Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Purple Cow

I recently read "the Purple Cow" By Seth Godin (given to me by Jon at http://www.joochy.org/)

The book is a marketing guy's take on how businesses should look at marketing. Guess what he says? Basically, that the marketing department should take over the whole business. That the choice of what product to sell, the design of the product, etc etc etc should all be made by the marketing department. What's more, the marketing department should take on high risk projects and then not be blamed when the projects fail, cuz risky remarkable things are the only things that have a chance (even though it's a slim chance). It's really pretty great because of course he's going to say this, he's a marketing guy, and the first thing he has to sell is himself, and his profession. I notice the same thing happening with the marketing department at my day job. What does this say about advanced capitalism?

Plus, he says Ozzy Osbourne is more remarkable than Joseph Bueys.

So, obviously dude's got his head up his ass, but (while up there) he seems to be seeing something happening. I think what he's seeing isn't "the new way marketing has to work" he's seeing capitalism's last grasp at a consumer that is less interested in the things that capitalism is good at making. People want remarkable things? Well, artists make remarkable things, that's what art is. Remarkable things (by definition) cannot be mass produced by alientad workers in a factory. The bourgeois mode of production doesn't work for these things, and all of us "post-consumer" consumers are more and more interested in these things.

Thing is, what I and my friends do (indeed what Jon from joochy does) is too remarkable for Seth Godin. We're Joseph Beuys to his Ozzy Osbourne. We can't do what he describes "successful" purple cows doing. We can't be sold out, cross over to mass market, boom and then fizzle after a short period of raking in billions. We're too out there, too risky. We're "just weird", so even the most risky corporation is never going to invest in us. That's fine, cuz even without corporate distribution and investment, we can get by. If we're all getting by and (as a whole) producing better stuff than the few "remarkable" capitalist products that breifly surge to the top because they have access to capitalist distribution and backing, then eventually (given new technologies that make distribution more accessible and backing less necessary) we are going to take this thing over.

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