Again, i love Kathy Sierra's shit. She fucking rocks.
you'll note i've already used 3 expletives in the headline and first 2 sentences above. it's no goddamn coincidence (shit, there i did it again! fuck.)
so why is the word "fuck" so powerful? why does it cause such fucking strong reactions from so many fucking people? and most importantly, WHY DO I WANT my customers to use the word FUCK to describe my products and companies, either in love, or in hate?
in the language of passion, it is precisely those words that offend some folks that are the most valuable, the most desirable reaction to achieve.
but why are the words offensive in the first place? because some syllables cause actual physical violence to one's ears? of course not. they are offensive because some cultures have identified those words to express items of distaste at other segments of our culture.
- fuck = intercourse
- shit = defecation
- cock/pussy = genitalia
it's no surprise that these words contain power -- they represent basic human vitality (or lack thereof), and are intimately tied to bodily processes that have life or death importance.
curiously, some of these words of power have evolved into "off-limits" words that we deem inappropriate for "civilized" conversation, and that some of us choose not to use... as well many of us choose to forbid and/or discipline our children from using them. which of course, results in them becoming MORE powerful, and which makes our children WANT to use them more, which makes them RETAIN their off-limits and powerful nature.
in fact, it is exactly those words that we forbid usage of, that become the most powerful.
and which is why, if you're in marketing, you want your customers to use those words in describing your products -- you want them to become SUCH big fans, that they break the rules and risk cultural repression in how they feel about your product. in fact, you don't even mind if they use those terms to express HATE or DISTASTE... because at least they have an opinion about your product! (and for those of us who aren't dominating our markets yet, even a strong negative opinion can be an opportunity... for either press, or to learn about how to make the product better).
all of the above is the scientific & cultural analysis. however, the summary of it all is simply what Kathy and Kevin Briody and Tim Bray observe: "that's fucking cool" is the highest form of compliment and customer testimonial you can ever ask for.