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Be interesting, or be invisible

I talked to two extremely talented email designers today. This is what they do, and they do it really well. There are a lot of companies with email newsletters and almost no specialty design shops to make them great.

Then they said, “We really want to get into all kinds of ecommerce design.”

I really hope they don’t. They’ll just be one of a million no-name design firms, even if they are fantastically good. There’s just no way to break through when you do the same thing as everyone else.

You always want to be the go-to-guy, the must-call, the one-and-only. Which means you need to be a specialist. Drop all the other clutter and be the greatest at something.

As usual, Hugh MacLeod sums it up elegantly here:

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  1. Jorge Barba August 4, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    Though I understand your point, I think it’s

    What’s interesting is that most everyone who has made it through school is a specialist. That’s what you are taught, to become an automaton. What’s really interesting is if you have deep knowledge in something but still have breadth of knowledge in other areas. You don’t want to be so ignorant that you can’t connect the dots between dissimilar domains.

    Incremental innovation is ok, breakthrough innovation is interesting. And the latter doesn’t originate in a specialist mind.



  2. brent October 15, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    Agree with Jorge but adding that you can indeed be a specialist or be extraordinary in a specific area and still work the connecting domains enough to create breakthrough innovations. You can even specialize in being the connection to the related domains. The main concept here is to get out of the box and stand to out rather than try to be yet just another of the same in a sea of many.


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