Purple Cow

Alright. Enough of my ex-girlfriend stuff. 

In this post I want to write about this term called purple cow.

What's purple cow? 

purple cow... where you at!?

purple cow... where you at!?

Purple cow is a term coined by Seth Godin. Basically, the idea is as follows:

Cows are normally brown or dotted, like this case. If there are 100 brown cows and you are brown then you are just a normal cow, unnoticeable from the pack. But, if you are a purple cow, you instantly stand out because i mean... a cow that's purple? This is crazy! You'll be the one that everybody remembers before you walk into the slaughterhouse before you are turned into a bunch of McDouble (jk!).

Anyways, the point is, in this era of over population where everybody is so similar to each other (a.k.a characterless) you need to be different in order to draw people's attention.

I think this is absolutely true. People are very simple creatures. We react when there's a stimulus. But when we get used to a stimulus, it doesn't excite us anymore and we stop reacting to it (lose interest). This biological principle applies anywhere in our life. And if we are wise enough, we have to understand this idea and leverage this to our advantage - i.e., we need to differentiate ourselves

But this needs to be done in an organic way. You shouldn't fake yourself for the sake of appearing different. You have to work hard to morph yourself into the ideal version of you.

Some hypothetical examples of purple cows at different settings:

Work: You need to be a top performer with your own style of work. Whether it'd be sending out emails in a crisp, clear way or running short, highly effective meetings, you have to distinguish yourself from other cubicle slaves. I'm currently trying to figure this out myself, but one thing for sure is that it is very easy to be unnoticed when you are on an autopilot mode.

Outfit/style: When you are wearing run of the mill clothes, you can't stand out. So you need to find a style that works out well for you. If you look nice with preppy clothes, make that your niche. If you are an hypebeast, keep on wearing supreme tshirts, but make a new style out of it. If you are an Old Navy type guy... well you've saved up enough, it's time to find a new store and develop your own style. This is true among celebrities. If you know K-pop, look at gdragon. He is well known for coming up with unique styles that other people soon imitate. He takes risks to be a pioneer and that's why he's where he is now. 

Club/social setting: Having a table makes you a purple cow, because you are standing out from the pack by having that privilege. But if you really want to stand out (as a guy), you need to be the guy who's having the most fun - dance your ass off, make funny gestures. Then you'll get all the attention you want because girls wouldn't want to hang out with people who's looking at their phone all the time pretending that they are having a blast when they are just complaining on their facebook "this club sucks."'

Another example: Remember when Gucci was a old, overpriced brand that nobody really cared about? And see what happened to Gucci in the last year? Gucci became the talk of the town when it launched something crazy, so crazy that no other brand dared to venture. It rebranded boring Gucci by engraving animals/plants on top of its traditional design. Other risk averse designer brands didn't do something as crazy as this because it could've been a huge miss. However, Gucci took a leap of faith and did something shocking to the entire fashion brand and was able to reclaim its old glory days. Now the entire fashion industry is obsessed with layering images on top. We see the pattern now. High Risk - Purple Cow - Huge Success

Anyways, two takeaway messages are as follows

  1. You need to be different to stand out
  2. You need to work hard to distinguish yourself genuinely

As an Asian guy, I find this a blessing and a curse. It's a curse since I'm bound to have certain stereotypes associated with being Asian. But at the same time, this is an opportunity for me because if I behave in a way that completely breaks down these stereotypes, I'll leave an impactful impression on people and they will remember me. I think I know some answers, but I'm still on my way of refining these and they do take time since I'm also improving/transforming myself into a better me. So yeah, there's enough of boring people out there, let's not be one of them and be a purple cow.




Taeyang You