I like crazy. Not in the clinical sense since that’s kind of disturbing once you’ve seen it. I like crazy in a couple of the other senses of the word and I think craziness is actually a desirable characteristic in most businesses. You might think I’m encouraging strange behavior and wild rants. I’m not, unless “strange behavior” encompasses pushing back against the status quo.
First, I think our goal in business is to get our customers to be “crazy” about our brands. That might sound easy but if so, why don’t we see more brands with fan bases as engaged and passionate as that of, say, Apple? The newest iPhones went on sale to so-so reviews and yet there are lines to buy them. Apple fans are so crazy for the brand that competitors make commercials about it. That’s the kind of crazy we want.
Second, most of us are very afraid of the crazy idea. We use crazy as a pejorative. That’s…crazy! All great ideas began as someone’s crazy concept. Put a human on the moon. Humans flying. Driverless cars. When I was kid watching the Jetsons, that was all just someone’s crazy imagination. Today, it’s reality for the most part. What slows us down as businesses is resistance to the crazy idea, not the idea itself. Look at the what the music business went through as digital emerged. Had they embraced the crazy idea of separating songs from albums and distributing the product digitally they would have prevented years of piracy, the need to sue their customers (now THAT’S crazy), and lost revenues.
Finally, there are the offshoots of crazy – crazy like a fox – or crazy as a word to add positive emphasis – crazy smart. Personally, I’m a fan of what others might call “crazy talk” – what Steve Jobs was referring to when he talked about those who push the human race forward. “While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
So call me crazy, but I’m with him. You?