Fascination with “purple cows”
As far as I know, the term “purple cow” was coined by Seth Godin, who has a book by the same name. Essentially, it is about achieving success by being exceptional, outstanding, a “purple cow”. During early 2000s, I lived through Ethernet’s meteoric rise to dominance; first as Metro and later as Carrier Ethernet, demolishing everything in its path. A clear example, in my mind, of a true “purple cow”, a major disruption.
Since then, I got increasingly intrigued an fascinated by a process of coming up with a “purple cow” type of idea, spending uncountable hours thinking about it, trying to work it out. (Somewhat disappointingly, Seth’s book didn’t provide any workable pointers to just how one gets themselves one of those cows. It simply says that if you get one, good things are bound to happen. Oh, well.)
You might ask, “what’s wrong with the traditional innovation methods”? Well, for a start, they tend to produce too few “purple cows”, and too many square pegs for what turns out to be round holes. I have strong aversion to waste, and thus just couldn’t accept that there isn’t a way other than “try, fail, tweak, try again”. Yes, I like certainty.
To cut the long story short, it turned out that somebody did come up with a method to breed those “purple cows”, after all. With certainty. In this series of blog posts I will talk about it.