Amy Moczynski / Digital Strategy / February 28th, 2013

Jumping Curves and Dead Cow in a Can: An Afternoon with Guy Kawasaki

This afternoon, I attended the Art of Innovation event in downtown Tampa with some of my 352 colleagues. Our entire Tampa office was able to attend, as well as our CEO, CMO, and our VP of client strategy. As one of the event’s sponsors, we received a few perks, such as o

ur CEO introducing a video one our designers created for the event.

We were also able to hear Guy Kawasaki speak on the art of innovation and how innovators can succeed in business. While I was furiously tweeting away this afternoon, I did manage to absorb some additional pieces of information to share with some fellow marketers.

Don’t be afraid of imperfection

Guy joked that in Silicon Valley, with the exception of medical devices, everyone ships before they test. Imperfection comes with taking risks, and jumping curves to move along to the next phase of growth will not be a seamless process. Sometimes, to achieve great success, we need to think outside the box, jump some curves, and push forward with our wacky ideas until they work.

Great products polarize people

Along those lines, you can’t expect to make everyone happy all the time. Trying to please everyone will result in mediocrity, and you’ll get lost in the shuffle. Some of the biggest brands in the world are polarizing, and their uniqueness is what helped them grow their brand allegiance.

Be unique and provide value

The biggest marketing tip Guy provided to innovators was to unique themselves. As he demonstrated with the following example, to truly succeed in innovation, provide an idea that is unique and also provides value (the upper right corner of the chart, or in this case, Fandango).

On the other end of the spectrum are ideas that aren’t unique and don’t provide value, using the example of online pet food retailers during the .com burst. Once businesses realized that they could get “dead cow in a can” (pet food) online and sell to consumers, companies flocked to create websites that all aimed to do the same thing: sell pet food

online. However, the sites weren’t providing value to consumers, there was nothing unique about them, and most of those businesses aren’t around today because of that (Pets.com anyone?). It’s not enough to just be unique or to provide value; you have to do both.

There will always be times when we are fearful of our imperfections and afraid that our ideas or services will not delight 100% of people. There are going to be bozos out there who are going to try and keep us down. At the end of the day, it’s our job to provide unique value to our clients and continue jumping those curves.

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk via Compfight cc