Friday, May 11, 2018

If You Are Good, Noone says a word

When I was in China practicing my Mandarin. I would get a bunch of people saying. Wow, your Mandarin is really good. But they were just being polite. Because if I was really good, they wouldn't say anything.

When people expect something, that thing is not remarkable. Remarkable as in literally, something you would comment on. Its only when something is different than expectations where things become remarkable. In my case, since I am Chinese-American, and they can't tell me apart from native Chinese until I speak, they would remark that my Mandarin was good AFTER they found out I was American. Because its expected that my Mandarin was good if I was native Chinese. But its not expected that my Mandarin is good if I am American.

So in my case, if I was truly good at speaking Mandarin. Then people wouldn't say anything at all. Since I could match their expecations: I look Chinese, I speak Mandarin.

This is similar to Seth Godin's Purple Cow theory. Brown cows are unremarkable. But if you saw a purple cow in a field of brown cows, that would be remarkable. Thus, when marketing, you want to be the purple cow. You want to exceed expectations and become remarkable.

Being different than expectations causes things to be remarkable, good or bad. In my Mandarin speaking, I was a purple cow (in a bad way) wanting to be an ordinary brown cow. When marketing, you want to aim to be a standout remarkable purple cow.