One of the above

The easiest way to win a poll, rig a plebiscite or generally end up as number one is to have the competing votes split among many similar competitors.

Bob Marley was a magical artist, but one reason he’s such a seminal figure is that most of the other musicians of his time (in the North American market) were lumped together in one or two other categories, whereas he was pioneering a new one. You might not want to play reggae at your party, but if you did, you were going to play Marley.

In order to be “one of the above” you have to begin by being willing to be “none of the above.” To zig with intent, when the market is insisting that you zag.

There’s a caveat, though: In order to be one of the above, you need to be in the jukebox or on the ballot. And that means your innovation, while different, still has to qualify for consideration.


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