Innovation. Ideas. Insight.

If you can’t be the best, be memorable.

In Uncategorized on April 27, 2009 at 9:22 am

You’ll probably never hear the name Dan Gronkowski. He was the 255th player taken in the NFL draft. Second to last. But Ryan Succop? They’ll hold parades for him, or he’ll be on Letterman or interviewed on ESPN. He was the 256th and last player taken in the NFL draft. A person affectionately known as Mr. Irrelevant. Check out the video:

The title of Mr. Irrelevant has been around for more than 20 years. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say: 

Mr. Irrelevant” is the tongue-in-cheek title bestowed each year upon the last pick of the annual National Football League draft.

The name arose in 1976, when former Southern California and NFL receiver Paul Salata founded “Irrelevant Week” in Newport Beach, California. During the summer after the NFL draft, the current Mr. Irrelevant and his family are invited to spend a weekend in Newport, where they are treated to, among other things, a roast giving advice to the new draftee and a ceremony awarding him the aptly named Lowsman Trophy (the best college football player each year is awarded the Heisman Trophy). Salata makes an appearance at the final day of the NFL Draft to announce the final draft pick, which he has done for several years.

So, what’s the lesson here? Should we strive to be last? No, but you don’t have to be the best to be memorable, and sometimes being memorable is better than just being pretty good.

Now, this is different than a William Hung who was memorable for being awful on American Idol. That a circus side show. Nor am I speaking about Susan Boyle, a real top level talent (first round draft pick) in an unconventional package.

There’s no doubt that Ryan Succop has talent, he played college football and was one of 250 something players drafted in the NFL. His is a case of someone in the middle of the bell curve having an opportunity to distinguish himself. Now of course, you don’t get to decide you’re going to be Mr. Irrelevant, the title is given to you. But Succop has people rooting for him now, people who had never heard of him before this weekend. That’s a great opportunity – to be the underdog (“he was the last pick, he’ll never make the team”), no expectations and nothing to lose. If you’re out there looking for a job or trying to distinguish yourself at work, being memroable (and backing it up with real talent) can make the difference.

  1. agreed. being the absolute best at something is almost impossible. Very few get to the level in any industry. But to find a way to be remarkable is open to anybody. It doesn’t require you to be the best just requires a little creativity and some hard work.

  2. We want to congratulate Ryan on being selected at this year’s draft. And we want to welcome him to the table of Irrelevants. You can learn about Ryan’s predecessors, the previous Mr. Irrelevants, at

  3. Great motto – “If you can’t be the best, be memorable”. Love it. It keeps some fight in someone’s/a company’s drive to be in fact relevant.

  4. […] A defensible branding position? In Innovation, Insight on May 21, 2009 at 9:11 pm I’ve said it before, you don’t always have to be the best, but you have to be memorable.  Take a look at this […]

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