My friend El Rey, who is brilliant and deranged, has a tradition among his friends. I have no idea who first started it, so I won’t even try to guess. Every year for someone’s birthday, they bake a meat cake. Meat cake is meatloaf made in round cake pans, and decorated with mashed potato frosting. One particularly chilling year, someone tinted some of the frosting blue to make little flowers.
A lot of people create something basically substantial and ordinary—a cake—and then apply some marketing frosting to it. The thicker the frosting, the less anyone notices whether the cake underneath is much good. And let’s face it, cake is cake. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves.
Another approach is to be, to use Seth Godin’s favorite word, remarkable. To be materially unlike others. To be so distinctive, interesting, compelling, or maybe just plain weird that people pass your name along.
Which do you want to be? Which do you think has the greater chance of success?