which poked fun at homogeneity, the book became a victim of its own criticism. Chapter by chapter and all you can read is Seth Godin evangelizing distinction and uniqueness of each brand. And yet, he keeps on repeating the same idea. Sure, the historic failures he mentions all throughout are many and varied – but it’s still the same cow – the same principle.

It’s like what’s happening to this post. 5 paragraphs in length all saying the same thing repetitively: Purple Cow, the concept, is superb; Purple Cow, the book, is something else. God, am I making any sense?

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