Home » Archive » Frickin’ amazing vs. the long tail

, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

Maybe this is an old idea. Maybe I’m the last kid on the block to get it, but it seems to me that “frickin’ amazing” is the new normal and it’s not getting us much.

Read the marketing gurus. They talk endlessly about being amazing. And I’ve been giving myself headaches trying to figure out how both my clients can jolt themselves into that elite level of prestige.

Plagued by that never-attainable-goal I read Evelyn’s quiz about amazing vs. meaningful. Here’s one line: Name five Nobel prize winners. K, now name five people teachers who changed your life. Frickin’ amazing gets beat by meaningful everytime. As Evelyn said, “Accolades and awards are buried with their owners.”

When it gets right down to it, what is every entrepreneur trying to do? Make an independent living. There’s other drivers in the mix, but without this one all the rest will starve along with the entrepreneur.

But when I look at where my disposable income gets spent hardly any of it goes to frickin’ amazing things.

I don’t own an i-pod; I have a walkman I bought used in 1996.

I don’t have a bespoke tailor; I bought my last suit at Mexx.

My shoes are from Globo but they’re indistinguishable from my friend’s outrageously expensive, Parisian soles.

I buy my coffee at Starbucks, but they’re a commodity now, right?

I’ve purchased every Pulitzer Prize winner and every Nobel Prize winning author’s book I own in a used book store down the street.

So, if it’s not frickin’ amazing, what am I buying? Simplicity, elegance, practicality, affordability, and classic endurance. Where are these ingredients found? Most often in the long tail.

It’s easy to confuse innovation and insight with virility. But virility, audacity and surprise quickly become normal. Insights can produce brilliance or simplicity. Innovation can mean previously unseen or suddenly useful. The economics say there’s longevity in the latter rather than the former.


Jeremy, this is a great post especially the reference to the Long Tail. I think each of us
is unique enough to offer value to some group as long as we don’t just follow everyone
else’s lead. You’re going to be frickin’ amazing to some group somewhere if you don’t squash that
uniqueness. Being different and remarkable and frickin amazing – even meaningful – is all
scary uncharted terrain, so most folks simply desire to fit into the crowd (i.e. the
marketplace) for all their protestations that they want to stand out.

Actually I just wrote today about remarkable (ala Seth Godin). I guess what Tom Peter’s
calls gasp-worthy. I think the latter half of the quiz were ALL remarkable people and
recollected remarkable experiences.

Thanks Evelyn. I agree. And good point on the nature of the quiz.

Since writing this post I’ve mulling over how to reconcile it with an earlier post “Be amazing and make up for it.”

I still hold out that both posts remain valid. Reconciliation may best play if I clarify my perspective. On this post I was describing my frustration when trying to answer my clients’ plea to find something viral for them to be. I don’t think that’s the right goal.

In the earlier post I was discussing the amazing parts about each of us (and the deep shadows that sometimes result) and the need to claim freedom to be those amazing things.

I’ll read the post you mention.

Excellent. I like that the long-tail economy brings some old values back into play. For products – value for money, quality, range, variety. For people – sensitivity to all customer’s needs, not just those of the majority, and humility – not being too big to deal with minority customers.