On Becoming a purple Cow:
I’m a big fan of Seth Godin…
Seth is an entrepreneur extraordinaire, public speaker and an Innovative thinker who has written several cutting-edge books on entrepreneurship, marketing and business in the 21st century digital world. You can find numerous interviews, workshops and videos by Seth Godin all over the Internet and he always has something new and interesting to say about innovative marketing and Business. The Seth Godin concept I want to talk about today is the Purple Cow. The book “Purple Cow” lays out the concept in the following manner. (Paraphrased) If you drive down pretty much any rural highway in the United States of America a common sight are herds of cows standing in the fields. In certain parts of the country (Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, NorthDakota) cows are so common that your brain begins to just ignore them as you would the blades of grass that line the ditches along the roadway. However… imagine driving down the road and seeing, standing among the masses of normal cows, a single Purple Cow! Now this is something that would catch your eye Because it immediately stands out from the other cows around it. It catches your attention forcing you to look at it and think about it wondering how it got there, how it came to be and why it’s there. Your brain instantly is forced to focus on this if only trying to figure out what it is. This is the nature of how human minds work…
Why The Purple Cow?
The human mind processes literally millions of bits of information every moment. this information is gathered through the five senses; your sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch all work together with the brain to form a complete picture of the world around you. Because it would take too much time and energy to think about each bit of information that is presented to you the mind has developed a very clever scheme for managing this incredible amount of information. Because the work of processing information is so energy-consuming the brain has come up with a strategy designed to simplify the work of collecting processing, prioritizing and responding to it. This allows us to function and respond to new information in a timely manner. The brain does this by taking any new information brought in and categorizing and associating it with memories, experiences or concepts that we are already familiar with and then it groups them into categories to allow us to organize information in a more efficient way which requires much less time and effort to process. This is important because, by taking large chunks of information and associating categorizing and Judging it with something we are familiar with we can quickly formulate a response and behaviors that would seem to be appropriate. All of this becomes automatic over time; It’s the reason we laugh at certain things without Knowing what is specifically funny about it or become sad or angry in response to things That we may have never experienced before. However….When something new happens that your brain has NO basis for comparison… Watch out!! everything goes off the rails!
You see, when your Brain encounters something unique that it is completely unfamiliar with, It has to go into emergency assessment mode. Your brain was happily chugging along on auto pilot and then suddenly it is forced to sit up and pay full attention; it’s something new that does Not fit into a predetermined category. So the Paleo – cortex (Lizard Brain) is suddenly Alerted… The Lizard Brain makes an assessment and tells us whether we should, “Fuck It, Fight it, eat it or run away from it.” In short, There is a whole new assessment process that takes place and your Brain forces you to Focus and pay attention.
Are you The Purple Cow?
So, what does all of this stuff have to do with you and your Music? In short…. Everything!!
I am reminded of a Forum Post I read once on a major music website, It went something Like This:
Young Musician: “hey guys How do I become successful as a musician?”
Gnarly, old,Jaded manager guy: well Kid you have to work on your professionalism; Master your craft and then get out there and Play shows whenever and where ever you can, play out for 10 years or more to develop your sound and oh yeah, stand out and be unique.”
Wow, what amazing insight from someone who claimed to have been in artist management for over 30 years… and that whole “stand out and be unique” closer… Wooooo damn, Now why didn’t I think of that!?? Of course I am paraphrasing again But that was the gist of the conversation and the “stand Out and be unique” part… That is verbatim.
You see, Most people in the music business know that Being genuine and Unique and standing out are key ingredients in the “Get fame and success in the Music Business” game. But no one seems to know how. For a 30 year veteran to tell a young musician, ” Oh yeah, stand out and be unique” is comparable to a high school football coach getting his team ready for a game and saying, ” Ok guys, I don’t have a game plan or any plays ready for this team, but here’s what we’ll do… Go out and make MORE touchdowns than the other team… Now get out there and Win This Game!!!” you see, for some of us old crotchety veterans of the music industry who make a bunch of noise about how Long we’ve been in the Business…it doesn’t always mean that much. many old vets are still trying to succeed and haven’t changed their strategies or their plans in 30 years and are afraid to admit that a Big part of their game plan is basically to hang in there Long enough to get lucky.
Master the art of Being Unique
Here’s The Thing I want to share with you guys… The Music Business is wide open now, and It’s up to you what niche you want to fill and if there isn’t already a niche ready to be filled… Make one. The Key is being Unique and Genuinely you. Remember, Hedwig had his angry inch. That is the Lesson in this post. Find Out what it is That makes you unique and genuinely you and ride that horse till it drops. You have to determine what it is about you, if you are a solo act or if you have a band, that makes you stand out. once you do that… Run with it, take it to the nth degree, have fun, experiment and figure out how to tell that story in your music, your marketing and your Branding.
Sorry, But there is No simple answer for this one, like so many aspects of the music business, the solution depends on you I can only guide you down an avenue of thought. But consider This… Sometimes The answer to The Purple cow question is not who you are But in who you want to become… Think, Marilyn Manson, Alice cooper, David Bowie as Ziggie Stardust, Elton John, Freddie Mercury, ; each of these artists succeeded By becoming who they wanted to be and through creating an alter ego Like Clark kent and Superman became greater than they could ever have been before.
** Below is a Link to Seth Godin’s Book “Purple Cow” This link is an affiliate Link and if you choose to purchase this book through The Link I will receive a commission on it’s sale… Thank you in advance 🙂 **