Exceptionally Different

by Nursetopia on July 31, 2010

Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd by Youngme Moon is a book about “succeeding in a world where conformity reigns but exceptions rule.”

I must admit it was sometimes difficult to read. I prefer more conversational styles of writing; but the concept, the ideas were absolutely intriguing. She discusses how brands (and people) have basically become the same via competition. Pampers versus Huggies. Coke vs. Dr. Pepper vs. Pepsi. Starbucks started selling food while McDonald’s now sells premium coffees. Did you stay in a Marriot or Hampton Inn? The point is they’re all the same. Mediocre. They’re not different enough in our minds.

The example that stood out the most in my mind as a manager is about performance review results. We give and receive performance reviews, and immediately our minds jump past all the great pieces to the poor pieces. It’s our culture. We work to bring up the poor sections to be more “well-rounded” employees when, as Moon argues, we should focus on the great sections. We should work to make those shining pieces of our performance even better, thus further differentiating ourselves from others even more. Making ourselves exceptionally different.

It changed my perspectives on branding, innovation, and differentiating myself and work completely. It’s a must read for anyone looking to escape the usual herd and the status quo.

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