Be remarkable

What makes a “hockey stick”?

That sort of viral growth is a result of you not having to chase each sale one at a time. It only happens when your product spreads via word-of-mouth.

In order for this to work you need a product that is remarkable.

That is, containing at least one feature that people feel compelled to tell their friends about.

For Trade Me this is the ability to sell something that you thought was worthless to somebody you’ve never met. When that happens it’s all you can talk about for a week. Hence the exponential growth curves and low cost of sales.

There was another good example of this over the weekend with the latest version of OS X:

You can argue about whether this icon is funny or smarmy (for what it’s worth I personally tend to agree with Anil – it makes Apple look a bit insecure to me). Either way, while it’s not an especially interesting or impactful feature, it’s the one that everybody is talking about.

So …

What’s remarkable about your product?

What’s going to make people blab about how good it is unprompted?

If you can’t think of anything then probably best you flatten out your projected growth curves.

PS. The photo above is from Flickr. It’s the Crazy Chief of the Podface Tree. There are hundreds of thousands of photos on that site, but this is one that I thought was remarkable, and now I’ve told you about it and the site it’s hosted on too. :-)

UPDATED: unfortunately the photo I used in this post is no longer available to be embedded.  It’s still on Flickr, and now also on Getty Images.  A shame, as far fewer people are likely to remark about it now, I would have thought?

7 thoughts on “Be remarkable”

  1. Hi Rowan – I take it you’ve read “Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable” by Seth Godin?

    I happen to be reading it (again) right now – great stuff…

    What really stands out is that the term ‘viral marketing’ is oft severely mis-used at present… The key really is that the marketing is built right into the product. So, an expensive billboard-and-bus driven friend-get-friend type promotion can tend to miss the point… not to mention over look the fact that the product / service lacks inherent ‘remarkability’
    –> spend the time and $ on the product, not the campaign, and it will sell itself…

  2. Rowan … it could be as much “software with a sense of paranoia and small penis” as “software with a sense of humour” :-)

  3. Hi Rowan,

    Re: Marketing, I liked what Blake Ross (Firefox) said in ‘Founders at Work’ written by Jessica Livingston.

    “It turns out that marketing is just making the product good enough that people spread it on their own, and giving them ways to do that…. Now I can’t stand meeting with professional marketers who try to ‘craft’ the ‘message’ and all that junk.” (Blake Ross)

    Still, the basis capitalism necessitates a commodity be of value to it’s customer in the first place.

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