Don’t Stand Out From the Crowd. Avoid the Crowd At All Cost

Who is this flying over us?

All existing business models are wrong. All Social Media advice is stale.

In The New Secrets of CEO’s, (Amazon Affiliate Link) Richard Branson states the following:

I totally ignored the established business theories and strategies and struck out determined to do things differently.

I know some amazing Social Media cats who are producing amazing content and toil in obscurity while the big sites like Huffington post, Lifehacker, FastCompany and the ilk keep churning out mediocre content and receiving massive traffic.

I’m pretty sure Steve Jobs could take a shit in a box, wrap it up and sell it for $149.00

I don’t mean to single them out. There are ton of people who have the attention of the general public and deservedly so.

All the examples I listed are examples of people and companies who DID avoid the crowds and did their own thing. They can afford to rest on their laurels for a while.

And while they’re laying there flaccid they open an opportunity for you and I to come in with something totally out of the left field and steal their thunder.

The muse lives off the beaten path.

The muse that you’re supposed to follow is a novel muse. It craves originality and you will NOT find her in established norms and heavily traveled roads.

  • Johnny Cash went off the beaten path when he turned his back on the audience during a performance. May seem mild to you and I but it was a major deal back in 1950s.
  • The CEO of SONY went off the beaten path when he dumped a ton of money in manufacturing a contraption no one has seen before and NO market research to back up its financial viability. The Walkman became a staple of modern society; only now we call it iPod.

First, learn all the rules. Then, break all the rules. ~Miles Davis

Don’t be the best at what you do. Be the only one in the world who does what you do. ~Hugh MacLeod

All existing business models are wrong. Find a new one. ~ Hugh MacLeod

Or you can choose a well-traveled road and ignore your muse. You’ll be in numerous but lackluster company.

What’s your pick?

Other posts in this series:

You Don’t Need What You Think You Need

How To Climb Your Own Private Everest

Is It The Business of Creativity or Creativity of Business

Sex and Cash Business Theory

What’s Holding Your Business Back and a Simple Fix You Can Implement Right Now

To Fail, Expect to be Discovered

Devil Gets His Due Either Way So Choose Wisely

Ignore Everybody

Good Ideas Have a Lonely Childhood

Dino Dogan

Global Force for Badassery | Founder of Triberr | Refugee from Bosnia | Writer for Technorati | Speaker | Lousy Martial Artist | Pretty good singer/songwriter | Hi 🙂

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  • Anonymous

    Thought provoking post Dino.
    I agree with you on the trial blazing thing, but this is only one of the two approaches to success in life and in business. The first approach is to copy exactly what the best are doing or have done. The second approach is what you’ve just described. There is much more risk involved in the second approach but the rewards are much greater as well.
    For a total success I recommend to use 2 approaches for maximum impact.
    Fun post;)

    • Dino Dogan

      On surface, the two models make sense, but when we scratch the surface, we find that modeling doesnt breed success (not without other factors, usually in the form of financial backing and connections; see vs. for latest example).

      I’ve written about this, I would love for you to check it out and tell me if you agree/disagree…in either case your point of view is always appreciated my friend 🙂

      Here’s the link

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  • Leon Widrich

    Dino, I have read a couple of your posts now and see myself coming back more and more often. I really like this one too. My thoughts are quite similar to yours. I would say that in order to live “off the beaten path” one must first know what the beaten path is. First, learn all the rules. Then, break all the rules applies very well I feel. And I am sure that both Branson and Morita knew it too. I would argue that one should aim to “grow beyond the system” in order to leave the beaten path. This is what these 2 guys have achieved. Not sure if this makes sense to you. Keep up the good work!

    • Dino Dogan

      Dude, that makes perfect sense to me. And I think we’re saying the same thing using slightly different language. Glad you’re enjoying the blog, come back any time, ya hear 🙂

  • mark

    Generally, we think of the road more traveled is easier, though not easy, and the rewards meager. The road less, is different. It is generally viewed as much harder, but the rewards are much greater.

    Personally, I have chosen both “roads” at different points in my life. One is no better than the other, it would seem. But, if you choose to follow your passion (and this could be done on either of the “roads”), then I believe you will end up where you need to be.

    Having said that, you do need to be realistic. Someone may love football and want to be a professional player, but if they are only six feet tall and 200 pounds, well there is not much hope for them.

    I love the Hugh MacLeod quotes!

    To me, finding the next big thing is quite alluring. Not sure that I will be able to find it, but it sure will be fun to try.

    Have a great day!

    • Dino Dogan

      I have a post coming out tomorrow that’s highly relevant to your comment. The “If You’re Only Half Smart, Be Half Smart Twice” portion of it…I hope you’ll check it out and tell me you thoughts on it.

  • Dino Dogan


  • hanelly

    So wait, where can I get this box of Steve Jobs shit you were talking about? Seems like a reasonable price.

    But honestly, this advice is great, Dino, and you are actually living it out every day on this blog. What’s more interesting, an echo of something you’ve already heard, or a new sound entirely? I think we have our answer …

    • Dino Dogan

      Hey Andrew….Im glad you diggin it man…stay un-safe.

  • Lisa

    Dino! I love the “muse lives off the beaten path!” Brilliant…..and we certainly live up to that.

    well done my friend.


    • Dino Dogan

      lol..we most certainly do 🙂

  • Julie Nutter

    This is very similar to the advice given to writers – to be recognized, you must do something completely different, in a completely different way from the current crowd. Sure, you can do it better than the crowd is and “stand out,” or you can do something ass backwards and make the crowd fight to U-turn and catch up with you.
    They never will. =]

    Cool. And, as always, seriously thought provoking.

    And look at me. I haven’t rambled anymore yet. I deserve a cookie.

    • Dino Dogan

      When I was talking to Tristan he mentioned something that stayed with me. Why write stuff thats already done. Write something original, otherwise its a waste of everyone’s time.

      So…agreed then 🙂

  • Morgan Barnhart

    I really am getting tired of reading Inc and Entrepreneur and all of them since it’s just the same stale content over and over again. Yes, we get it. Social media is awesome. So how can people use it to stand out?

    This post = truth.

    • Dino Dogan

      You know…i was making that point in a video post from few days ago…when things get big they get safe. You will see ok content …maybe…but its mostly mediocre. Great content has a certain freshness and sense of danger to it…and you’re not going to get that from well established sits/companies/people.

      Thnx so much for patronizing DIY 🙂

  • Mark Anderson

    Ignore Everybody, by Hugh Macleod over at is a fantastic manifesto on this very topic. Nothing interesting and unexpected is ever, um, expected 🙂

    • Dino Dogan

      Great book of course. I did a whole series of posts based on his Ignore Everybody…so much inspiration in so few pages.