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SETH'S BOOKS

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

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Free Prize Inside

The practical sequel to Purple Cow

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Linchpin

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

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Meatball Sundae

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

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Permission Marketing

The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.

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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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Purple Cow

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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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Tribes

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

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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

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

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

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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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« January 2005 | Main | March 2005 »

Step by step

This is so simple, but it's costing you a lot of money.

I lost the keys to my Toyota Prius (actually, someone stole my shoes when I was skiing on the snow-covered bike path, and my keys were in my shoes, but that's another story altogether--why would someone steal my shoes?)

Anyway, I go to Google and type in "replacement key toyota prius." (here's the search: Google Search: replacement key toyota prius.). A quick check along the ads on the side shows that the second one, (advanceautoparts.com autopartswarehouse.com) has paid a lot to offer me a solution.

I click.

It takes me NOT to the parts for my car, but to the parts for all Toyotas (even though they bought the word Prius). I enter Prius and it takes me to another menu. No keys listed here.

I do a search for "keys".

This is what I get:

Keys

So, in fact, they don't have keys for the Prius.

There are two problems here. The first is that the company is too lazy to buy just the right keywords.

The second is that the web guys are probably not the same people as the folks who are buying the ads. If they were, the entire online buying experience would be centered around me and my need for keys, not them and their need to accurately describe the hierarchy of their store.

Let's assume for a moment that many businesses are going to grow or disappear based on how well they find the needles in the huge haystack of web searches... and that doing that well means efficiently turning that first clickthrough into a sale. If that's true, then this means a much more measured, more customer-centric approach to turning mild interest into completed transaction.

This isn't technically difficult (Link: Google AdWords Support: What are keyword matching options?.) It's also not particularly time consuming.

What's tricky, and the reason everyone doesn't do it, is this:

You're probably still working under a retail mindset.

The retailer builds a store. She stocks it. She arranges the shelves. She runs ads in the local paper and waits for people to come in who are "just looking."

This is not what happens online. (and I'm talking fundraising and just about anything, not just clothes or car keys).

Online you don't have 1 retail store. You have 50,000 retail stores.

And you know what the customer is looking for BEFORE they walk in!

So send them to the right store.

And if a store isn't working well, close it and start over.

PS If you're a google shareholder (I don't trade stocks) then this is really good news for you. Why? Because once companies increase their conversion efficiency, they'll probably be willing to pay 400% more than they pay now for the right words.

(I got the URL wrong when I first posted this. I'm humiliated. Apologies!)

The secret army of ad clickers

My friend Steve thinks there's a bit of a house of cards over at Google.

If you're cost per click doesn't match your yield, perhaps it's because there are thousands of people getting paid to click on your links...

My favorite smart 11 year old had the same question. "Why don't they just pay people to click the links?" he wants to know.

Link: Google Search: earn rupees clicking ads.

Great moments in corporate sliminess

So, let's say an influential US Senator accuses your database company of having, "an egregious security gap that risks making millions of Americans the unwitting victims of identity theft."

And let's say he shows pictures of data from lofty personalities ranging from Arnold to Paris Hilton. Hey, even celebrities are at risk!

Would your response be to issue a written statement saying, "our terms of use restricitng access go beyond federal law and current industry standards."

What was that meeting like? Do the people at West really believe that consumers care one bit about "current industry standards" or even "federal law"? Did the people at West think the issue would go away?

And most important, didn't just one person in that meeting say, "Hey, we're people with identities too. Let's do the right thing. Let's announce that we'll do the security correctly within three weeks?"

Details: The New York Times > Business > Senator Says Data Service Has Lax Rules for Security. (is that a stain on Chuck Schumer's tie?)

The Walmart Paradox

Getting what we deserve?

The New York Times > Business > More Gloom on the Island of Lost Toy Makers points out that the toy business is crumbling. The reason: all the stores that love to sell toys are disappearing, defeated by WalMart.

Walmart wants to sell classics and heavily advertised hits. And they want to do it at close to cost. This appears to be good for consumers--get a Barbie for $12 or whatever.

The problem is that NEW toys aren't classics and it's hard to make the bet that new toys should be heavily advertised.

The second problem is that once you reach the level of success of a classic, selling at cost is no fun at all.

The end result is that the toy guys don't have the guts to launch the new and the remarkable. They are boxed in, encouraged by Wall Street and management to play the Walmart game, which leads to short-term revenue and long term destitution.

These toy companies have always needed the profit from their hits to fund their next generation.

So what's the answer?

The answer is to tell Walmart to go away. Toy companies are beginning to discover that they can't win this game. The answer is to find a new and better and more consistently profitable way to launch the remarkable stuff.

And that's happening. It's happening when they sell online, or through local stores, or directly to people who care. No, this isn't mass. This isn't a fraction of what an endcap at Toys R Us was worth. It's still the best deal in town. Over time, consumers will be trained that the toys they need are only available in places that aren't Walmart.

Obviously, I think this same mantra applies to plenty of products in a similar situation. And I expect that the realists among you will tell me to get a clue, that Walmart is the market and you need to play or be irrelevant. I'm saying that playing is making you irrelevant.

The missing link

The rate of growth of blogs and bloglike places is actually going to radically increase. Why? Because of software like Photon [ daikini software ].

This is a plug in that lets someone with iPhoto instantly upload photos and captions to their blog. Which means you don't have to go to a special blog-building site... you just point and upload. No doubt that picasa and other programs are out there doing the same.

Look forward to millions and millions of vanity sites soon.

Which leads to the same question we've always faced, and the one that makes so many knowledge workers nervous. "Are you saying anything worth listening to?"

When we strip away all the infrastructure and branding and organizational nonsense, it seems as though there are people who actually have something provocative or interesting or useful to say, and then there are those that want to be told what to do. The parallel publishing power of the web and blogs is making the division between these two groups ever more clear.

Something Extra

DSC00208.JPG

It's entirely possible that adding caffeine to beer will be remembered as a great idea.

Possible, but unlikely.

Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Some people like being underdogs

Tim Manners sent me this paradoy of the Apple 1984 ad.

royal_we_1984.mov (video/quicktime Object).

Well, it's product specific

But this is a great advertisement. Thanks, Ken:

3M Security Glass Ad (Signal vs. Noise).

Blogs make everyone louder

And it's effecting (at least around the edges) everything from business to churches to politics. Link: BBC NEWS | Technology | Global blogger action day called.

My question, which I have no answer for, is what happens when the volume goes up to 11? When there is just too much noise? Does it all get filtered? Who filters?

A new blog every six seconds, they say. Is there a new blog reader every six seconds as well? It continues to get interesting.

Joe Taylor gets it right about little steps

Great essay about doing little things better than everyone else: spinme.com: Slow-Cooked Success.

Sooner or later, it's about better

Google maps (Google Maps ) is just plain better than mapquest or yahoo maps. So much better it's remarkable. So much better that it doesn't make sense to use anything else.

This is worth remembering. Your first choice is always to be so much better that all the marketing hype is secondary.

Phil Lempert on RFID

This little thing is the next big thing: Xtreme Retail 23 Home.

In search of the big win

It's no accident that so many Americans are turning to life-threatening surgery to solve life-long weight problems.

This is precisely the same mindset that leads marketers to buy more SuperBowl ads instead of investing to fix customer service or to intelligently do online marketing.

Big fixes are sudden, certain and precise. They represent instant solutions to long-term problems.

The thing is, they are usually less reliable, more expensive and more painful than a more organic, slower solution.

As long as we need to show the boss (or our shareholders) that we're taking dynamic action, then the big gesture will remain supreme. Amazingly, the winners seem to be those that test and measure, live for the long haul and embrace small solutions that are easy to adjust.

Today's whiteboard session

It was a terrific day in Irvington. Folks from the UK and Florida and New York and even Brooklyn came to spend the day.

Hope to see you at the next one, to be posted in a few weeks.

Dsc00202
Dsc00205

More on bad ideas

I've gotten a ton of mails about my bad ideas post.

The bad news is that almost every letter writer misses my point. They want to have an argument about whether pull downs for states is a good idea.

Let's say that there were no pull downs for states. And then let's say someone invented it. Would everyone immediately adopt it because it's so much better? Of course not. The reason it's being defended is because of the status quo.

To save myself some typing, here are the reasons, if you insist, on why pull downs for states are silly:

1. No, you can't just type the first letter of the state, at least not in Firefox on the Mac. And hey, a state is just two letters, so who exactly is being helped here?

2. If you really want to use computer power to help me, have me type in my zip code. Then the computer should look up the city AND the state and save me 10 or fifteen letters!

3. the pull down, even if it's better, which it's not, causes me to switch from one mode (type and tab) to another mode (arrows and mouse.) All for two letters.

4. there is no #4.

5. The biggest reason of all: half or more of all shoppping carts online are abandoned. If this happened at the supermarket, they'd be bankrupt in less than a week. This is a crisis for anyone who sells online (except for Amazon, which doesn't have this problem--because people don't have to see any of this nonsense.) instead of Dilbertly defending the engineering status quo, teams should be working around the clock to test every single thing they can to fix the problem.

Thanks.

The persistence of really bad ideas

There are fifty states (proof: Clickable Map of US States.) This is a problem. If there were 5 states or 500 states, programmers would never have been tempted into forcing consumers to scroll through a pull down menu to enter their state when shopping online.

This means everyone from Texas or New York or heaven forfend, West Virginia, has to scroll all the way down in order to buy something.

This scrolling led to a similar breakthrough to enter your country. Afghanis get a big break (so do people from Andorra) but those in the biggest online consuming country on earth have to scroll all the way down to the 'U's.

No wonder so many people abandon shopping carts online.

This is not a post about how stupid this is.

This is not even a post about how easy it would be to fix (it's actually easier to put a text field in than the pull down menu).

Nor is it a post about how useless the precision here is. Knowing the state is not nearly as important as knowing the zip code, and the scroll down is unlikely to get you the right state every time anyway.

No, this is a post about how bad ideas stick around forever.

The reason is simple: in most organizations, you don't get in trouble for embracing the status quo.

More than a hundred years ago, Kaiser Wilhelm wanted to get rid of his enemies in the German government. He noticed that they were all over 65. So he decreed that this was the official retirement age, and it still is.

If you want to see what happens when you challenge the status quo, just say this at a party, "I know how to fix Social Security. Let's just raise the official retirement age for everyone who is currently under fifty. We'll take it from 65 to 70."

Stand back and beware the flamethrowers.

Need vs. Want

Thanks to Tim Manners (Link: reveries - cool news of the day.) for sharing this insight from a story on Fastcompany.com (Link: Jonesing for Soda.)

Pop Soda Jones. "The reality is that consumers don't need our stuff," says Peter van Stolk, founder, president and ceo of Jones Soda, in a transcript of an interview with Ryan Underwood posted on FastCompany.com. He says that's the one simple insight that made him a better marketer. As he puts it: "You're not listening to your customer when you tell them, 'You need me.' You listen to your customers when you say, 'You really don't need me.'"

Doing the iPod shuffle

A neat, sad story:

Link: metacool: Good marketing takes guts

and follow the link to:

Link: erasing.org / I Ate iPod Shuffle.

The new promotional mantra

Here's how TV networks got popular:
step 1: make sure the FCC gives you a low channel number. 2 is better than 12.
step 2: during sweeps week, run lots of special movies.
step 3: have the local news do an expose on iced tea sold at delis (with bacteria in it, no less)
step 4: have the local news cover a lot of fires

Here's how blogs get popular:
step 1: run some sort of poll that lots of other bloggers link to
step 2: if the poll is about you, link to it: Link: The 2005 Business Blogging Awards � Best Marketing Blog.
step 3: be controversial. Try to get a CNN VP to resign under pressure. Yell when you can speak, scream when you can whisper.
step 4: write stuff worth reading. The thing is, it's up to you/us, the readers, to decide what "worth reading" means. If we read, talk about and link to the stuff that's thin or short-lasting or flamboyant, then that's what we're going to get, right?

What bloggers do next...

My hero, Hugh Macleod just announced his evil plan to corner the market on bespoke suits.  gapingvoid: english cut (cont.).

He points to: English Cut perhaps the first, and certainly the most complete blog ever written about custom made English suits.

In an era where you don't have to wear a suit, where a suit from Today's Man is only $89 and where you never even meet most of the people you work with, a $3,000 suit is nothing but remarkable.

Good luck, Hugh.

Jobs you didn't knew existed

Sure, it's off the topic, but this article just cracked me up.

Everyone with a blog is an expert, but everyone in England appears to be an expert on this topic as well.

Link: CNN.com - Good wishes - and a note of warning - Feb 10, 2005.

Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty magazine: "When I got a call earlier this morning, I was completely astounded. The fact that it is happening, and that it is happening that quickly is the surprising element here."

A new terminology

4g_webstrategy2New to me, anyway. David Coe at: PDG Graphics sent over this chart. I was immediately grabbed by the terms "above the web" and "below the web". It's a little bit of a riff on the movie business (certain expenses are "above the line" and thus out of the hands of the producer), and it feels right.

Imagine dividing up your world this way. Worth a thought.

Great moments in marketing doublespeak

I clicked "unsubscribe" at the bottom of an email newsletter I got tired of.

This is what the web page it brought me to said:

To ensure the privacy of the subscriber base, you must enter the eMail address that this eMail was initially sent to. If the eMail address you provide does not match that address exactly, it will not be unsubscribed.

I can't tell you how pleased I am that they're looking out for my privacy with such vigilance.

Who decides? The New Middle.

Marketing dollars are getting spent on product placement (Panasonic provides plasma screens to Tony Danza, Pontiac gives cars to Oprah). Marketing dollars are also moving from magazines (stagnant) to adwords and online media (skyrocketing). Marketers are busy building viral campaigns, funding blogs, and yes, by the way, investing in products that are cool enough to actually blog about.

But who's deciding?

My guess is that this is not an organized, top down effort led by the fancy CMO or VP of Marketing. I think it's all happening around the edges while the middle (TV etc.) implodes.

This is accidental and random and it's going to get ugly, fast.

I wonder how long before smart marketers realize the new middle of the marketing department is all that extra stuff.

Wow. Thanks for buying all those books!

CEO READ just posted their top selling books for 2004.

Link: What Corporate America is Reading -- Best of 2004.

1. "Free Prize Inside," by Seth Godin.
2. "Trading Up," by Michael Silverstein, Neil Fiske.
3. "Purple Cow," by Seth Godin.
4. "The Power of We: Succeeding Through Partnerships," by Jonathan Tisch.
5. "Guts!: Companies that Blow the Doors off Business-as-Usual," by Jackie Freiberg, Kevin Freiberg.
6. "Leadership Presence," by Belle Linda Halpern, Kathy Lubar.
7. "Creating Customer Evangelists," by Ben McConnell & Jackie Huba. 8. "Leadership from the Inside Out," by Kevin Cashman.
9. "Becoming a Category of One," by Joe Calloway.
10. "Six Fundamentals of Success," by Stuart Levine.
11. "Love Is the Killer App," by Tim Sanders.
12. "Good to Great," by Jim Collins.

PS my new book is out in May. More on this soon. Thanks again.

Banner of the week.

What a great tagline.

Truecpa_everyonesingle_728x90_1

ChangeThis vindicated

One of the most controversial ChangeThis manifestos in my neighborhood is: ChangeThis :: Kill Your Children. Lackey says that juice and Coke are killing our kids.

Today's Associated Press confirms: MSNBC - Sweet drinks tied to kids' weight gain.

Cost of Hard Drive Space

As this spectacularly well-researched and useful chart (Link: Cost of Hard Drive Space) shows, a 3 gig hard drive was $3000 in 1995, not in 2002 as I mentioned below.

I blame my error on the fact that I made up the statistic below without checking first. I may be sloppy, but I'm not dishonest. Refunds available by request.

So, what will it take to succeed?

If it's not money or brilliant programming (see below) what will characterize the success of tomorrow's Net?

1. Relentless execution. This is far and away the winner. Persistence and focus and consistency. We saw how this worked for Amazon and we saw how getting distracted hurt AOL and others. It's far more important today, because markets at rest tend to stay at rest. Changing the market is hard.

2. Resistance to compromise. Because you can do so much, so fast using tools, and because it's easy for non-experts to chime in, the temptation is to go for the middle, to compromise, to be all things. It's the  Purple Cow thing again...

3. What you don't do. This is a little bit like #2. Go take a look at an Amazon page. Now you can do a web search, search inside the book, order it new, order it used, on and on and on. The temptation is to do everything you can do (it might work for Amazon, but it's not going to work for you!) The very best new Net companies understand in their heart and soul what they WON'T do.

4. Desire to be three steps ahead. One step is easy. One step isn't enough. If you're only one step ahead, you'll get creamed before you launch. Two steps is tempting. Two steps means that everyone understands what you're up to when you pitch them. Two steps means that you can get funded in no time. Two steps is a problem. It's a problem because the smart guys are three steps ahead. They're the groundbreakers and the pathfinders. They're the ones inventing the next generation. It's harder to sell, harder to build and harder to get your mother-in-law to understand, but that's what's worth building.

5. Doing something worth doing. Hey, nobody is going to switch to your service because you worked hard on it. Being a little better is worthless.

6. Connecting people to people. Over and over again, that's what lasts online. Folks thought it was about technology and it's not.

7. Monetizing from the first moment. Google without Adwords is worthless. So Adwords are built in to the experience. Not, "hey, we have to do this because otherwise we'll go out of business" but "this actually makes the service better." Given how cheap most online services are to build and run, you can't charge money if the only reason you're charging is to make a profit. Charging adds friction and selectivity. If those two elements are a drag on your service, you will fail. Hotmail's founders missed this point. Banner ads made hotmail worse, not better, and because they didn't build useful ads into the service from the start, they never could.

8. Not depending on a big, hairy partner. Sure it would be great if you could be on Yahoo's home page every day, or built into blogger or featured on Fox every night. But it would be great if you won the lottery, too. That's a wish, not a plan.

9. Ignoring the pundits. Including me. If I'm so smart, why don't I go build your business?

10. Keeping promises. Even though the Net is here and it's real, that doesn't mean that the laws of business have been suspended forever. And those two words capture the best of what we've learned for four hundred years. Do what you say you're going to do and the rest is a lot easier.

Why this "Internet thing" is just starting

Yes, it's only been ten years.

And despite our memories of the crash of 2000, here are ten reasons why I believe that there's about to be a significant flourishing of Net companies and business successes, not to mention extremely cool things for the rest of us:*

1. Penetration. There are 50 times as many people using the Net as there were then. 50x is a multiple you don't see every day.

2. Bandwidth. It's easy to forget how horrible modem surfing was. The prevalence of high bandwidth connectivity means that surfing is far more natural, more frequent and that the experience is better as well.

3. Tools. You can launch most any online service with almost no custom programming. Changethis.com demonstrated to me how straightforward this has become. It also means that finding the world's greatest programmer is no longer a critical component for most services.

4. Servers. When google can offer a gig of storage for free, it's proof that server space is essentially free. You may recall that just three ten years ago, a one three gig hard drive cost $3000.

5. Wifi. The next generation of wifi will be faster, but more important, have a vastly improved range. Which means, for example, that all of downtown Philadelphia will offer free wifi. With ubiquity will come cheap machines that dramatically increase the number of surfers, and put those surfers most everywhere.

6. Multimedia. The web is still stuck in ASCII world, but not for long. Add a few million video cameras, fifty million cell phone cameras, every song ever recorded, every TV show and movie ever made and the contents of most any scholarly book and it gets interesting fast. Sure, the lunkheads at the RIAA and MPAA will make up lies to try to stop it, but the cosmic jukebox meets the realtime surveillance camera is going to happen.

7. Grandmothers. It is no longer necessary to explain to the average American (of any generation) what this "Internet thing" is. Google has made the world safe for entrepreneurs. Don't underestimate how important this is.

8. Teenagers. The Yahoo generation is now getting driver's licenses!! These are kids who have grown up without encyclopedias or videocassettes or lps. These are kids who have completely and permanently integrated the Net into their lives and are about to go to work and to college.

9. VC. Fred Wilson (Link: A VC.) has more than a hundred million dollars to invest in great Net companies. So do a dozen or more other (less talented) venture capitalists. Given that it takes far less money today (see #10 and #3) than ever, this means the search for money is not the challenge.

10. The death of TV. (It wouldn't be a Seth Godin post if I didn't mention the death of TV, would it?) You know what killed the first crop of stupid $100 million Internet consumer service startups? Advertising. They all believed that they need to spend millions to build a brand.  Today, we've got proof--every single (no exceptions!) Internet success is a success because of Unleashing the ideavirus. It's not TV ads. It's word of mouse.

[*Hyperbole alert: forgive me, please, if I've used too many absolutes. No, servers and bandwidth aren't free. No, TV isn't totally dead. It's all part of projecting a few steps ahead. But you already knew that...]

Special Super Bowl Post (Blink)

How is it that every single year, the NFL manages to hype the most boring football game of the year to everyone, even the national section of the New York Times?
Blink
At least Malcolm Gladwell figured out how to get in on it: ESPN.com: Page 2 - Interview: Malcolm Gladwell.

The two best things about this interview are:
1. it sounds just like a conversation with Malcolm sounds. Which is a good thing.
2. he says the Bills are his team. I had no idea.

Thanks to Marc for the link.

Amazon and Coffee

Announcing Amazon Prime
Amazon just announced that you can pay $79 and get a year's worth of superfast shipping in exchange. For anyone buying more than a few items a month, it's a no brainer.

But this has nothing to do with saving money on shipping and everything to do with Amazon's innate understanding of human nature. Once you buy in, every single time you buy something from any other store (online or off) you'll say to yourself, "ouch, I can't buy this here. I'll be wasting the money I spent at Amazon."

I love the idea that you can pay a lump sum and get a discount going forward.

The Soy Luck Club, my favorite place in New York, just announced the breakfast club. Pay $40 or so and you get breakfast every day for a month. "Grab and go" it's called. If Vivian sells 100 memberships, it's a home run. With $4000, she can certainly buy a lot of whole wheat bagels and grapefruit, and she ends up creating a cadre of super loyal customers. Best of all, she starts finding products for her customers instead of finding customers for her products.

Imagine a new chain of cafes that offers a coffee club. For a flat fee, you get all the wifi and lattes you can handle. With the markup on both, the owner does great, and people would feel terrible every time they strayed.

They say to ignore sunk costs. People are terrible at that, though.

How does a company with SOUL respond to a mistake?

Carl Richards points to a letter from Boden about how one company deals with a mistake:

Link: TelosWorks: How does a company with SOUL respond to a mistake?.

Last chance for my seminar

My whiteboard seminar is 2/16/05. This is the only scheduled small seminar I've announced. There are just a few seats available.

You can find all the details by clicking this link: Seminars.

I hope you can make it. See you there.

I don't get it

Maybe I'm not supposed to.

Do they make lubricant for eyeglasses?

Cimg0001

Link: Dove.com.

the Purple Hotel

Steve points me Tom's blog--about a (pun intended) Purple Hotel.  tompeters! leadership training development project management.

What do you do after you make a mistake?

Nice post by Wayne, thanks Red: Blog Business World - Marketing, Public Relations, Search Engine Optimization.

Great job (last part, for now)

A friend of mine is a world-class lawyer, with a great background in copyright, deal-making and intellectual property issues. She has a stellar resume and could get a cog-job in about two seconds. Except that she doesn't want to do that. She wants to work for a fast-growing neat organization with flexible hours. And she's willing to take a 60% pay cut to do so.

In the current system, there's no place for her (or for you, for that matter) to let the right person know that they ought to rethink the way they're allocating their payroll and their services budget and take advantage of this opportunity. This is ridiculous. There's no other similar expense in a corporation that is totally demand based. Companies don't say, "We're thinking of replacing our phone system, please let us know if there's some new technology that we don't know about" or "Our charity currently uses a traditional system to do fundraising but we're auditioning automated online systems, please send a properly formatted brochure..."

Well, if the single-most-important thing a business can do is hire amazing people, why shouldn't that
process be more flexible and be built around the people, not the slots?

At this point, I'm supposed to point you to some amazing web site that is people-centric, not job-centric, and talk about how smart bosses from around the globe are using it to scout for great people. How an eBay-like revolution is changing this huge marketplace. I can't, so I won't.

Sure, there are resume-driven sites. Wouldn't matter. The bosses aren't there. The culture hasn't shifted yet.

But it will.

Why not print this blog out, attach it to a letter (not a resume not a resume not a resume!!!) and send it off to the place that needs you? If two or three or ten people did it, it might not matter, but if thousands of people started auctioning off their skills in the way it ought to be done (recognizing that you, not the factory, is where the value is) it could become a movement.

Great job (part 2)

Well, if it's the jobs at little companies that we want, what's wrong with the current system?

In my experience, little companies are rarely so organized that they know just what slot to fill, what to call that slot and who to hire for that slot. In all the fast-growing companies I've encountered, a new job is just that... new. More often than not, companies bump into someone cool and find a job for them. Or, even more likely, they see someone really cool at ANOTHER company, wish they had that person and invent a job that they hope someone like that will fill.

Implicit in this reasoning is this: it's the  Purple Cow that will fill this job beautifully. Not some automaton who will follow orders, but someone remarkable who will ask great questions and make magical things happen.

So, if you were going to invent a system where remarkable, hard-to-classify people got hooked up with fast-growing organizations that could put those skills to work, would it look anything like the classified section of the New York Times?

I don't think so.

Are you looking for a great job? (part 1)

I've been thinking about the job-finding/person-finding paradox a lot lately, and it seems completely broken to me.

Consider a few facts:
1. The traditional way to get a job is to send a boring resume in response to as many posted jobs as you can afford. Your resume will be scanned, culled and if it doesn't stand out too much, a person might look at it.

Then you go for a job interview and try to be coglike in your malleability and desire to fit in. If random acts are working in your favor, you get the job.

2. Then, the big Fortune 1000 company that hired you complains that all their people act like cogs, don't care enough, aren't creative in solving problems and don't push the status quo.

3. Then, the big Fortune 1000 company realizes that as long as they've got interchangeable cogs, they ought to just move jobs offshore, cause that's cheaper

or

3.a. The company doesn't do that, succumbs to Wall Street pressure and either cheats (and gets caught and tanks) or doesn't cheat (and gets bought or folded and tanks).

Something's wrong here.

Let's start with one assumption that has changed in just a generation:

It turns out that 100% of all job growth is now coming from small (under 500 person) companies. In fact, the big companies are shedding jobs, not adding them.

That wasn't true for our parents. It's true for us.

Also true: more likely than not, the best jobs, the most interesting jobs and the most secure jobs happen in small organizations.

SO: first conclusion: fitting in to get a job for the big guy is a bad strategy for everyone.

Link: Monster Jobs - Get work. Network. Build a better career. Today's the day..

I've been remiss

Worse than remiss. Negligent.

I haven't told you about Vincent Flanders' funny and useful and free article on web design.

Link: Web Pages That Suck presents the biggest web design mistakes in 2004 learn usability and good Web design by looking at bad Web design.

Must reading. Do it before you go to bed tonight.

Mitch Joel discovers...

That life is a bit like an open source project. The more he gives, the more he gets. Montreal Gazette - canada.com network.   New link: http://www.twistimage.com/articles/gazette2.html

Fix your computer

Radiorss

I had to use a PC today in order to run Exact Target to do a mailing. I was stunned and astonished at how much the experience has degraded since my last exposure. There were dozens of pop ups and flashing lights and buzzers and it was awfully frightening.

At the same time, I discovered that just a tiny portion of the population is using RSS to watch their favorite blogs.

SO, HERE'S WHAT YOU SHOULD DO to dramatically increase the quality of your online experience.

1. Download the free Firefox browser. Just click here and follow the instructions: Firefox - Rediscover the web. It really is free, it really only takes a few minutes, and it's not hard.

2. Whenever you visit a blog or similarly updated site, look for that funky radar symbol at the bottom of the page (see above.)

3. Click on the symbol and Firefox will ask you if you want to store that link. Choose to store it on your toolbar.

4. From now on, you'll have a menu that looks like this:

Pulldown

which will automatically list the headlines as they are updated.

That way, you don't have to wonder if a blog has been updated or not.

Ten minutes, tops. Worth it.

Now, many people are worried that the IT guys will get mad if they do stuff like this. So they ask. Don't ask. Just do it. You won't break anything, and even if you do, they love to fix stuff.

Did I mention that if you go to the preferences menu item, you can choose to turn off pop-up windows? Well, you can.

Welcome to Seth's Blog

There's been a rush of new traffic, and for those new to the blog, I commend you to the archives (at your left, it goes back a few years). To get you started, please click here: Seth's Blog: The Best Seth Godin Posts of the Year (2004). You'll find 24 posts that are more remarkable than most.

Thanks.

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