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Twitter: @thisissethsblog





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

The complete list of online retailers

Bonus stuff!

or click on a title below to see the list


All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing




Free Prize Inside

The practical sequel to Purple Cow





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




Meatball Sundae

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



Permission Marketing

The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.



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.




Purple Cow

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



Small is the New Big

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



Survival is Not Enough

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




The Big Moo

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



The Big Red Fez

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




The Dip

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




The Icarus Deception

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





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




Unleashing the Ideavirus

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



V Is For Vulnerable

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




We Are All Weird

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



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.



THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin

All Marketers Are Liars Blog

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Member since 08/2003

« March 2004 | Main | May 2004 »

A free eBook for loyal readers

You heard it here first. My nearly 500 page ebook directory, BULLMARKET 2004 :: COMPANIES THAT CAN HELP YOU MAKE THINGS HAPPEN is up and ready for you to read. Includes a bonus section on cool blogs.

It's not really free, of course. A $21 donation is solicited, but you can have it for free if you want.

Have fun with it. Makes an excellent doorstop, too.

Differentiation and Segmentation

that's what the person in the audience wanted to know. "Basically," he said, "all you're talking about is differentiation and segmentation..."

Before he could catch is breath, I pounced. I hate it when I pounce, but I couldn't help it.

"Nope, it's not that. Sorry."

Here's the thing: differentiation means thinking very hard about the market and your competitors and somehow making yourself different. Any rational person spending a fair amount of time with perfect information will have no trouble figuring out why you're different.

Segmentation is a variation of that, but it involves breaking the audience into pieces you invent, and then differentiating yourself for that segment.

Both are selfish.

Both assume that people care about you.

Both don't work the way they used to.

Used to be that you could buy enough ads and interrupt enough people to make this strategy work. No longer. The filters are too strong. People are too resistant.

You don't create a purple cow by being different. You do it by creating something worth talking about!

Banana Guard!

Courtesy of David Paull.

Purple in its sheer inanity: Banana Guard

Bigger than blogging

I'm working on this new secret project, and we're using a wiki to make it work.

I have to say, I can't imagine ever again collaborating with anyone for any reason without using a wiki.

This is just a huge advance in the way people do projects, which, after all, is all we do now.

No, it's not perfect, but yes, you need to try it.

EditMe - The web site solution for wikis, blogs, content and collaboration sites. - Edit Your Web.

just cause it's weird...

doesn't mean it's remarkable.


Here's a statue of liberty facsimile... in Las Vegas. No one told me about it, I just saw it, standing 100 feet high by the side of the road.


Who knows.

You need to be more than unusual.

Prematurely edited!

My (former) editor at Fast Company wouldn't let me put my most recent photo alongside the column in this month's issue about clowns.

Given that I'm getting a bunch of kind mail about the column, I thought I'd post the photo here.


(that's supposed to be a clown nose. Hey, I take the photos myself, and my arms aren't so long.)

Stick with me kid

Mere days after I posted about how most people don't know how to search, this:

Search Engine Positioning and Web Marketing News: Google Launches Keyphrase Suggestions

No, I don't give stock tips! Or pick horse races either. But thanks for asking.

Tracking the conversation

With more than 2,000,000 blogs out there, there's a whole bunch of chatting going on.

What are people chatting about? Is there a way to track it coherently?

Here's on attempt that is fascinating (though the algorithm is hard to understand) Technorati: BookTalk

People don't know how to search

One of the great secrets of the web is laid bare by the new UI of Froogle. It now lists a bunch of recent searches.

What you'll discover is that when it comes to finding things online, people are dolts.

Some samples?



and the always popular


This reinforces my contention that Google never succeeded because of the vast size of their database. Who needs 2 billion matches for Britney Spears? Google works because the UI is so simple and because the sophisticated users (the sneezers who spread the word) discover stuff they like--and then folks who search for "Web" believe that they've got the best answers.

I think we need a search engine that does a great job on the 2,000 most common search phrases. Handbuilt, useful answers to bad searches. Better still, why not train the search engine to ask clarifying questions after you've done a bad search? Type in "shoes" to froogle and it could give you a second page that asks for your gender, or price range or size or intended use...

But I digress.

Some bars are higher than others

American Airlines lost my wife's luggage last night. This morning, the driver brought golf clubs, not her bag, to our house.

The thing is, every single person who walks into the Lost Baggage office is annoyed, disappointed, upset or angry. And the hurdle that American has to get over is trivial.

"Hi, guys. You look like your luggage is lost. I'm really sorry. Would everyone in the family like a lollipop?"

What would happen if every single AA rep said that (with as much sincerity as they could muster) when each rightfully annoyed person walked in?

Instead, of course, it's a lot of grumbling, poorly xeroxed forms, irrational procedures, delays, and most of all, passing of the buck.

This is true: Yesterday, I watched the supervisor give a woman $95 for a suitcase worth triple that. American had totally trashed the bag, and the victim wasn't pleased with the settlement. The woman behind the desk snapped, "Hey, you should be grateful. I'm being nice because it's Easter. I could have made you get me a receipt for your bag!"

Amazingly, sometimes all you need to do to be a Purple Cow is say, "I'm sorry."

Rob Walker's brilliant insight

In today's Times, he hits the nail on the head. The New York Times > Magazine > Consumed: 'The Purpose-Driven Life'

While this is a religious story, the decentralized nature of the marketing, the idea that it's a protocol and that the author of the books is a source of ideas and souvenirs of those ideas is really neat.

Worthwhile is the name

My friend Halley sent a link to a new blogozine (magalog?) she's just helped launch: Worthwhile. The most interesting for me is the lineup of writers. I'm spending a lot of time thinking about what happens to information distribution and publishing in light of the 2,000,000 plus blogs that are out there... and this blog makes it clear that there's a big push to make online content slicker and more magazine-like. No business model yet, but hey, that never stopped anyone. [actually it did, but it's still worth a try].

Anything Halley does is probably worth watching.

How hard is it...

for your customers to help you design better products? Especially when your product is a tool?

My Entourage for Mac OSX just crashed. I read a ton of email and usually leave the notes that need answering open until I get to them. Alas, when Entourage crashes, it forgets which mails you left open. So now I need to read a whole day's worth of mail again.

I've got a dozen other things that really and truly need to be fixed about the program (I won't bore you with the list here) and am amazed to discover that:
1. there's no tool within the program to send suggestions back to the programmers (okay, not amazed, because it's microsoft, but annoyed, how's that)
2. there's no easily findable website where the public can chime in... not to complain, but to help the company find the free prizes and amazing insights that will make the program more successful in its next version.

I wonder if that's true for your company?

Hard Manufacturing makes hospital cribs. They're so open to hearing ideas (fashionable and utilitarian) from the outside world that they're about to announce cribs for dogs! It turns out that veterinarians think they're great. That came not from the salesforce, but from the outside world.

It's going to get ugly

As the portal wars get newly hot, and as Wall Street gets increasingly impatient, look for more activities like this:

I got an email from Yahoo today. It was about their PayDirect service, which allows you to send money, PayPal style. As far as I know, I never signed up for it. I certainly can't remember using it.

Here's the key part of the email:


Well, I couldn't tell if this was phishing (a nefarious type of spam designed to get people to surrender personal information) but as a public service, decided to clickthrough and see if it was the real deal.

I got to the page (which is a legit Yahoo page) and saw this:


So, maybe I'm mistaken, but this sure feels like one of those credit card come ons where they're not being completely... truthful.

There's an enormous amount of trust between millions of people and Yahoo and Google and the others. (Some online brands have more trust than others, but just about all the major ones score very well). Very few of us feel as warm and fuzzy about, say, Chase or Fleet as we do about Google, that's for sure. And now, in the spirit of boosting sign ups and such, I'm afraid that eager marketers are about to engage in another round of messing with that. The problem is that once you lose it, it's really hard to get it back.

Google's big opportunity

First, the thing to remember about Gmail is what a huge threat it posts to Yahoo and other sites. A huge percentage of the portals' traffic comes from email.


Second, what's with that logo? I know, this isn't a design post, but still.

Third, Google's big chance:
What if Google decided to make a Google account cost $1 a year, and you had to use a valid credit card to pay for it?

And further, what if your Google email address had to include your real name?

And third, what if a violation of Google's anti-spam rules (I'm assuming they'll have some) would cost $20 per incident?

Suddenly, Google mail would become a gold standard. People would happily let it through the spam filters. You could trust it. People would become suspicious of anyone who used any other non-google online email service... "what, you're afraid of validating your account?"

That's what I would do.

The problems with April 1

1. Sometimes you post a joke (see Nike riff, below) and people don't get it. They either think you were fooled (which I take as a compliment--at least three of you thought I picked it up off the wires) or they get annoyed.

2. The world is so foolish, we confuse the real (, for example) with a joke. Tons of folks thought there was enough flakiness in Google's mail announcement yesterday that it was a joke. As I told Amit, though, Google is now too close to their IPO to fool around any more. Sigh.

3. It reminds us that just about everything we do and buy and talk about is fluffy fashion.

What does radio have to do with anything?

Radio sometimes seems so... 1940s. It's easy to get distracted by the dozen different media formats invented since then, and only notice radio when you're in the car.

How then to explain this beautifully written, relevant and cutting edge blog? Radio Marketing Nexus Nice work, Mark.

The end of mass marketing

For years, I've been writing about the increasing ineffectiveness of interruption media and the death of the TV Industrial complex.

Today's news, however is the final nail in that coffin.

Faced with consumer ennui and apathy, Nike has decided to engage in a desperate effort to regain mindshare. By making a 7 figure "donation" to the JPL, they've bought the rights to the new planet Sedna.

Sedna, as you may remember, is the new planet past Pluto (which used to be a planet but isn't a planet anymore.) Anyway, researchers chose the name because Sedna was an Inuit goddess who lived under the ocean (get it... cold and far away?). Nike, pointing out that while Sedna sounds like a brand name, Nike is actually the name of a Greek Goddess.

Hence the swap. I didn't realize that the JPL was in a position to sell off the names of the planets, so expect some controversy over the proceeds. Either way, it's sure to keep Nike in the news for months.

I think this is astonishingly stupid and arrogant. The backlash is just beginning.

What will they do next, project PowerPoint presentations on the moon?

Have a nice April.

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