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WWW SETH'S BLOG

SETH'S BOOKS

Seth Godin has written 12 bestsellers that have been translated into 33 languages

The complete list of online retailers

Bonus stuff!

or click on a title below to see the list

all.marketers.tell.stories

All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

free.prize.inside

Free Prize Inside

The practical sequel to Purple Cow

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

linchpin

Linchpin

An instant bestseller, the book that brings all of Seth's ideas together.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

meatball.sundae

Meatball Sundae

Why the internet works (and doesn't) for your business. And vice versa.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

permission.marketing

Permission Marketing

The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

poke.the.box

Poke The Box

The latest book, Poke The Box is a call to action about the initiative you're taking - in your job or in your life, and Seth once again breaks the traditional publishing model by releasing it through The Domino Project.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

purple.cow

Purple Cow

The worldwide bestseller. Essential reading about remarkable products and services.

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IN STORES:

small.is.the.new.big

Small is the New Big

A long book filled with short pieces from Fast Company and the blog. Guaranteed to make you think.

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IN STORES:

survival.is.not.enough

Survival is Not Enough

Seth's worst seller and personal favorite. Change. How it works (and doesn't).

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

the.big.moo

The Big Moo

All for charity. Includes original work from Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Peters and Promise Phelon.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

the.big.red.fez

The Big Red Fez

Top 5 Amazon ebestseller for a year. All about web sites that work.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

the.dip

The Dip

A short book about quitting and being the best in the world. It's about life, not just marketing.

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IN STORES:

the.icarus.deception

The Icarus Deception

Seth's most personal book, a look at the end of the industrial economy and what happens next.

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IN STORES:

tribes

Tribes

"Book of the year," a perennial bestseller about leading, connecting and creating movements.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

unleashing.the.ideavirus

Unleashing the Ideavirus

More than 3,000,000 copies downloaded, perhaps the most important book to read about creating ideas that spread.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

v.is.for.vulnerable

V Is For Vulnerable

A short, illustrated, kids-like book that takes the last chapter of Icarus and turns it into something worth sharing.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

we.are.all.weird

We Are All Weird

The end of mass and how you can succeed by delighting a niche.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:

whatcha.gonna.do.with.that.duck

Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?

The sequel to Small is the New Big. More than 600 pages of the best of Seth's blog.

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THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin




All Marketers Are Liars Blog




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Member since 08/2003

Most likely to succeed

"Succeed" is in the eye of the beholder...

Most likely to hit a home run

Most likely to please my boss

Most likely to do the work

Most likely to work for free

Most likely to stick it out

Most likely to change everything

Most likely to be trustworthy

Most likely to attract attention 

Most likely to be invisible

Most likely to be worth it

There are many versions of most likely to succeed. When you're looking for a gig or a client, the category you are placed in by those that choose is up to you. And no category = invisible.

The panda and the bicycle

Many tribes gain in power and connection by finding their opposite, by identifying the choices that members won't make.

"People like us don't do things like that."

So the vegan tribe obviously chooses to not eat meat. And during the key formative years, the Apple tribe wouldn't deign to buy Microsoft products. The Amish build solidarity and define themselves by the machines they choose not to use, and for a long time, many professional photographers wouldn't use digital cameras.

The smart choice is to understand that tribal identity is based on choices, not on facts, based on allegiances, not the intentional disregard of the rest of the world. Some sects of the motorcycle tribe don't wear helments... not because they believe it's safer (and thus denying the obvious) but because it's a choice they want to make.

Shortly after Copernicus rocked the world by proving that the Earth goes around the Sun (and not vice versa), many religions condemned this insight, "people like us don't believe things like that."

The problem is this: science is not the opposite of a tribe, just like the panda is not the opposite of the bicycle and the avocado isn't the opposite of the semicolon. Facts are different than choices. The scientific method is a process, a series of questions and iterations that is distinct from what any particular observer chooses to believe. So yes, professional scientists have a culture and belong to various tribes, but no, that culture is not the same as the scientific method. And yes, scientists are often wrong, but scientists following the method correct their mistakes.

The same thing is true about accounting. When your balance sheet or your direct mail numbers don't add up, don't blame the process that counted them.

Tribes thrive when they connect and coordinate and synchronize. They work when they create a cultural connection. But they can't thrive when they merely embrace (or deny) the reality of the world around them.

You can choose not to ride a bicycle, but it makes no sense to deny that bicycles exist, regardless of how important your tribe thinks the panda bear is... unrelated ideas, ideas that don't benefit from being put in opposition to one another.

As you organize and lead your tribe, then, the opportunity is to be crystal clear about what you stand for, but to give the alert observers within your clan the ability to stick with you and what they believe without having to pretend that the world outside doesn't actually exist.

Micro marketing and the called bluff

Just ten years ago, what difference could you possibly be expected to make?

How could you make music without getting picked by a record label, or help the local community garden more than showing up on Saturday to pull weeds? How could anyone expect you to change a conversation, or raise enough cash or move the needle more than a little?

Today, armed with Mailchimp and Indiegogo and Vimeo and Meetup and a dozen other nearly free tools, you can make quite a ruckus.

You can organize a hundred or a thousand people and get them in sync with a weekly newsletter. You can tailor goods or services or a cause to a small group of people that really want to hear about it and really want to spread the word. You can self publish to your thousand true fans, you can host an event or a dozen events, you can enable your work to become famous to the crowd that matters.

Pick yourself.

If you care enough.

Worldview and stories

Why did McDonald's post signs saying, "More than a billion sold"?

Why do some people pay big money to go to galas that support charities, but not donate otherwise?

Why was the guy on the plane yesterday reading The Fault in Our Stars, years after it came out?

Why are some hipsters getting their tattoos removed?

What makes so many people vote against their long and short-term interests?

How come it's so easy to like or dislike a person, a brand or a politician before we even get to know much about them?

What's a fair price to pay for a decent bottle of wine?

Do doctors cure people more often than alternative medicine?

Is it worth owning a Leica?

When was the last time you took something out of the library?

Do you fly a flag outside of your house?

Enough with the facts and figures and features and benefits. They rarely move people into action. It's our worldview (the way we acted and believed and judged before we encountered you) and your story (the narrative we tell ourselves about who you are and what you do) that drive human behavior.

We make two giant mistakes as marketers:

We believe that everyone has the same worldview, that everyone in a group shares the same biases and expectations and dreams as everyone else... and,

We believe that the narrative is up for grabs, and we ought to just make the thing we make.

An accurate description of a worldview has nothing to do with you or your mission... it's the way a person acts without you in the room. In the case of McDonald's, it's the worldview of: I don't want to take a risk in this transaction, and one way to do that is to follow the crowd.

And the story is the (true) narrative that unlocks that worldview and turns it into action.

Tell me what your ideal customer believes, at the most emotional and primordial level, and then you can tell me the story you'll craft and live and deliver that engages with that belief.

[More on this]

Even better than an app?

Mitch writes about the very near future when most fast-serve and mid-priced restaurants will have a tablet on the table, letting you order and pay without ever speaking to a waiter. It sort of takes the magic out of restaurants for me, but I get his point.

And your store, your store is likely to become not much more than a showroom for an online seller if pointing and clicking is cheaper, faster and more satisfying than hunting down a salesperson and dealing with a transaction.

And this rash, perhaps it might be better diagnosed right now by emailing a picture of it to Jay Parkinson than it would by hassling for an appointment and spending the time and the money to drive an hour to the doctor's office to show it to someone in person.

And when was the last time you looked forward to waiting in line to talk to a bank teller? Or a loan officer? 

It used to be that the goal was to be perfect, like a computer. Now, of course, that's not nearly good enough if you're in any job that can be done by a computer (or a customer with an app in his hand).

Once we acknowledge that the measurable, objective job might be taken by an app, we have to make service dramatically better than self-service, or else this job is gone. If it's not special, don't bother.

What an opportunity! Instead of seeing a job as a shuttler of information and stuff from place to place, we can acknowledge that in fact, the shuttling isn't unique or even particularly valuable. The human being part is what's worth something.

Are you solving a problem or creating a problem?

Uber solves a problem. You always needed a reliable way to get from a to b, and Uber does that, in many ways better than a cab.

Lady Gaga solves a problem. You have neophilia when it comes to music, and she'll bring you new music to satisfy your curiousity.

Same thing goes for Zara. They solve the 'what's new in fashion' problem for a lot of early adopters.

On the other hand, Uggs created a problem for people who aren't necessarily fashion forward but want to wear what everyone else is wearing. Once "everyone" was wearing Uggs, these fashion-laggards had a problem—if they wanted to keep up, they had to go buy a new pair of boots.

In most successful business-to-business selling, the big wins come from creating problems. Once the competition is busy using your new innovation, the other companies have to buy it to keep competitive. Once other brands are using your social medium, the laggard brands do too—not because you've solved their problem, but because you've created one. The people in a traditional bureaucracy buy something new when they have to, not when they want to.

(It's interesting how we recoil from the idea of creating problems. Of course, progress is about creating opportunities, and opportunities always bring along their close colleague, problems.)

Or consider the case of a non-profit seeking to raise funds or gain government support. Without a doubt, they have to create a problem in the mind of the donor, or there will be no funds or no support to solve that problem.

It is clearly more fun (at first) to solve problems because everyone is happy to see you and the discussion is simple indeed, "You know that problem you used to have? We just solved it." The innovations that change the world, though, often create (or highlight) problems before they solve them.

[HT to Mo for the title]

What if you could love what you get paid for?

Really tempting to spend time trying to get paid for what you love.

It's probably easier and certainly more direct to talk to yourself about loving what you do.

It's not about you

Right in the front row, not four feet from Christian McBride, was every performer's bête noire. I don't know why she came to the Blue Note, maybe it was to make her date happy. But she was yawning, checking her watch, looking around the room, fiddling with this and that, doing everything except being engaged in the music.

McBride seemed to be too professional and too experienced to get brought down by her disrespect and disengagement. Here's what he knew: It wasn't about him, it wasn't about the music, it wasn't a response to what he was creating.

Haters gonna hate.

Shun the non-believers.

Do your work, your best work, the work that matters to you. For some people, you can say, "hey, it's not for you." That's okay. If you try to delight the undelightable, you've made yourself miserable for no reason.

It's sort of silly to make yourself miserable, but at least you ought to reserve it for times when you have a good reason.

Two kinds of busy

When I'm giving a speech, I don't have the ability to squeeze in a phone call, think about what's for dinner or plan tomorrow's meeting. I'm doing one thing, and it's taking everything I've got. So yes, I'm busy, all in.

On the other hand, we all are familiar with the other kind of busy, the busy of feeding one kid while listening to see if the other is still napping, while emptying the groceries, checking email and generally keeping the world on its axis.

I have two suggestions:

a. if you're used to being one kind of busy, try the other one out for a change. You might find it suits you.

and

b. if what you're doing isn't working, if you're not excelling at what you set out to do or not getting the results you seek, it might be because you're confused about what sort of busy is going to get you there...

Embracing boundaries

One of the most popular home computers ever made was the Commodore 64. The "64" was the amount of memory it had--not 64 gigs, or 64 megs, but 64k. If it were available today, it would be a little like being a toothpick vendor at a lumberjack convention.

The thing is, the amount of available memory was right there, in the name of the machine. All the people who developed for the machine knew exactly how much memory it had. Any time a developer whined or made excuses about how little memory there was, he was telling us something we already knew, making excuses where no excuses were needed or welcome.

With unlimited time, unlimited money and unlimited resources, of course you might do something differently. But your project is defined by the limitations and boundaries that are in place when you set out to accomplish something.

You build something remarkable because of the boundaries, not without them.