PURPLE COW: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable (Portfolio, 2003)

A PURPLE cow stands out no matter how you look at it. Now that is being remarkable. The challenge in today’s overcrowded marketplace is to become VISIBLE rather than to remain invisible in a market with a multiplicity of similar items from which to choose. To become remarkable means the business or entrepreneur must do something which is, in some way, well, remarkable. The product the business or entrepreneur offers to the world must be packaged through an inventive strategy designed to set their product out in the forefront ahead of the competition. According to Godin, purple cow innovation is more than cutting edge. It’s more than mass advertising. It’s more than a recognizable household name. It’s more than tried and true. Instead. It. Is. Original.

Purple cow is offering an item in a remarkable, new way. It’s unusual. It’s consistent. It’s fun! It’s something-you-must-have because it meets a need and is also dependable. Although having a good idea or a useful product is great, most likely in today’s market that is not enough without the purple cow. The product will remain invisible to the buyer and relatively unknown to the masses. This means that businesses must leverage risk by developing something remarkable in order to become visible. For writers, like me, this is important. What good is a writing that is never noticed and never read? Word of mouth matters too.

I read Purple Cow because another author remarked that it changed his outlook and in the process changed his life. I guess what purple cow thinking says is this, what boring is to marketing, conducting business-as-usual is to stale and stagnate–and that is, well, unremarkable. Why not be remarkable instead?

The Power of a Happy Thought

A Day Brightener: So, who was it who liked happy thoughts? Oh yes, it was Peter Pan who desperately needed a happy thought so he could fly. A happy moment can make all the difference. The following two memories happened during a time when I was in need of some encouragement. They are packed with warm fuzzies.

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Mother & Daughter Moment:  In 2009, while shopping with my soon-to-be-married daughter, our shopping carts overflowing with food items for the wedding reception, I suddenly was overwhelmed by my love and care for her. I said to my daughter, “I need a hug.” She replied, “Me too.” It was a close clinging as we hugged there in Sam’s Club. My sweet girl all growed up, and me letting her go and finding it hard to do. She was so beautiful, tall, and radiant. I could see her joy. Our relationship was changing and we could sense it. We both felt deep emotion, like when you would rather cry than do anything else. It reminded me of our embraces when she would leave for University during earlier times in her life. That hug spoke of love, treasured love.

All This Pain & A Divine Appointment

At a later stage in life our hair now in gray-white locks, we looked at each other, smiled and then embraced; it had been too many years. “I was trying to guess what you two would look like?” the joke came out of me as she and her husband stood in the entryway of my house. They both laughed and she made a witty comeback. Here they were, an old friend, one of the Christian women I long ago traveled with in college music groups back in the 70s, and her husband, also a good friend from college days.

Sometimes you know God is up to something. This was a divine appointment. I knew it the moment she called a few weeks before from their home two states away.  I’d often wished to have such an opportunity. This was perfect. There would be no distractions. I asked God to guide our time together, for Him to lead us–as to whether the conversational thread should lend itself–to the reason I believed God might be bringing our paths to cross.

The conversation was lively, invigorating, somehow with a sense of familiarity. The years peeled away. I learned what led the two of them to become united as one, their falling in love and getting married. And the jobs and kids and grandchildren. I’d always admired her when we were college students and those same thoughts surfaced as we engaged in catching up. Still vivacious and quick-thinking, her liveliness made this a fun, stimulating visit. Soon, it was her and me talking. Her husband, by doing something else, opened it up so she and I could converse one-on-one. An hour or two later the conversation provided an opening. I asked the question I’d been pondering for a couple of days.

Water Walker (Outlaw Series) (Worthy Publishing, 2014)

Eden, the main character, is kidnapped from a foster home by her birth mother’s husband and taken to a place where she is immersed in a strange set of circumstances. She finds herself trapped in some things she doesn’t understand. The plot keeps you reading and reading until you finish the book. Lots of suspense. We wrestle with the character of Zeke, the controller, and Katherine, Eden’s over-zealous (and mind-controlled) mother. Then Zeke tells Katherine to do the unthinkable to keep Eden out of commission. There’s a reason he will do almost anything to make her comply to his requests. I liked how the concept of the very human act of forgiveness is woven into the story near its end. Surprisingly, this was my first Ted Dekker book. My daughter is a huge fan. She knew it would keep me on pins and needles. Besides a riveting storyline, this book hits on a topic worth considering. Dekker sort of exposes what cult-like thinking does to persuade people to do wrong in the name of right. The mother in this story will do anything she is told to do because she is beholden to the leader and is unable or unwilling to think for herself. He uses Scripture to convince her that what she is doing is pleasing to God. The Outlaw helps rescue the situation by coming into the picture different times throughout the book. To be honest, I was slightly disappointed in the ending, it seemed to rush too fast.