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Seth Godin has written 18 bestsellers that have been translated into 35 languages

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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

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IN STORES:

linchpin

Linchpin

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

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IN STORES:

meatball.sundae

Meatball Sundae

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

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IN STORES:

permission.marketing

Permission Marketing

The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.

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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.

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IN STORES:

purple.cow

Purple Cow

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

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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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survival.is.not.enough

Survival is Not Enough

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

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the.big.moo

The Big Moo

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

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the.big.red.fez

The Big Red Fez

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

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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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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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tribes

Tribes

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

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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.

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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.

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we.are.all.weird

We Are All Weird

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

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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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« October 2003 | Main | December 2003 »

On ideaviruses

My friend Jesse is trying to build one for an organization. Here's part of the note I sent, which I liked so much I reproduce it here:


I think the conceit of modern management is that good thought leads to the right answer.

And the truth of the modern ideavirus is that frequent trial and error leads to the right answer.

Thus, your clients will be dissuaded by whatever samples you provide, short of success.

A purple bank?

Only if the service is worth talking about too. Thanks to Jeremy Pound for the link.

Sun-Sentinel:

My post about the ipod

wasn't about Apple, of course, but I get mail anyway. For those who need it: Ipod batteries for Apple Ipod PDAs. Replacement batteries from Laptops for Less.com

A Purple Cow?

Only if you can buy cranberry soda to go along with it...

Boston.com / News / Odds & ends / Turkey & Gravy soda on the table for Thanksgiving

Cufflinks

If cufflinks didn't exist and you invented them, would they succeed?

I've got one shirt in my closet with french cuffs, and as I looked at it, hanging there quite lonely, I got to thinking about cufflinks.

Cufflinks are arguably a nice way for men to wear jewelry, and they were no doubt functional back in the day. But it's difficult to argue much of a utlitarian use today.

Yet they persist.

They persist because stamping them out completely is essentially impossible. They are an anachronism, part of a system that may never go away. Cufflinks.com The internet's formalwear superstore can sell plenty of reversible nautical cufflinks ("What! you got me cufflinks that weren't reversible!?") because the shirtmakers support them by selling shirts with holes. If there were no holes, there would be no cufflinks. As long as there are holes, there will be a demand for them.

So...

So if you're trying to invent a product or service that requires the rest of the industry to put a hole out there for you to fill, good luck.

And if you can figure out a way to profit from an existing "hole", you've got yourself a huge advantage.

Audible.com, for example, needed the world to make an MP3 player in order for them to succeed. What a crazy gamble! Fortunately, just in time, it happened. But now that the MP3 player is here, I bet some smart folks are going to figure out something else to put on an audio player... what about city walking tours, with local ads?

Hard to imagine

Customers amplifying their word of mouth like this just a few years ago. Part of the lesson here is how relatively trivial the user's beef is. The battery on his iPod only lasts an hour after 500+ days of use. That's not acceptable, of course, but look at the leverage he has now:

Thanks to Ross Hollman for the link:

iPod's Dirty Secret - Neistat Brothers

Bush's Poodle?

No, not a political rant, but a discussion of how ideas spread.

How did Tony Blair end up with this nickname? A quick Google search finds more than 2,000 matches. Google Search: "bush's poodle" .

My earliest cite is from September, 2002, but I don't have the resources to find the original coiner of the phrase.

What I want to know is:
Why "poodle"? Why not "puppy" or "labrador"? Or, forget about dogs, what about any other range of vaguely insulting animal types?

How is it that this has spread and stuck?

Without question, poodle is a funny word. It has a funny vowel/dipthong connection and it's fun to say. It is also somewhat dandy-esque, with the image of the beautifully coiffed french poodle hanging out there in the background.

Is this the sort of thing we can do on purpose? "Frequent Flyer Miles", for example, have that marvelous F alliteration at the front. Does that explain why the phrase has stuck, while countless competitors offering things like Points have faded away?

Political discourse, of course, is filled with name calling, and sometimes the names spread. Tricky Dick had a nickname, but Gerald Ford didn't. Dan Quayle got stuck with "potatoe", but other vice presidents, certainly as dumb, got off easy. How come?

I know I'm asking a lot of unanswerable questions, and maybe it's just because I couldn't resist doing a blog entry entitled "Bush's Poodle". I think there's something here though.

In order to maximize the currency of your chosen ideavirus, it helps if your slanderous positioning (or profitable meme) has a few characteristics:

1. self-explanatory--both the teller and the listener have a high chance of not feeling stupid.

2. verbally fun to pass on--the teller enjoys saying it even if the listener doesn't enjoy hearing it.

3. a safe target--Vice presidents, felonious presidents and heads of foreign nations are pretty fair game. Remember Boutros Boutros Ghali?

4. TV (and now web) friendly--Dan Quayle, for example, was an easy mark because of images like this one. The Blair thing, while not image based, is the sort of phrase that just sounds great on the radio (I heard it three times yesterday).

quayle.gif


As we think about spreading our own ideas, I think we can profit from seeing how they work in the world of politics. Whether you're raising money for your non-profit ("Will you sponsor me for a walkathon") or launching a new brand, picking the right phrase and image can accelerate the spread of your idea.

I had to delete this entry

because the problem was in my browser, not in the company's intent.

Yes, it should work everywhere, but no, that's no reason to assume a nefarious plan!

Sorry.

Seth

Civil War

Today is the 140th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. I'll admit that until I heard it today on the radio, the only part I knew was the famous beginning.

It's short, and I reprint it below. It's worth reading, I think, because it is so relevant today. We're in the midst of another civil war, one that is being fought on dozens of fronts--political, commercial and social. At its essence is the idea of respect.

For Lincoln to stand in front of 15,000 people (no microphone) and be so humble and simple was an act of courage. To do it without demonizing the other side, without bending to special interest groups and without invoking whatever higher authority he could imagine to explain why he was right and everyone else was wrong--that's what statesmen are for.

The next time your business, your boss or your politicians want to treat another individual as somehow LESS, I think it's your job to call them on it. If all men are truly created equal, we ought to start treating them that way.


Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this
continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in
a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so
conceived and so dedicated can long endure.

We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of
that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their
lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and
proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot
dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.
The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated
it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will
little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never
forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be
dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here
have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--
that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which
they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly
resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this
nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that
government of the people, by the people, for the people shall
not perish from the earth.

THE MEATRIX

Thanks to Nick Usborne for a great link: THE MEATRIX.

It's hard to catalog how many things this site does right (not to mention the Moopheus cow imagery, but that's personal).

You don't have to agree with the message (though I do) to be in awe of how well executed the strategy and tactics of the campaign are.

What's happening here? I think that as advertising stops being about cash for media and starts being about ideas worth spreading, we're going to see more vivid and effective work from organizations with a point of view.

It's bad enough

That most people think that just about every business, every marketer, every lawyer and every politician is a liar.

Now, the scammers and crackers out there are impersonating us.

If you got this perfectly executed scam in the mail (it's called phishing, it involves collecting your credit card info) you know what I mean.

EntourageScreenSnapz009.jpg

Yes, you should delete it. But more important, what are you going to do about it?

I don't think people are completely aware of how much this distrust is changing our culture. As recent events are indicating, it has led us to decide (as a nation) that the best choice for a politician is someone with as little experience as possible.

We're doing the same thing with products, their spokespeople and the people we work with and hire.

If you make your living based on trust (and most of us do) you need to think really hard about how to maintain that in a world where everyone else is losing what little they had.

(thanks to Shawn for the phishing ping).

They just write them down...

They don't make them up.

The people who put out the dictionary have really annoyed the folks at McDonald's. McDonald's anger over McJob entry Like many powerful marketers, they are confusing two things:
1. what people think
and
2. the truth as they see it.

If everyone thinks your ball bearings cause brake linings to seize up, then they do, regardless of what the truth of the matter is. The challenge of marketing is to get ideas to spread. 12 years ago, Douglas Coupland used the phrase "McJob" in his book Generation X because he knew everyone would understand what he meant. 12 years later, McDonald's is angry because it's "inaccurate." Of course it is! So what?

Thank you.

Amazon just posted their "Best Books of 2003".

One of the lists is the Amazon.com :
Best Books of 2003: Top 50 Customers' Favorites
. Purple Cow, thanks to you, is #35. The #35 bestselling book of the year, in all categories.

I'm not speechless very often. I'm speechless.

Stay warm.

Seth

Thanks, Tim

Tim Manners did a really nice interview with me. Thought you might enjoy it. Not sure my publisher will be pleased I mentioned my new book, so please don't tell anyone. reveries - seth godin - across the hall

Red found this one.

It's actually pretty well done.

The Wailing List

Weird, twisted riff...

If you've seen me speak on Permission Marketing, you may have heard me talk about the ultimate form of permission... a subscription. Like the doctor who can give you medicine while you're in a coma... and bill you for it! A Case in Point

(please forgive the insane flashing banners. Not my fault.)

Re webpage optimization

This is awfully similar to a process I dreamed up a bunch of years ago to make websites work better. I've never used their service, but it's an approach that you need to consider: Optimost.com.

I'm sure there are plenty of similar services out there, but one pointer is probably all you need to get started.

« October 2003 | Main | December 2003 »