Small ways to be remarkable

It’s pretty difficult to build any kind of awareness or buzz unless you can uncover an interesting story to tell about your product, something remarkable for people to engage with and share.

Seth Godin talks about this theme frequently, not least in Purple Cow. But he returns to the subject in Tribes, noting that it doesn’t have to be complicated to be remarkable. You can, for example, just challenge one aspect of the status quo:

The status quo could be the time that “everyone knows” it takes you to ship an order, or the commission rate that “everyone knows” an agent ought to be paid. The status quo might be the way that everyone expects a product to be packaged or the pricing model that everyone accepts because it’s been around so long.

Whatever the status quo is, changing it gives you the opportunity to be remarkable.

Marco Arment, interviewed on The Pipeline, gives a wonderful example. Marco created Instapaper, a web service and iOS app that’s generating a disproportionate amount of buzz online. It’s a very simple tool for saving web pages to read later. It appears up there with Simplenote and Dropbox on every geek’s software must-have list. He talks about its early development:

Instapaper was just Delicious with one click removed, at the beginning. That was the point of the service. I wanted a bookmarklet that just saves in one click. That was a very simple idea.

One change. Just shaving off one part of the process to reduce friction. What’s the analogue in your business?

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