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SETH'S BOOKS

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

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.

ONLINE:

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.

ONLINE:

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.

ONLINE:

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.

ONLINE:

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.

ONLINE:

IN STORES:


THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin




All Marketers Are Liars Blog




Blog powered by TypePad
Member since 08/2003

« November 2004 | Main | January 2005 »

News from Australia

Acland Brierty writes:

Hi Seth,

Loved your books and now discovered your blog. I have one story to share with you today along the "free prize inside" lines. A friend of mine has just set up a backpacker hotel in Melbourne. In order to get backpackers to talk about their hotel here is the free-prize they came up with... GIRLS!... if they could attract girls to the backpacker hotel then the boys would follow.

So they went to great lengths setting up girls dorms and private rooms with good security and -get this-  pamper packs (moisturizer, masks, and other girly stuff). The boys dorms were pretty standard military affairs. The result was girls were checking in in droves to use the facilities... and the boys followed... as did the local boys as well hoping to get some Swedish loving.

So the place is packed out simply because of some hair products, face cream and foreign girls.

I have one more for you as well...

I don't know if you've ever heard of Paddi Lund... he's a dentist in Brisbane that shocked the dental world by firing his clients... he then halved his client base and doubled his profits and works half the time. You see, dentists have the second highest suicide rate of any profession. And one day paddi was going to work depressed as hell, and got to thinking... What do I hate about my business. The answer was most of his clients, the sterile environment... the whole drill, fill and bill process.

So he broke his clients into A, B and C clients. "A" clients loved what he did, paid on time and told their friends. C clients always complained, turned up late and bitched about his fees. So he wrote to all the C clients and told them to find another dentist. He then LOCKED his doors and put a sign up saying... if you're a client, ring the bell we'll let you in. If you're not a client there's a dentist up the road.

He then took an axe to his business and put in an oven and a cappucino machine.

Now here's the best bit... The only way you could become a client of Paddis was someone had to REFER you. IN fact the referral bit was a condition of doing business with him. Before he would work on you he'd say... I'm going to give you the best dental treatment and in return I have one condition that you must meet... you have to refer at least 3 people to my business.

Paddi realised that getting A customers to refer their friends would simply generate more A customers... people have friends that tend to be like themselves... good payers etc etc.

He then had a Guarantee... the FREE PRIZE!... NO PAIN!... What do people fear most about dentists? Pain... by working with less clients and in a more relaxed environment he was able to take his time and that meant better pain control.

 So that's Paddi's story... fired his clients, halved his workload and doubled his profits.

Interestingly, he has been asked to tour the USA many times sharing his vision of a FUN filled work place and has written a book about it.

Hope you have a great new year,

 

Yes, it's true

9% of all USA Today bestsellers are diet books. Yet today the New England Journal of Medicine reports that two years after going on a diet, on average, people weigh more than when they started. USATODAY.com - Our lives are an open book.

Also worth noting: The CliffsNotes of The Scarlet Letter outsells the real book more than three to one.

The other side of the shards of glass coin

Courtesy of Don the Idea Guy.

Link: Tobacco Ad Gallery (tobaccofreekids.org).

Now in menthol, too!

Link: ShardsO'Glass.

Thanks to Mark Hurst for the link.

Thought for the Solstice

It occured to me today that there has never been a better time in history to be in the business of spreading ideas.

Whether you are looking for a freelance gig, evangelizing a religion or an operating system, building a business or fundraising for a non-profit, the tools and the environment have made your position more highly leveraged than ever before.

If your ideas are the right ones, they will spread far and wide and fast.

This is powerful. Let's all use it wisely. Just because an idea can spread doesn't mean you should spread it.

I, for one, am fascinated at how the whole thing is going to unfold. In the meantime, do something amazing. The world is watching.

A new hierarchy

Promise Phelon (The Phelon Group) sent over a white paper her firm recently did about a new hierarchy based on Maslow's famous self-actualization pyramid.

Phelon

My take? You start with something that does what you say it will. You add value when you provide swift support, but even better, when it becomes clear to a user that there are ways that the product can do even more than they expected. And finally, you win when you create mutually beneficial relationships. These are easiest to imagine in the business to business world (conferences, professional advancement) but you can also see how this could apply, for example, to an iPod. It starts as a music player. It becomes a calendar and photo book. And finally, it's hip jewelry that gets you a date.

My guess is that Promise was thinking of something a lot more substantial than that, but in a society filled with people in search of meaning, it's worth a riff.

Blog disclosure

I wonder if the blogworld benefits if bloggers are crystal clear about their goals and influences?

For example, a statement like this:

This blog doesn't accept ads or sponsorships. I don't own stock or accept royalties from any company or product mentioned on this blog or in my books. I don't serve on any boards. On occasion, I'm delighted to accept samples of stuff with very small (under $20 or so) value, just to be nice. I have to tell you, though, that there's no correlation between mentioning stuff and whether or not someone sent it to me. I would change that policy immediately if Lotus sent over an Elise. I also go out of my way not to write about things if someone sends me a press release.

My goal in creating this blog is to spread my ideas and keep me from having to write a book about every single thing that pops into my head. I'm an amateur, not a professional.

If any of this changes, I promise to let you know.

More on politics and marketing

Jeff nails it: BuzzMachine... by Jeff Jarvis.

Sometimes, Purple Cows are

Black and White.

the black and white store.

The Music Industry: Aspen Report

Every year, Jim Lewi does a conference in Aspen about and for the music business. This year, they asked me to come out and speak with them.

The conference is off the record, but one attendee (Bob Lefsetz) put together a summary (at times a little salty, so don't read if your ears are sensitive) and sent it to some press folks. Here it is, unedited:


We're gonna start a business.

Lewi's a business book fanatic. To tell you the truth, I don't believe in them. Except maybe Clayton Christensen's. And, of course, the classic "Tipping Point". Usually they're written by self-declared wannabes. Or people who think just because THEY were successful ONCE they know all the answers. Bullshit. So when Jim lobbied all of us to have Seth Godin speak at Aspen Live, we all said NO! But it's Jim's conference. He got Scott down to a reasonable price and overruled us.

I was wrong. This was the first time I'd heard a business speaker who GOT IT! Who I thought was on my wavelength. Who had something to impart other than his desire for a check.

Seth Godin said you've got to give it away for free. Since we refuse to charge.

Oh, Mr. Godin doesn't think music should be free. It's just that we should charge at the ISP level. Give MORE music for LESS money.

Shit, seems like EVERYBODY knows this other than the Big Four.

But, since the major labels are shooting themselves in the foot AND music is free, then you've got to sell a souvenir.

Wait a second. Music isn't and shouldn't be free!!!

If you believe that, you're suing kids. Kids who know that the odds of a lawsuit reaching them are about as high as their parents getting videotape of them puking at the college mixer. FURTHERMORE, even if somehow the labels won, even locked down the hardware, there STILL would be no restriction on people giving music away who WANTED to. And people would STILL gravitate to this free music.

But since music is now free... You've got to sell something else.

Actually, at this point, to a great degree that something else IS the CD.

That's what I think anyway, Mr. Godin wasn't this sophisticated. I scratch my head and WONDER how we can still sell CDs to rippers and downloaders. Who seemingly only want the digital file. I've decided they're TOTEMS! BADGES OF HONOR! A way to express your IDENTITY! AND, Seth DID say to do the math. That even if TEN MILLION PEOPLE got your stuff for free, if one tenth paid, you still were selling a MILLION COPIES! The majors have it all wrong. They're suing Grokster to insure that their business remains small. No, the key is to BLOW THE BUSINESS UP! To have hit music on TENS OF MILLIONS of hard drives. But the majors can't think that way. They're like the hat business. All the businesses Mr. Godin had slides of. That went out of business. WHAT ABOUT THE STOCKHOLDERS someone chirped in from the peanut gallery? What about all those people who owned STOCK in the major labels? Well, the stagecoach company had stockholders too...

It's all about permission marketing. Getting people to ALLOW you to sell to them. All the old wave marketing. On TV. It no longer works. Because of CLUTTER! Hell, I can see the same thing at MY HOUSE! I'm so INUNDATED with music that I listen to almost none of it. I need a REASON to listen. And it's not traditional. Hell, even AIRPLAY doesn't impress me. I've got to KNOW the person involved. Or else somebody NOT involved has to tell me it's happening. And these people I trust. The relationship isn't built in a day. And it's based on honesty. Ongoing veracity. And you overhype me once, break my trust once, and you're done.

Oh, Seth told a great story about CD Now. You remember CD Now. They ruled the online CD sales world. They sent a newsletter of new releases once a month and response was INCREDIBLE! They were bought out/merged and the new money men said to send e-mail to customers TWICE a month. Business went up. Then ONCE A WEEK! Business went up further! Then every three DAYS! And CD Now went out of business. Because now most of their audience was IGNORING the e-mails. CD Now blew it. They busted up the relationship.

But how are you supposed to reach the audience? How are you supposed to break the next diva?

You're not. Sure, every once in a while there's a Celine Dion, but most times the center, the mainstream, is a money pit. You spend a fortune to reach those mildly interested.

Yes, mildly interested.

You've got to work the fringes. Where the FANS are. Let THEM grab hold.

And then THEY'LL spread the idea. Seth calls this an "ideavirus". And the people who spread the word "sneezers". In reality, it's just different language from Malcolm Gladwell. What we're talking about here IS the tipping point. And connectors. But the key element is it's SANS MARKETING! It's not about beating people over the head, but getting your innovative idea out there. And hoping it catches fire.

And, you can't short circuit the process anymore. Because the public has been street teamed to death. No, your only choice is to find something REAL! Something SO hot that people will want to sell it FOR YOU!!

First you've got to get eyeballs.

We listened to Seth on Thursday. And asked questions thereafter. Then on

Friday, we attempted to come up with an outline of our business.

There were some who cringed when they heard the word "Internet". ENOUGH ALREADY! We're selling CDS!!!

But the Net is where the AUDIENCE is. The SNEEZERS!

Shit, just go to a house where teenagers live. PRE-TEENS! Right after school. FOR HOURS kids all over America sit in front of their computers and IM!!! MULTIPLE PEOPLE AT ONCE!! WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT???

And it's not only kids now. Even adults are starting to IM. And certainly e-mail has infiltrated the marketplace. We've seen a paradigm shift. GET OVER IT!

But then there were people who said that music couldn't be given away for FREE! It DEVALUED IT!!! Sent the wrong MESSAGE!!

THIS was a head-scratcher. The MAJOR LABELS made it free. By REFUSING TO LICENSE!!!

Music IS free. ENOUGH with the re-education programs. What, do we live in a third world country? Where the government tries to repress a suddenly informed populace? People know the truth. That you can download just about anything. And you can't really stop it. It's only the MAJOR LABELS who disagree.

Yup, I've got to single out one Cliff O'Sullivan. Who stopped the proceedings to tell us that the lawsuits were WORKING! That majors were selling a PLETHORA of CDs. That they weren't going to go out of business. That there WERE pricing issues, but they'd been SOLVED!!

Shit, sounds like someone who works for Zach Horowitz.

I don't know Mr. O'Sullivan personally. Maybe he's a nice guy. Then again, he IS quite intense. But STATISTICS tell us he's wrong. The number of files being traded has GONE UP!!! Public perception is that music is overpriced. And, the CD IS a souvenir. But it won't be in the future. THIS is the kind of thinking that will drive the majors RIGHT OFF THE CLIFF!

Then again, Peter Tempkins had great insight on the lift the next day. Those leading the charge, those in front of the room facilitating the creation of our business were all ENTREPRENEURS! All people who could come to a decision and instantly EFFECTUATE IT! And almost ALL the naysayers worked for the man, the corporation. They couldn't just say YES! There were higher-ups, policy, A WAY OF DOING BUSINESS! You just couldn't throw the rule book OUT!

But that's what Shawn Fanning did. That's what most kids have done. It's reality. GET OVER IT!

The key is to aggregate a TON of eyeballs. And gain their trust. And THEN to figure out how to sell them.

Yup, we've got that luxury. We're not borrowing money from the public via Wall Street. We've all got regular jobs. We're ALREADY selling things ourselves. But, we can SELL MORE if we can create a place where the AUDIENCE comes. An audience that TRUSTS US!

Hell, build it and they will truly come. Not only Internet advertisers, but the record companies THEMSELVES! As I told the Board the next day, if we aggregate music fans labels will PAY US to GIVE AWAY MP3s on our site. Yup, they'll argue about music being free up front, but once we've BUILT IT they'll be DYING to play. Because it's JUST LIKE RADIO! But BETTER! Because our constituency will TRUST US! And we won't sell space to EVERYBODY! And if it comes directly from the major label, we'll call it WEASEL HYPE OF THE WEEK! Because that's what it is. But, we'll allow the major label to sell it as hard as they want. With all the bio and historical info they've got. Although now it will have to be written WELL, be INTERESTING, since this isn't newspaper reporters who don't care, but TRUE FANS, who don't want to be LIED TO! Who are HUNGRY FOR INFO, as long as it's real, and it's INTERESTING! Gain their trust, and they'll be looking for YOUR COMPANY'S giveaways. And WE won't abuse their trust by giving away A TON of your shitty music. We'll only give away one track at a time. Not abusing OUR relationship with OUR fans/customers. Oh, we'll give away stuff they WANT!!! We just won't be HYPING THEM ALL THE TIME!!!

We finally got it together in Saturday's meeting.

I'm not going to give away most of our ideas, because you could rip them off. WOULD rip them off. Since you never had an original idea in your life. To think out of the box is ANATHEMA to those entrenched.

But the audience is yanking you from your perch.

The key is to throw in with the audience. FOLLOW THEM!

That's the goal of our site. It's not about beating THEM over the head, SELLING THEM. No, our site will be GIVEN OVER to the public. It's THEIRS!!!! We're just creating the framework. Which we will adjust based on their feedback. But they've got a hunger. For what we provide. And we're gonna provide it.

Add to the list!

Shame on me for forgetting:

21. Basic understanding of electricity.
22. How to drive a nail, drive a screw, cut a board, build a box.
23. How to drive a car in the winter, how to pull a car out of a skid.
24. How to ask for help.

and, best of all: Probability.

Thanks to: Textiplication: Top 1000 Things You Need to Know.

Can I add a few more?

25. How to read a table and a chart
26. How to read the media for spin and for insight
27. The importance of doing things for other people.
(yes, this one among others is mostly a parenting job, but yes, it can be taught)
28. How to work really really hard, sometimes on things that aren't fun.
29. What it's like to be in jail.
30. How to create an internal dialogue that makes you happy.

All politics is...

No, not local.

All politics is marketing.

My posts on politics aren't designed to sell you on a political point of view. Sorry if you've jumped to that conculsion. They are, in fact, derived from work I'm doing on my new book.

It doesn't matter what you're in favor of... the point I'm trying to weave into this discussion is that we're all being manipulated and that the best marketers on either side are more likely than not to win their arguments.

Oh, why didn't you say so?

From an NPR job posting:

Liaise with content partners, lead search engine optimization, and
execute results-producing marketing campaigns.

The top 1,000 things to know

So what are they? What are the one thousand teachable things that every third grader ought to start learning so she'll know them all before before she graduates from high school?

Here are twenty to get us started.

1. How to type.
2. How to speak in front of a group.
3. How to write clear prose that other people actually want to read.
4. How to manage a project.
5. The most important lessons from American history.
6. What the world's religions have in common.
7. Evolution.
8. Formal logic.
9. The 15,000 most common English words.
10. Conversational Spanish.
11. How to handle big changes, with grace.
12. How to run a small business.
13. Basic chemistry.
14. Not arithmetic, but algebra.
15. A little geometry, a little calculus.
16. The most important lessons from ten other world cultures and their history.
17. Speed reading with comprehension.
18. How to sell.
19. Pick one: how to paint, write a poem, compose a song or juggle really well.
20. Understanding the biographies of 500 important historical figures and 200 fictional ones.

Voice recognition and change

I heard on the radio yesterday that "scientists" are predicting the next big computer breakthrough will be voice recognition. Chips are getting fast enough that computers will soon be able to understand what we say. Which will make airports very noisy places, but that's a different story.

The other day, I took a four hour flight sitting next to a very aggressive hunt and peck typist. He must have written three thousand words on the flight... nailing each key as hard and as fast as he could.

Then I got home to discover that they're teaching my third grader how to write in cursive.

Something's wrong here.

Cursive is a fundamentally useless skill in this century, and if we were inventing the curriculum from scratch, it wouldn't even show up in the top 1,000 things you need to know. Typing, on the other hand, is way up there, at least until the scientists come up with voice recognition.

All organizations are slow to change. Organizations that don't measure their results are even slower.

Michael Crichton on global warming

Of all the authors and artists I've ever had the privilege of working with, Michael Crichton was the most intidimidating. We did a project together in 1985, and he blew me away with his incredible intellect. (He's also tall).

Here's his take on global warming, science, superstition and story telling: Caltech Michelin Lecture.

Guy Kawasaki on bozos and hockey

Link: BlogFonk.

The last question is great. As for hockey, I took it up at six and that's how I broke my nose. Guy, Hawaii is better.

Elephants! Doing the Impossible

Margo Baldwin of Chelsea Green Publishing writes to me about George Lakoff's book
and how she turned it into a bestseller. Thought I'd share the riff:

“When I teach the study of framing at Berkeley, in Cognitive Science 101,
the first thing I do is I give my students an exercise. The exercise is:
Don’t think of an elephant! Whatever you do, do not think of an elephant.
I’ve never found a student who is able to do this. Every word, like
elephant, evokes a frame, which can be an image or other kinds of knowledge:
Elephants are large, have floppy ears and a trunk, are associated with
circuses, and so on. The word is defined relative to that frame. When we
negate a frame, we evoke the frame.”
—George Lakoff, from Don’t Think of an Elephant!

When told “Don’t think of an elephant,” not thinking of one is impossible.
It’s impossible because once invoked, the elephant image cannot be
unthought. That’s the short, sweet lesson about “framing” that George Lakoff
has taught us, a lesson that turns out to have enormous political
significance, not only for this past election season, but for ongoing
efforts to forge a new and more potent political message for the future. It
turns out that the Republicans have spent the last forty years or so making
sure they control the language of political debate so that their frames have
been adopted by all of us — especially by the mainstream media. Think tax
relief; think partial birth abortion; think war on terror. Among other
things, this control of language means they win elections.

In other words, it’s the framing, stupid!

The opportunity to publish Don’t Think of an Elephant! and get it out before
the election came at the last minute, in mid-July. I had never heard of
George Lakoff, but our roving editor-at-large, Jennifer Nix, through her
work with Don Hazen, the Executive Editor at AlterNet, put me in touch with
George, who sent us a proposal. You might say the rest is history, because
not only did we get the book out in record time, but we managed to do the
impossible: make the book a national bestseller (New York Times, Washington
Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, nearly every regional
independent bookseller list).

I say the impossible because we’re a small, independent book publisher, not
a corporate conglomerate media company; because we published the book in a
mere five weeks, from draft manuscript to finished book; because we did it
with no advertising budget or an outside promotional firm; and finally
because two weeks before the publication date, we had no advance sales!

We did it by partnering with key progressive organizations, including
AlterNet, MoveOn, the Sierra Club, Democracy for America, the Apollo
Alliance, the Institute for America’s Future, Green Festival, Hightower and
Associates, Anita Roddick.com and many others, who all helped launch the
book on the Internet. They sent out e-mail blasts and posted information on
all their Web sites, and we gave them free downloads of the first chapter.
Then, once the word started to spread, especially via the blogosphere and
other word-of-mouth venues, key independent booksellers across the country,
as well as the national chains, got behind it and made it the bestseller it
is. In short, the strategy worked for everyone and got a critically
important book out there at the right time and into the hands of people who
will put the ideas to work. In the end it’s about creating social change,
and the reason it worked so well is that we all worked together; together we
had an impact.

It also helped that we made the book short, readable, and cheap. There are
not many serious books you can buy for ten bucks. But ten bucks seemed like
the right price. It meant that many people bought multiple copies to give
away; it meant that many progressive organizations bought cases to sell or
give away to their members; it meant that we were able to get a copy into
the hands of every Democratic senator in the first days after the Republican
convention; it meant that the book was actually read (Garrison Keillor take
note!).

So, where to from here? Well, first, of course, we want to get the book into
more readers’ hands. When the first post-election pronouncements of the
media were that the results had to do with “moral values,” the importance of
this book for understanding what happened and what to do next became
immediately apparent. Demand skyrocketed and we ran out of books within a
few days. The New York Times ran an editorial about the book called “Why
Democrats Need to Stop Thinking about Elephants.” Several publishing stories
included it as one of a few that would continue to sell strongly in the
aftermath of the election. Columnists are continuing to write about its
lessons for Democrats and progressives in the years ahead, and George is
being deluged with media requests. So yes, it will continue to sell.

But second, and much more important, we’re helping to create a movement, a
movement to take our country back from the elephantine forces in political
control right now. Take it back and move us all forward into a saner, more
sustainable future.

So remember, do the impossible: don’t think of an elephant!

Link: ChangeThis :: The George Lakoff Manifesto .

or, find the book at Amazon: Link: Amazon.com: Books: Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate--The Essential Guide for Progressives.

Google Suggests

Red Maxwell points me to Googles new beta site. Google. Interesting.

I wonder if the NUMBER of sites referencing something you're searching on is the important number in selecting something to search for. PageRank doesn't just rely on volume, yet the beta version does.

The other thing I wonder about is the reliance on alphabetical order. As Steven Wright says, "Is the alphabet in that order because of that song?"

My quick take is that it would work a lot better if the suggestions were in order of page rank, not the alphabet.

PS Update: Robert Knutsson corrected me. It's not really alphabetical order. It's some sort of mystical magical selection. Makes it even more interesting, though I don't get to use the Steven Wright joke.

Why ask why?

The woman next to me on the flight had thin, sharpened spikes, two of them, eight inches long. They're called knitting needles, and they're allowed on the plane. The guy on the other side was bemoaning the fact that they took away his nail clippers.

The little kid in row 8 had to walk 35 rows back to the back of the plane to use the bathroom because it's a grave breach of security for him to use the empty and close bathroom 7 rows in front.

They x-ray sneakers at LaGuardia.

The hotel sent me down the street to a health club because the hotel's workout room was under construction. The health club wouldn't let me use the facitilities until I filled a form with my name and full address and contact information. Why? Insurance regulations. Apparently the same reason you can't watch the mechanic repair your car or visit the kitchen of the restaurant.

My doctor's office doesn't have a fax machine.

The stellar Maison de Chocolate cafe in New York doesn't serve herbal tea.

The government of New York makes it illegal to buy wine on the Internet.

If your front line people are unable to answer a "why" question, what do you tell them to do?

Most bureaucracies don't want the whys working their way up the chain. Most bureaucracies encourage their people to be the first and only line of defense. "That's our policy." "I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do about that." "Insurance regulations, sir." The goal is to get the customer (questioner) to go away.

To go away.

They want you to go away.

Does that make any sense at all? The single most efficient (and lowest cost) technique for improving your operations is answering the why questions! You should embrace these people, not send them away.

"You know, sir, I have no idea why you have to do that. But I can tell you that I'll find out before the end of the day."


Holy Hot Air Balloon, Malcolm!

Forbes just picked Free Prize Inside as one of their top ten books of the year.

Yikes! Forbes.com: Forbes.com's Business Books Of The Year.

Hey, they've even got a poll and you can vote for your favorite.

It's just nice to be nominated.

RSS is being built in to email clients

So not only is RSS showing up in browsers, but now it's in email clients as well. Thunderbird is go.

Email is a better metaphor for RSS anyway. The big news is that RSS is here, you should be obsessed about having your readers/clients/prospects adding you to their list.

public service announcement

I got two already, so it's spreading.

There is no national do not call list for cell phones. There is no public list of cell phone numbers. Don't worry! This tiny portion of your life is safe. A 'Do Not Call' List for Cell Phone Users? - Netlore Archive.

The Best Seth Godin Posts of the Year (2004)

Easier than checking the archives! More efficient than wading through inane banter.

If you're only going to read 2 of my posts a month (that's 24 for those of you without a calculator) then this is where I'd have you start:

Seth's Blog: Sleeping at night.

Seth's Blog: A Little Like Francisco Franco.

Seth's Blog: What happens when it's all on tape?.

Seth's Blog: Beware the CEO blog.

Seth's Blog: Three kinds of blogs.

Seth's Blog: Lies to protect the status quo.

Seth's Blog: Trust and Respect, Courage and Leadership.

Seth's Blog: Time to take action?.

Seth's Blog: Starting Over.

Seth's Blog: The Cliff.

Seth's Blog: Blended.

Seth's Blog: The problem with search engine optimization.

Seth's Blog: Tradition!.

Seth's Blog: The Provincetown Helmet Insight.

Seth's Blog: Opt in, Opt out, Opt cheat....

Seth's Blog: The Curse of Great Expectations.

Seth's Blog: Five years from now....

Seth's Blog: On thinking big....

Seth's Blog: Differentiation and Segmentation.

Seth's Blog: What is the Free Prize?.

Seth's Blog: The problem with anonymous (part VII).

Seth's Blog: Two great questions: #2.

Seth's Blog: Q&A.

Seth's Blog: True story (about the power of marketing).

The Yellow Pages was the Internet of its day

And like the net, it "changed everything."

The Yellow Pages receive billions of dollars in advertising money a year. It's a great business model--businesses show their interest in getting new customers by buying bigger ads than their competition. Consumers choose the businesses with the biggest ads. The Yellow Pages wins.

The other cool thing about the Yellow Pages is that the ads AREthe content. The Yellow Pages without ads don't exist.

So, check out Google Search: billiards near 10706 . This is Google's first shot at competing with Yahoo's offering ( Yahoo! Yellow Pages.)

Neither one works as a business, but both are a fine start.

The problem is that there's no way for the consumer to tell one provider from another. Distance is fine, but most providers we choose aren't chosen because they're half a mile closer than an alternative.

If you're a search engine, this is the next big thing. (note to Silicon Valley: you'll need thousans of salespeople if you want to do it right).

If you're a business that works locally, this is a bigger deal. Businesses that figured out how to use the Yellow Pages did GREAT (all caps are appropriate here). It was the difference between the big win and just getting by.

So, watch and learn and experiment. Here comes the next big thing.

Rob Walker nails BzzAgent

Nice piece in today's New York Times: The New York Times > Magazine > The Hidden (in Plain Sight) Persuaders.

You can get the book that inspired BzzAgent here: Unleashing the Ideavirus.

Just in time for the holidays

A major new technology in home fitness:

Get in Shape: Takahashi.

worth a look.

Reader Mail (part 2)

Doc Searls started a little tempest re PDFs and Changethis.com The Doc Searls Weblog : Tuesday, November 30, 2004.

Basically, he says that PDFs are not all that great compared to HTML and ChangeThis ought to offer its manifestos in web-friendly format.

We got some mail on this as well.

I hear you. But I think the comparison is not apt. The right comparison is to compare our PDFs to books.

Books are not searchable. They cost money to reproduce. You can't print multiple copies and Google searches them even less well than they search PDFs.

You don't hear anyone whining about books. You don't hear about anyone sending long, detailed emails to book publishers explaining why they should abandon printed books and start publishing in HTML.

Anyway, we use PDFs because they're a lot more booklike. They read better. They stick together when you forward them. They print better.

I know they're not in HTML. There are 6 trillion other web pages to choose from if you want that.

Thanks for your feedback! Keep the cards and letters coming.

Reader Mail (part 1)

Maybe I'm typing too fast or thinking too quick, but a few people have written in re the Livestrong post below.

Here's one quote:

Maybe people want to participate in the trend but don't like the message on Armstrong's bracelets.  Maybe friendship is more important than cancer to some people.  Maybe part of the proceeds for the friendship bracelet are also donated.  Did you look into that?

...

In all honesty, your most recent post lacks more decency than the guys making friendship bracelets.  Even Nike is cashing in on the trend, as they should.  I'd be more ashamed of all these guys for not taking advantage of an opportunity. 


The others also took the position that if a marketer CAN make a buck and it's not against the law, then he SHOULD make a buck. They also seem to feel that it's not okay for me to call em on doing so.

Are there grey areas? Sure there are. This is not one of them.

1. it's a cheap bracelet and no knock off is going to make a lot of money
2. it's enough to poison the well for the foundation
3. it's such an atrociously similar knockoff that there's no issue here of fairplay or dubious intellectual property protection. It's a rip off, plain and simple.

My point in the original post? Marketers need to stop trying quite so hard to exploit every possible nook and cranny, damning the consequences. There are consequences, and you are responsible for what you market and what you sell. It's not the market, it's you.

There. Thanks for listening. Send future mail to Donald Trump or someone else.

Sleeping at night

You know about the Livestrong, the fashionista ideavirus that donates 100% of proceeds to fighting cancer. It's a great cause, well orchestrated by Nike and Lance Armstrong. So well organized, in fact, that there's a waiting list.

Well, some marketer (I use the term with trepidation and loathing) has decided to fill the gap by launching the "Friendship" bracelet (see photo below).

How does he sleep at night?

How do the stores that sell this?

Sir, have you no decency?

It makes me ashamed to be in a similar line of work.

Livestrong

Turkey Bingo

Lloyd Alter points me to: Business Buzzword Bingo!. We used to play in business school. Nice way to pass the time if there are too many buzzwords in the room.

Years ago, I even helped turn it into a book: Amazon.com: Editorial Reviews: The Buzzword Bingo Book : The Complete, Definitive Guide to the Underground Workplace Game of Doublespeak.

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