PART V: Happy Feet; the success of standing out!


I was reading this enjoyable penguin tale (yes I have the kids book and the DVD) and it reminded me of a tough economy and how to succeed.

Let me break it down for you….

Our Hero Mumble is the embodiment of what (I think) it takes to succeed in the current world.

Our little hero was a little “different”. He was born into a world struggling with a poor economy… there was not enough fish to go around, the area was fished out, and Mumble stood out in his community for all the “wrong” reasons. In a world of singers, he was a dancer! He was shunned for his beliefs (“it just ain’t penguin”), for his passion, and shouldered the blame everyone placed upon him for his beliefs’ bringing this famine amongst them.

Mumble took this rejection on board, he tried to assimilate, yet struggled to find his core niche. So he set off on a journey of self discovery (OK he was made redundant… .sorry, banished, he was banished, definitely banished), with the goal of solving the problem.

On this journey he continued to learn. He was attacked by strange beasts (angry CEO’s taking a pay cut?) found a community that embraced him (for me that would be community 2.0.. ie RBC, Twitter and more recently Recruitment 2.0 Asia Pacific).
This community enabled him to find an idol, (Lovelace) someone who knew all the solutions, and would share that information for the sum of a pebble. (how many websites promise to make you a millionaire for a simple fee?) (Please note, not for one second am I suggesting these sites are the breeding grounds for false idols, lots of “marketing Web 2.0 guru’s”, but not false idols)

After being embraced by this community, our hero felt he had to go out on his own, he needed to rely only on himself to solve this problem. (look at the new businesses which started up in the last 3 years)

He found even more challenges in this, he was lost, lonely and eventually out of hope. He was found and “saved” in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately he was repatriated in a mind numbing, soul draining environment, vanilla environment. He lost himself here, just going through the motions and surviving, day in day out (Look at all those businesses which have been sold or bought during the last year!)

(I think we are currently at this point in the market)

Eventually, Mumble our hero, found himself again. His individualism started bubbling to the top in an irresistible manner, until it flowed uncontrollably from every part of his body. Yes he was dancing again! He was publicly displaying his unique value proposition, AND PEOPLE WERE TAKING NOTICE! People were “buying it”. Momentum was building.

The world was taking notice. The world was buying. The world did something! The world gave him what he needed. They took him home, colluded with each other to stop the fishing in the area (thus ending the famine) and our hero, became everyone’s! His individuality, his unique selling point, his value proposition had made him a success. He stood out in a sea of same, our hero STOOD OUT and became successful.

P.S, there may have been a love story running parallel to this, but seemingly unimportant to my tale, so I left it out

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Posted on February 19, 2009, in childrens books, recession, success, unique, value. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Hey Dan,I like the cross-analysis you’ve put up here. I think you’ve put your finger on a couple of interesting points;Firstly, a number of industries (and while I believe it’s largely those with a technical grounding, it’s probably not provable) have real issues with accepting those who will ‘dance’ in a world of ‘singers’. We’re starting to see the businesses who have a reputation for being anti-innovative fall further and further behind, as business models change. While Mumble was eventually able to take his new direction to the larger group, I suspect that more and more talented individuals will make a philosophical split with companies that display this mindset. It wouldn’t surprise me to see real challenges for those companies who are still trying to be number one in a dying industry (eg, like newspapers).Secondly, there’s a branding aspect to your point. Mumble didn’t choose his flock – he was born there. He was obviously not a culture fit, and yet he persisted trying to fit into the culture. He then left to find other cultures that suited him, and eventually returned, only to find the original culture had shifted to a more innovation-friendly voice. I think there’s a point in that too about finding not only a niche, but a culture that lets you explore it, and gives you the fraternal support and structure you need to influence change. Great post!

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