Otaku. I Like Cows & My Favorite Color is Purple.

Learning from" Purple Cow" in changing social media and influence space

Be remarkable.  Transform your business by finding your “purple cow.”

That’s the underlying message of Seth Godin’s Purple Cow.  As a long time reader of Seth’s blog, I’m familiar with his simple casual style and messaging.  It’s honest, forthright and to the point.  Something that many businesses, marketers, and individuals are not.   That’s what makes Seth and his messages so refreshing.

Earlier this year I read Seth’s book, Linchpin and felt like in many ways it was written for me.  I just wish I had discovered his book two years ago when I left the corporate world after trying to position myself as the company lynchpin.  It didn’t work out how I had hoped, and I instead made the decision to do something bigger and better by working to become an industry linchpin.  This role is much more fulfilling than I ever imagined, but it’s not easy.  It’s more than a full time job.

My favorite color happens to be purple although that’s not the only reason this book resonated with me.  His book discusses the changing world in which we live where traditional marketing and business tactics are no as longer effective.  Brands and businesses grew at unparalleled levels due to a simple marketing formula — television.  But then the television market became over-saturated.  We tuned out, DVRed, and fast forwarded through commercials, but marketers haven’t adapted and are still operating using their old-school winning and product marketing formulas.

Sound familiar?

When it comes to the human resources, talent, and recruitment industries, I feel the same way.  Human resource vendors are taking old approaches flooding practitioner’s email accounts with thousands of messages and leaving voicemail upon voicemail.  As a service provider myself, I am seeing the other and sometimes ugly side of the HR industry.  For a mere $10,000 I can purchase 1,000 leads of human resource and industry practitioners.  A well-respected online community that offers this marketing solution to its vendors happens to be the largest HR community online, HR.com.  As a former HR practitioner, I had no idea this practice even existed, and if I did, I would have promptly deleted my account.  As a business owner and professional, it’s not something that I think I could ever bring myself to do.

Godin calls purple cow’s companies who possess otaku, a Japanese term that references people and business who are obsessive about their passions.  These otaku show themselves in different ways — an amazing culture like Zappos, great coffee like Starbucks, or perhaps a passionate HR and talent blog like Blogging4Jobs.

Otaku. I Like Cows & My Favorite Color is Purple.

In the fast-moving marketing and technology world, Purple Cow was written a lifetime ago, in 2002 and is more relevant today in the changing social media and influence space than it ever was before.  Perhaps HR.com and other vendors either inside or outside our space can take a page from Godin and his book.  Being a Purple Cow takes work, but I can say it’s worth all the effort.


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.


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