November,  2006
Volume II   Issue 15

"Who Wants to be Worst"
by Jack Miller

I remember Jerry Seinfeld’s stand up routine about doctors. People say, call
my doctor, he’s the best. No one says, call my doctor, he’s the worst.

And I can just imagine Jerry Seinfeld doing a similar routine about
companies. It would go something like this:

Companies always say they’re the best. We’re here to serve you better.
Quality is job one. Buy our product, it’s the best. They can’t all be the best.
Just once, I’d like to hear someone tell the truth: “Buy our product – it’s the

The  inspiration for  this line of thought comes from Seth Godin, one of my
favorite business writers. Last year, I wrote a review of his book, “Purple
Cow.” You can read that review at

I was driving to a meeting today, and on the radio I heard that Seth Godin
spoke this morning at the NY Xpo for Business. His message followed the
same theme, a theme explored in his book.  Everyone tries to be better, but
being better isn’t good enough any more. Companies often try to grow their
business by getting better at what they do well, but everyone does this, and
you can’t differentiate this way.

No, he didn’t suggest being worse, but he did suggest being different.

To really grow, you need to be different, like Starbucks or Google, or 20
years ago, Staples. In his book, he said you need to be remarkable to be
noticed, like a Purple Cow. But the message is the same: differentiate! And
differentiate in a way that matters.

Research shows that small incremental improvements in product features
and benefits do not lead to exceptional results; true differentiation is
necessary, and true differentiation begins with a deep understanding of
customer needs.

What do customers need? What drives the market? What do they buy and
why? Jack Miller will address these questions at Pira’s Ink on Paper
conference in San Antonio, next week,  Dec. 7 and 8. For more information
call Jack Miller at  203 925 0326 or email

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Copyright 2006, Jack Miller

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