#personal development Mar 27th, 2024

Entering My Purple Cow Era

Cody Norman

Have you ever seen a Purple Cow?

First things first, I should probably fill those of you who may be unaware of the Purple Cow concept. Seth Godin has an entire book that does a great job of going into more detail on this concept.

The short version…

Be Remarkable.

Remarkable isn’t necessarily describing quality or that something is good. It’s more about whether it’s interesting, unique, delightful, or weird. So much so, you just have to tell people about it.

What do I do?

Almost one year into my most recent foray into the land of self-employment, I’ve been thinking more about my long term goals and overall vision.

The past few months, I’ve had a chance to work on a few different types of projects and ventures.

I’ve also had some trouble articulating what it is I do…


The easiest title and the one I use most frequently is Independent Rails Consultant. This accounts for the lion’s share of my time and income so that’s what I usually lead with.

But it’s not the only thing I do. One of the main reasons for going self-employed was having more time to work on other projects and ventures.

Some of those have been:

  • Writing
  • Mentoring Early Career Developers
  • Offering Developer Coaching Services
  • Spot Squid (SaaS)
  • Speaking at meetups and conferences
  • Potentially organizing a Ruby retreat?

The variety and breadth of these projects have been a huge jolt to my creativity. These projects have been stretching me to the edge of my comfort zone consistently. That’s always been a good metric that I’m heading in the right direction.

But still, I wouldn’t use writer, speaker, SaaS founder, conference organizer, or developer coach to describe what I do.

Dawn of the Purple Cow Era

Focus and consistency are two areas I’ve always had trouble with. I’ve made some great strides in the past couple of years but still feel a twinge of self-inflicted guilt for not focusing on the ‘one thing’.

Not long ago, I had the thought of just considering myself a Purple Cow. A Purple Cow’s only mandate is to be unique, interesting and to turn some heads. I think at my core, I love making things. Those things could be code, blog posts, experiences, BBQ, skate ramps, or anything else that piques my interest.

The point is, thinking in Purple Cow terms has me feeling more creative and less boxed in.

My Purple Cow Era is about chasing down the ideas that I’m interested in and that excite me. These are the types of projects where ideas seem to pour out of me. That’s a good sign I should keep going.

Working on these different projects and ideas is the easiest way for me to put my unique stamp and style into what I’m working on.

Let It Rip

There’s a saying you may have heard…

I'm here for a good time, not a long time.

If you’ve heard this, it was probably right before someone did something really stupid.

Instead of viewing this in the light of reckless abandonment, I think about it more as a reminder we should all relish and make the best use of what time we have.

Changing my internal mandate to something along the lines of

Do and make interesting, unique, and remarkable things that are good expressions of yourself.

feels like it’s removed a huge bottleneck and opened me up to allowing more of these ideas in.

Time to get Moo-ving on that Purple Cow idea of yours.