Why trying to be the best competing like crazy makes you mediocre.
Every few years a book through a combination of the authors unique voice, storytelling ability, wit, and insight simply breaks the mold. Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods is one example. Richard Feynman's Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! is another.
Now comes Youngme Moons Different, a book for people who don't read business books. Actually, it's more like a personal conversation with a friend who has thought deeply about how the world works and who gets you to see that world in a completely new light.
If there is one strain of conventional wisdom pervading every company in every industry, it's the absolute importance of competing like crazy. Youngme Moons message is simply Get off this treadmill that's taking you nowhere. Going tit for tat and adding features, augmentations, and gimmicks to beat the competition has the perverse result of making you like everyone else. Different provides a highly original perspective on what it means to offer something that is meaningfully different in a manner that is both fundamental and comprehensive.
Youngme Moon identifies the outliers, the mavericks, the iconoclasts the players who have thoughtfully rejected orthodoxy in favor of an approach that is more adventurous. Some are even hostile, almost daring you to buy what they are selling. The MINI Cooper was launched with fearless abandon: Worried that this car is too small? Look here. It's even smaller than you think.
These are players that strike a genuine chord with even the most jaded consumers. In fact, almost every success story of the past two decades has been an exception to the rule. Simply go to your computer and compare AOL and Yahoo! with Google. The former pile on feature upon feature to their home pages, while Google is like an austere boutique, dominating a category filled with extras.
©2010 Youngme Moon (P)2010 Random House
"Different" is probably only of interest to people involved in marketing.
Through a variety of examples author Youngme Moon illustrates that breaking the rules of conventional marketing wisdom is often the right path for companies to follow. All too often marketers and senior management aim for the big middle, but in markets where the middle is already reasonably well served, this is often a mistake. Instead, radical positionings can be far more effective. For success in the marketplace, it doesn't matter how many people think your product is okay. What matters is how many people love your product. Moon describes and gives examples of ways this can be achieved by breaking various rules of marketing, such as taking what may be considered a product's weakness and exaggerating it and promoting it as a positive feature; whereas conventional marketing wisdom would dictate playing down the negative attribute and focusing on other attributes.
If you're a marketer, this is a great read which may stimulate your marketing thinking.
I always like audible version better.
I like seeing the thought process of becoming successful, but not following the crowd! Being different can be cool and work!!
Discussions of Ikea and Mini cooper
All of you guys follow the cowd and the trends, I'll be over here, being successful!
I loved the author's comfort with big words, but beyond that the book is painful listening. There are no new ideas here, just different words to describe branding, market life cycles and so forth. If this is the sort of dreck coming out of Harvard Business, it is no wonder we're in the state we're in.
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