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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

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linchpin

Linchpin

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

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meatball.sundae

Meatball Sundae

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

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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.

ONLINE:

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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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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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« April 2005 | Main | June 2005 »

worth way more than it costs...

Nick Usborne has a great deal. You get his permission-based newsletter and a free ebook too.  Writing for the Web: FREE Guide with your Newsletter Sign Up.

A great quote from Oscar Wilde

Link: acleareye.com: Oscar Wilde on liars.

"The liar at any rate recognizes that recreation, not instruction, is the aim of conversation, and is a far more civilised being than the blockhead who loudly expresses his disbelief in a story which is told simply for the amusement of the company."

Three posts you might have overlooked

Last chance before they fall off into the depths of May:

1. you can sell my knock knock ebook on your website if you want to. I'm surprised that only 1% of my sales so far have come this way: Seth's Blog: Affiliate sales of Knock Knock.

2. I thought this post would really generate a lot of discussion:  Seth's Blog: The Placebo Affect*.

3. And last, if you're interested in the $1,000 bounty or the internship, I need to hear from you by Tuesday:  Seth's Summer Intern Project.

A misplaced vowel

Dsc00648When I first encountered this restaurant in New York, I was excited. Look at how authentic the bronze plate fitted into the granite appears (sorry if it's sideways..). It had just the right tone. It was easy to imagine the meditation bells and the wholesome asian food.

Then I looked up and saw the banner and the name. It's all wrong. Franchia is not the right name for this place. Something was wrong. Are they trying too hard? Don't they get it? Why does it sound like a french-italian hybrid?

First impressions are everywhere, and they matter.

Dsc00649

Cookies you can feel good about

CookiesEverything about the packaging is perfect. The matte finish. The old fashioned roll top. The colors and more.

The only problem is that these cookies are no healthier than most of the others on the shelf. The reason to buy them is that they make it easy to lie to yourself when you feed em to your kids.

Is it only my supermarket that is now filled with stuff like this?

More on lying politicians

I'm riffing with Jennifer today. It's the end of the tour.  What's Your Brand Mantra?.

Is J. D. Salinger a Liar? Are You?

Did Holden Caulfield really have the adventures and angst the author wrote about? Of course not. There wasn't a Holden Caulfield. Catcher in the Rye is a work of fiction.

So what's the difference between fiction and a lie? Is storytelling lying?

I think the distinction we make for ourselves is that novelists don't pretend that they are telling us the truth. They don't set out to deceive because they write novels, which are clearly labeled as untrue. No evil intent, no lie.

Judging from my email and some postings on blogs here and there, it seems that some people have a trouble with the word "liar". Liar is a word that makes us angry.

When I wrote All Marketers Are Liars (Liar's Blog) I was trying to make a point about true lies.

Some (mostly those that haven't bothered to read it) think I'm telling people to lie and cheat and deceive and abandon what few ethics we've got left. Nope! I'm doing the opposite.

I start by telling you that you ARE telling a story whether you want to or not. You are a novelist, a film director, a fabulist. It's impossible to deliver the entire truth to anyone, ever, so by making choices, you're telling a story. If your blog is well-designed, that's part of your story. If your blog is ugly, that's a story too. Neither story has to do with the words. But you're still telling a story. We as marketers ought to recognize that and start acting that way--our competition sure is.

Then I say that telling a story that is inauthentic, inconsistent, hollow or filled with unstated side effects isn't just wrong, it's stupid. The best lies are true! True in the sense that you don't disappoint the listener when she discovers more facts about what you do.

Any marketer who believes that they are in the business of telling the truth about what they do is delusional. You can't. Not enough time, not enough attention, not enough money.

J.D. Salinger understood this when he wrote his novels. He didn't try to tell the truth. He tried to tell a story that resonated.

Be a true liar. Someone who knows he's in the storytelling business, someone who tells people about his ideas in terms they want to hear it. But be someone who's stories hold up under inspection.

ChangeThis, reborn

I'm pleased to announce that as of today, ChangeThis has a new steward.

Todd and Jack and the rest of the team at 800 CEO READ have agreed to take it over. No money changed hands, no "promotional considerations." They're doing it because they like it and because they believe that promoting cutting edge ideas can only help their business. The announcement is here. 800-CEO-READ Blog: 800-CEO-READ and ChangeThis.

I want to thank the great team of interns that built Changethis, especially Amit Gupta who has stuck with it over the last bunch of months. And I'm grateful to Jack and Todd. They work hard to do exactly what they say they're going to do.

And thanks to all of you that have read our stuff (for free, I might add!) and helped it spread.

I'll be at metacool today

Here's the link: metacool.

"I just write this stuff down"

A new interview for you. One Degree - Five Questions For Seth Godin.

People like telling stories

Jake London points me to this new one from Chris... Link: The Long Tail: The dangers of "Headism".

My Secret Project and the Bounty

I need your help.

I'm looking for three special people this summer to work on a secret project. No, I can't tell you what it is. Yes, I can tell you about the internships:  Seth's Summer Intern Project.

Find me someone I successfully hire and you get $1,000 and the perverse satisfaction of knowing that you made a good match. Find me two and you get twice as much!

Blog it, post it, email it to the right people.

Thanks for your help!

This is real marketing

Curt Rosengren sent me a story about De Pree Jefferson. Link: Trevor's Blog: De Pree.
De Pree works in a hospital. Doing little things, but things that matter.

Maybe hospitals should buy fewer billboards and hire more De Pree Jeffersons.

A blog I liked

Garrick Van Buren made me think. Link: The Work Better Weblog.

Speaking of podcasts

The All Marketers are Liars blog book tour continues today, but with a twist... a podcast! My one and only podcast, actually.  Church of the Customer: Podcast: Are all marketers really liars? A chat with Seth Godin.

Two more thoughts about podcasting

that last post caused a minor firestorm, so I want to riff just a bit here.

1. I didn't say I don't like podcasts. In fact, I think they're terrific. The user experience (take authentic, honest, informative audio with you when you do the rest of your life) is a great idea. It's not going to go away.

2. I am fascinated by the math of the situation from the creator's point of view.

What would have happened to radio if
a. it was really cheap to start a station
and
b. the dial could hold a million stations, not forty?

We certainly wouldn't see the huge profits and high production values of radio today, would we? If there were thousands and thousands of stations to compete with, it would be an amateur medium, with nobody making enough to invest.

Podcasting feels a little like that. There will be millions of listeners... and there might be millions of podcasts.

But, then I think about A lists. Inevitably, a few podcasts will become like boingboing, the default channel for people getting started listening, or for people who want to listen to what everyone else listens to. (and of course there will be vertical A listers... like the Variety showbiz journal, but someone's podcasted version)

Is it possible to build a podcast with a million subscribers? Why not? And if you did, would it be profitable enough to invest in and dedicate time to? No doubt.

So, I guess I see a much steeper pyramid for podcasts than I do for blogs. Not 10,000,000 podcasts at the bottom the way there is for blogs, but maybe 1% of that. And a few (a dozen, a hundred, a thousand?) at the top with big subscriber numbers and either subscriber revenue or ad revenue to make it worth the investment.

If your goal is to be an A list podcaster, today's the day to start. And invest. And persist.

Thinking about podcasting

A few times a day, people ask when I'm going to have a podcast. My answer is probably not too soon.

The good news for podcasters is that users' ability to hear podcasts is dramatically increasing. It'll soon be built into itunes, and as awareness spreads, the number of listeners has to increase.

There's a bunch of bad news, though.

First, you can't browse a podcast. Which means that you won't know what you like until you get it. That means subscribing in many cases. This is, of course, good news, cause subscribers are better than browsers. But it's mostly bad news because it means that very few podcasts are going to be heard by large numbers of people.

Example: if there are 1,000 blogs and 1,000 readers, sooner or later every blog will get sampled by every reader.

BUT, if there are 1,000 podcasts and 1,000 people, it's unlikely that you'll be sampled by more than ten or twenty listeners. Why? Because the cost of sampling (in time) is too high. Once you've got your needs met, you'll stop listening.

Problem two is that listening is a real time commitment. I can surf 300 blogs in the time I can listen to just one podcast. That doesn't mean podcasts are bad... in fact, they're far more powerful than blogs in selling emotion. It does mean that it's going to be harder to get a big audience.

Which leads to the last bit of bad news: you can put up a blog post in two minutes, but it takes an hour to make a podcast. So, creators will want either big audiences or money if they're going to really do it. And both are hard to see coming any time soon.

My two cents.

55,000,000

I'm not one for stories and screeds about how many people live in Asia and how we better get ready.

But this one is sticking in my head and won't leave:

There are fifty five million Chinese kids that take piano lessons.

On the other hand

Almost every single time I use Google, I marvel at what a powerful tool it is. Search plus billions of pages equals an enormous number of opportunities. Opportunities for education, for commerce, for new ways of spreading ideas and for new businesses.

How can you redefine what you do in terms of a nearly infinite world that might find you?

Web pages are so ugly!

Maybe I'm just in a beauty mood, but I was struck as I surfed around today at how ugly many web pages are (eBay). Typefaces that fight instead of work together. Flashing things that flash for no reason. Hierarchies of size and color that are irrational.

Milton Glaser talks about why the supermarket is the way the supermarket is. Why is Tide in that multi-colored box? It turns out that the original boxes evolved when you still had to ask for what you wanted from the guy behind the counter. The boxes needed to be bright in order to attract your attention from a ways away. Once the vernacular was set for the early winners, everyone else followed.

I wonder if we're about to get stuck here as well? As we enter a broadband world, with better browsers and all sorts of tools to improve the experience, is everyone going to be stuck emulating what succeeded in 1999?

Search is lousy

Two years from now, people are going look back at Google and Yahoo and marvel at just how primitive they were.

A quick glance at a new search engine (Exalead) demonstrates that while it's a long long way from perfect, the areas where existing engines can get better are legion.

Do you know Rich...

Apparently, the ellipsis is part of his name.

Anyway, the blog book tour continues on his site: "Hello_World": Business Blog Book Tour: Seth "Pinocchio" Godin. The rest of his stuff is worth a read as well.

The Marketplace Radio Interview

Try not to operate heavy machinery while listening.  Welcome to Marketplace.

The Placebo Affect*

PillEverybody already knows how powerful the brain is. Take a sugar pill that’s supposed to be a powerful medicine and watch your symptoms disappear. Have a surgeon not perform bypass surgery on your heart (link.) and discover that the angina that has been crippling you vanishes.

The placebo effect is not just for sick people anymore.

Why do some ideas have more currency than others? Because we believe they should. When Chris Anderson or Malcolm Gladwell writes about something, it’s a better idea because they wrote about it.

Even as your culture of ideas and marketing enters its long-tail, open-source, low-barrier, everyone-has-a-blog era of mass publication, we still need filters. Would your iPod sound as sweet if everyone else had a Rio? Would your Manolo Blahniks be as cool if everyone else were wearing Keds?

Arthur Anderson audited thousands of companies, and those audits gave us confidence in those companies, made them appear more solid, which, not surprisingly, made them more solid. Then, post Enron, the placebo effect disappeared. Same companies, same auditors, but suddenly those companies appeared LESS solid, which made them less solid.

The magic of the placebo effect lies in the fact that you can’t do it to yourself. You need an accomplice. Someone in authority who will voluntarily tell you a story.

That’s what marketers do. We have the  “placebo affect.” (* The knack for creating placebos.) Of course, we need to persuade ourselves that it’s morally and ethically and financially okay to  participate in something as unmeasurable as the placebo effect. The effect is controversial and it goes largely unspoken. Very rarely do we come to meetings and say, “well, here’s our cool new PBX for Fortune 1000 companies. It’s exactly the same as the last model, except the phones are designed by frog design so they’re cooler and more approachable and people are more likely to invest a few minutes in learning how to use them, so customer satisfaction will go up and we’ll sell more, even though it’s precisely the same technology we were selling yesterday.”

Very rarely do vodka marketers tell the truth and say, “here’s our new vodka, which we buy in bulk from the same distillery that produces vodka for $8 a bottle. Ours is going to cost $35 a bottle and come in a really, really nice bottle and our ads will persuade laddies that this will help them in the dating department… nudge, nudge, know what I mean, nudge, nudge…”

It would be surprising to meet a monk or a talmudic scholar or a minister who would say, “yes, we burn the incense or turn down the lights or ring these bells or light these candles as a way of creating a room where people are more likely to believe in their prayers,” but of course that’s exactly what they’re doing. (and you know what? there's nothing wrong with that.)

It’s easier to get people to come to a meeting about clock speed and warranty failure analysis than it is to have a session about storytelling.

We don’t like to admit that we tell stories, that we’re in the placebo business. Instead, we tell ourselves about features and benefits as a way to rationalize our desire to to help our customers by allowing them to lie to themselves.

The design of your blog or your package or your outfit is nothing but an affect designed to create the placebo effect. The sound Dasani water makes when you open the bottle is more of the same. It’s all storytelling. It’s all lies.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

In fact, your marketplace insists on it.

We need immediate action!

Will the night sky be filled with giant billboards soon?

JT Hoagland points us to...  FAA wants to ensure no ads in space, preserve dark night sky - May. 19, 2005.

Government: No billboards in space. FAA says it lacks authority to enforce existing law prohibiting 'obtrusive' ads in zero gravity.

If you have a review

Amazon is now willing to let you post it (finally).

Feel free... Link: Amazon.com: Books: All Marketers Are Liars : The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World.

Thanks for making this one a bestseller. And for the very nice words you've been e-mailing over. I appreciate it.

The book tour comes to a blog near you

You really need to check out Brand Autopsy.

Not only is it flattering to be taken apart and then put back together by these guys, but they're seeing things I never saw and are delivering an enormous amount of value about the new book.

My favorite are the "shorten" links. You'll see. Go read it.

$17 billion a year

Do you have a lawn?

You know, the wasteful green expanse in front of your house... that kind of lawn.

It turns out that lawns were virtually unknown in the USA until after 1850, and were invented in the UK not too long before this.

The reason for a lawn? To demonstrate wastefulness. A lawn tells your neighbors you can afford to waste land, waste water and have a team of servants to keep it all pretty (History of Lawns In America.)

The marketing of lawns is true marketing. Not interruptive clever ads, but an idea that spreads and sticks. Just like Starbucks. Or e-mail. The challenge facing industries and organizations is to create ideas that have the marketing built in.

You don't have a front lawn so your kids can practice soccer. You have one so your spouse won't yell at you for embarrassing the family in front of the neighbors.

Happy mowing.

share of wallet

The brilliant Jerry Shereshewsky at Yahoo! chimes in with another riff about the Bowling Green orchestra. "Music isn't a centrality in their lives, although it probably once was.  The orchestra can extend their relationship, increase their perceived value and get lots of word of mouth (not to mention a few bucks too) by sharing programming thoughts (aka playlists) for their greater audience.  If you like this concert, here's some other stuff you would love.  Send them to an affiliate link to buy or download."

In other words, share of wallet, not share of market.

A letter from Kentucky

Jeff Reed writes,

I am the music director of an orchestra that is entering its sixth season, which is located in a town of 50,000 people.  Our budget was about $15,000 the first season and it will be nearly $500,000 this season.  We have always had balanced budgets and will finish this season (ends July 1) with about a $20,000 surplus.  This is happening at a time when many orchestras have ended in bankruptcy or are finishing with large deficits.  I owe much of our success to you.

Having read several studies on why orchestras are failing, I have learned (which came as no surprise), that people these days don't want to hear one type of music (which is what orchestras usually offer-only classical) and that audiences get bored without a visual element in a concert (merely watching the musicians isn't enough).

To respond to these studies, we created what we think is a purple cow:  an orchestra that programs Beethoven and the Beatles on the same concert (usually, orchestras perform only "serious" music on one concert and have a pops orchestra to do the "light" stuff--they usually use two different orchestra names, even though the same musicians do both concerts!).  All of our concerts are centered around themes which tie the various musical styles together, often with an added visual element on a screen above the orchestra. For example, we did "That '20s Show" which featured "serious" music from the 1920's by Shostakovich, a commissioned film score to accompany a silent film (the orchestra played the score while the audience watched the film on a screen above the orchestra), and popular songs by George and Ira Gershwin.   We did a bluegrass concert that featured Copland's "Appalachian Spring," standards performed by a Bluegrass band, and a new composition for bluegrass band and orchestra.

I don't know how remarkable all of this is nationally or internationally, but it is certainly working in Bowling Green, KY.  Our audiences have grown from 100 the first season to an average of 800 this past season (some concerts sell as many as 2,000 tickets).

I just finished reading "All Marketers Are Liars."  My question is:  what story are we telling or should we be telling?  It seems like we are telling quite a few, for example: (1) orchestras don't have to be boring (which deals with a common perception); (2) We think outside the Bachs (sorry for the pun), which seems to make people feel good about the fact that they want to hear several different types of music and that they aren't stupid if they get bored listening to some classical music.  All of our season themes are along those lines:  Anything Goes, Thinking Outside the Bachs, Bluegrass to Baroque, etc.

I thought it would be fun to answer Jeff's questions on the blog... The fact is, he's already 99% of the way there (through no fault of mine!)

Most orchestras are run by people who are focused on the "truth" of what they do. They are performing the canon, doing it with skill and passion. They offer their community the best of what they are able to produce, and hope that those that are intelligent and genteel enough appreciate what they have to offer. If people don't come, it's some sort of commentary on the declining state of our culture, not, in their view, a reflection of the story they're telling.

Every once in a while, a traditional orchestra decides to go slumming to raise money. They program a Pops concert or bring in PDQ Bach. The problem with this is that they're still talking to the very people they always talk to, so it's not enough. That, and because it's seen as an extra, a lesser task, few orchestras really get very good at this sort of programming.

Jeff, on the other hand, has figured out a totally different way to look at the situation. It starts by understanding worldview. There is certainly a tiny population in Bowling Green that walks around with the worldview, "I love traditional classical music and will pay to see it live." These people would be an easy sale, but there are very very few of them.

There's a much larger group that has a worldview that says, "I'm interested in live music and enjoy an evening out. I want to do something fun and something that doesn't make me bored or feel stupid." These people are the kind of people who read movie reviews and movie ads--not because they have to, but because they want to. They are the kind of people who don't skip over the entertainment section of their local paper.

In walks Jeff's group with a simple story, well told. "We're not slumming, we don't look down on you and we're here to have fun, too." By taking advantage of clever programming, slide shows and other non-traditional techniques, Jeff is busy putting on a show--a show that people want to hear.

I don't think Jeff needs help telling his story. The challenge is now to make it easy for people to tell that story to their friends. I'd obsess about getting permission from my fans (via email, or a traditional newsletter) and then deliver regularly news to them that's easy to spread. I'd offer "bring a friend" evenings and discounts, and start programming in venues outside of the traditional theatre.

The takeaway here is that if your target audience isn't listening, it's not their fault, it's yours. If one story isn't working, change what you do, not how loudly you yell (or whine). Nice work, Jeff.

The Knut Masco story

This is a true story of the Net, of talent and trust. It's a small world.

Fifteen years ago, on the streets of Soho (the artsy district of Manhattan) my wife and I were window-shopping for art we couldn't afford. Outside of one of the galleries, literally on the street, we saw an artist selling his work right on the street. We bought a painting for about $100 and congratulated ourselves for "buying art in Soho" at a discount. The artist was friendly and we wished him luck.

Knut Masco, the artist, specialized in painting on the back of old windows. He decorated the wooden frame and painted on the glass. He was a committed street artist and made a name for himself when he joined in with some other artists and sued Rudi Guiliani for banning their work (a surprisingly large number of people don't remember the original bully version of Guiliani). They won and that was the last we heard of Knut.

Anyway, two months ago the Masco in our house fell off the wall and shattered into a billion pieces. We were heartbroken. "This is a job for google" I cried, and off I went to find Knut. Nothing doing. He had vanished.

I hopped over to the amazing Google Answers. I posted a query and within a day, the researcher found Knut... living in Israel... under another name... no longer doing art!

I dropped Knut a note, found out his new name was Boaz, and described our need for a new painting. He quickly agreed--even though he couldn't find any old windows and had to make a new one from scratch. Even though he hadn't painted in a while. I offered to pay in advance, but he wouldn't hear of it.

Two months later, I get an email saying the painting is ready and has been shipped. I send him a check, made out to his new name, on faith. A day later, a painting arrives by Federal Express. From Israel. With a handwritten invoice.

The painting is terrific--even better than the original. But more important to us is the story. Not sure what you can do with it, but thought you'd want to hear it.

Another story in photos

Dave Sampson sent me this link: Drug Photos.

If you've got kids, I beg you to share this with them. It's disturbing, but important. And far more powerful than any table of statistics or medical report ever could be.

This site is now run by autoblogger

Thanks to Red for the link: AutoBlogger.net.

I think it's worth noting that there are more than ten million blogs out there, and best as I can tell, virtually nobody does it because they have to. In other words, it's not a job yet. I'm sure it will be soon, for some people.

Telling a story with a picture

Shazzieraw_1Thanks to Dhrumil for the link and the photo: We Like It Raw.

The idea being sold is raw food, but the picture instantly tells a story that is far more effective than the words could ever be. Yes that's the same person, less than two years later.

Michael Pollock is a liar

Bignose_1He came through and bought a nose. You can too: Link: Seth's Blog: You too can be famous!.

and find Michael here: smallbusinessbranding - Small Business Strategies and Ideas for Savvy Solopreneurs.

Fundable... a next big thing?

Anders Abrahamsson points us to Fundable, a new open source venture. Welcome to Fundable — Fundable.

I post it because
a. the site is beautiful and clear and is a great example of the sort of Knock Knock website we need more of.
b. more important, I think it represents a neat opportunity for marketers of content.

Example: Rickie Lee Jones says, "If 5,000 people agree to buy a new live album from me $10 a copy as an MP3, I'll go ahead and make it." She then promotes the sale and points people to Fundable.

If she doesn't get 5,000, everyone gets a refund, automatically. If she does, she sends out the album and something good has happened.

What's neat about this is that it creates a fundamentally different sort of buying mechanism. That hasn't happened in a long, long time.

I actually don't think that this is going to be a truly next big thing... it's too much work to do the promotion and to make something worth buying. (Imagine chartering a big jet to Las Vegas for a convention...) But it's a cool idea.

Whatever happened to ChangeThis?

A year ago today, I started work on ChangeThis. The idea was to have a mechanism that would help thoughtful ideas spread. Far too lazy to do something this difficult on my own, I assembled a team of summer interns who did the entire thing.

It succeeded beyond our wildest expectations. We featured authors as diverse as Tom Peters, Amnesty International, Chris Anderson, Hugh Macleod, George Lakoff and Guy Kawaski. We distributed manifestos on the evil of juice and the joys of blogging. Millions and millions of copies of our pdf files were distributed far and wide.

ChangeThis, paradoxically, was too successful. As the bar was raised and the standards increased, the amount of work necessary to keep up the quality kept rising. Starting at the end of last year, I entered into a very long negotiation with a major web company about passing the reins on to them. Alas, as often happens with long negotiations with major corporations, it crashed and burned at the very end. One side effect is that ChangeThis has been relatively bereft of new content since February or so.

The good news?
a. next week I hope to be able to tell you about a new team taking over--no money is changing hands, just a team of folks who want to do the hard work to make it fly...
and
b. we learned a lot. We learned a lot building it and launching it, and we learned a lot in watching what spread (and what didn't spread). And, I think, our millions of readers learned a lot.

So, think hard about the next generation of manifestos. Challenge yourself to write something that's important, and that will spread. More next week. Thanks for reading.

Visualizing your story

TombstoneThanks to Rod Brant for the link to the Tombstone Generator.

What will be on your tombstone

So, every single article about podcasting mentions Adam Curry (which makes sense, since it was his idea). And every article ever written about Adam Curry mentions that he was once an MTV VJ. For no good reason. (We're talking almost 100,000 google matches).

AND, every single article about Google (until recently) included the phrase, "And employees eat lunch in a cafeteria where the food is prepared by a former chef for the Grateful Dead." For no good reason. (We're talking 25,600 matches).

Breaking news: SiliconBeat: Google's famed chef leaving. Thanks John Battelle for the link...

What's they have in common is pretty obvious: oxymorons. It's a safe piece of trivia that no one expects but then it's pretty easy to remember. Oxymorons make it easy to tell stories. Do you have one?

More downgrading

A few weeks ago, I talked about the gradual descent of music from live to a mere memory of that: Seth's Blog: REAL--Compared to what? The Pale Imitation.

I thought about that when I was yelling on the cell phone today, because the connection was far worse than the way the phone in my house sounded in 1971.

And the typesetting on my blog doesn't compare to that in my books.

And my digital pictures in iphoto, though there are a lot of them, really don't look as sharp as these snapshots from my high school graduation (and I had more hair).

It's not just traditional media, either. An email doesn't communicate as much information as a meeting, and a voice mail is really hard to file. A Powerbar may have plenty of vitamins and stuff, but it's just not as good as a real meal, is it?

Which leaves a big opportunity. The opportunity to provide sensory richness. To deliver experiences that don't pale in comparison to the old stuff. It's not just baby boomer nostalgia (though that helps)--it's a human desire for texture.

Stagnation is easy, change is hard

They want to make the supermarket near my house better. Add free parking for all the people who want to shop in the village (where there is no free parking). Add more fresh produce and organic foods, as well as an enhanced deli/prepared food section. They also want to take over an abandoned lot where a car dealership stood abandoned for years, and eliminate a little-used street that messes up the traffic.

The town is up in arms!

There are petitions everywhere. People are outraged. Shocked. It'll ruin everything.

It seems as though it's easy to be against change.

WatertowerThere's a toxic waste dump in my town, crowned by an old, rusting, abandoned water tower. There's actually a committee to protect the water tower, given that it signifies an important part of our (toxic) heritage.

One more:

New York State fought for years (and spent millions on legal work) to keep a law that is patently ridiculous--that only in-state wineries could sell online and by mail. Somehow, I guess, the in-state wineries would avoid selling to minors, but not the ones from, say, California.

One day after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the law, our esteemed governor said that he was in favor of changing it anyway. No big deal. The world did not end.

Why is it so easy to protect the status quo, even when the status quo isn't so great?

It has to do with a discontinuity on the curve of gain and loss. Think about it this way:

How much would you pay for a long long shot chance to win $100 million? Odds of a billion to one. Probably a dollar. They call it a lottery ticket.

Now, how much would you SELL a long long shot (at even better odds) where if a certain number came up, you'd have to give away every single item you owned?

Figure you'd lose a million dollars worth of assets. Now, before you answer, remember that this is just 1% of what you were willing to pay a dollar to win. The rational mathematical answer is no more than one penny. Of course, no one would sell this ticket for a penny. Most people wouldn't sell it for a thousand dollars. A thousand dollars for a 100,000 to one shot you'll go bankrupt? No way.

The fear of loss is way, way higher than the desire for gain. Unless it's carefully hidden inside a story, that's the way we feel. We're humans, not Vulcans.

If I ran the Stop & Shop supermarket near my house, I'd bluff. I'd pull bulldozers and wrecking balls into town and tell everyone I was going to demolish my no longer profitable store and then leave the parking lot filled with bricks so no one could park there and jog over the wine store while using my parking lot.

The outrage would be so profound I'd have no trouble at all selling the town on a small upgrade.

All change isn't good. Not at all. But the knee jerk irrational opposition to change is less good. Marketing is all about making change. More often than not, a good way to sell that change is not with the promise for gain. It's with the fear of loss. Sad but true.

Who do you trust?

Ian Daley at Virid.com.au points us to the list of Australia's most trusted professions. Link: LHMU: Queensland News: Ambos voted our most trusted professionals - 07 June 2004.

Here's the list: 1 Ambulance officers 2 Fire fighters 3 Pilots 4 Nurses 5 Pharmacists 6 Doctors 7 Police officers 8 Dentists 9 Teachers 10 Architects 11 Plumbers 12 Accountants 13 Social workers 14 Religious ministers / priests 15 Auto mechanics 16 Bartenders 17 Builders 18 Financial advisers 19 Taxi drivers 20 Psychologists 21 Lawyers 22 Journalists 23 CEOs 24 Real estate agents 25 Car salesmen 26 Politicians

Worth noting that marketers don't even come out ahead of politicians.

Welcome back!

Every month or two, I drop an email note to my long-time e-subscribers. These are the many people who have kept in touch with my writing for five years or more... email is more quaint than RSS, but, hey, it still works.

So, if you're just joining us, here are the most vital links from the last few weeks. I hope daily readers will forgive the repetition.

Link: My new ebook and how to get it for free.

 

Link: Dozens of new posts about All Marketers are Liars.

Link: Seth's Blog: On Critics, Criticism and Remarkability.

Link: Seth's Blog: What Every Good Marketer Knows.

Link: Seth's Blog: Seth's favorite blog posts, part II.

Tom filters...

...so you don't have to.

sort of a pre-built RSS reader for change junkies. Link: TP Wire Service.

Are you checking on yourself?

My new book (Seth Godin - Liar's Blog) ships this week, and I can't help it, I'm nervous about whether people will get the ideas I've stuffed inside of it. I'm also nervous about whether those ideas will spread, but that's a whole different type of nervous.

If I go to Technorati and search  (Technorati: Search for all marketers are liars) I find more than 200 different published opinions about the book. instantly. For free. This is before the book even ships!

Are you doing this for your products? Your issues?

No, the blogosphere isn't always right (it's only right when it agrees with you, of course). But there's so much feedback, and much of it is in great detail. Technorati announced today that they just added blog #10,000,000 to the pile. You can filter out the junk and you'll still be left with relevant insights that you can take action on.

A friend who is a senior Bizdev person at one of the big TV networks was delighted when I told her about the ability to to turn the megaphone backwards. Worth a look.

Affiliate sales of Knock Knock

I posted my new ebook yesterday (Knock Knock), and I'm totally blown away by the response. Who knew? Thanks for your incredibly quick ordering skills!

If you want to make some money on the ebook, the Payloadz affiliate program will pay you half of what you get... quick cash for your blog if you're interested. Here are the details: PayLoadz - Sell Digital Goods with PayPal.

Everybody has a doppelganger

DoppelAnd now the Net makes it easy to find yours. Thanks to Ben Tanen for the link:

'I had to wait in a line to use the public toilet'.

Seth's New eBook is ready

KnockMy new ebook is ready.

It’s called KNOCK KNOCK, Seth Godin’s Incomplete Guide to Building a Web Site That Works. It costs $9 and you can buy a copy by clicking this handy button:

NO LONGER FOR SALE: Free here.

Yes, it costs $9, or you can get it for free. Actually, you can get it for free two ways.

You can get it for free by purchasing two copies of my new book from 800 CEO READ. If you call them (I’ll give you one guess what their phone number is) or order it online, they’ll send you a secret URL where you can get the 41 page ebook at no charge. Get the book here: 800CEOREAD.com - All Marketers Are Liars. Alas, this offer doesn't apply if you bought the book somewhere else or because of any other technicality you can dream up. If you want the ebook for free, then you need to buy two copies of LIARS starting now... they'll send you the secret link.

You an also get it for free if you wait until September, when I post it on my site. But that’s a very long time to wait, isn’t it?

So, to review the bidding:

Get the book for free by buying two copies of LIARS:

800CEOREAD.com - All Marketers Are Liars

 

Hostage to the fans (and the bureaucracy)

EbaylogoRamit Sethi points me to: New eBay Stores Logo.

This is astonishing big company doubletalk. First, that they'd change the logo at all, second that they'd study it so much, third that they'd bother telling anyone about it, and last that they'd write this much.

Talk about being afraid (of criticism). Here's the riff:

eBay Stores is getting a whole new look! We will soon be replacing the existing eBay Stores logo with a new eBay Stores logo. The change will take effect on the U.S. eBay site in June and on all international eBay sites in July.

The new logo is made up of the eBay logo and the word "stores" in a new, professional-looking, easy-to-read typeface. It is followed by a graphic of an open door, layered on top of multiple doors.

 

The decision to redesign the eBay Stores logo was based on Community feedback and extensive buyer and seller research that was done during the past year, where we found that that existing red tag logo inaccurately reflected what an eBay Store is today. With this in mind, we decided it was time to replace the "red tag" logo with a new brand identity that better reflects what Store sellers and buyers tell us is a key part of their Stores experience: opportunity, trust and convenience.

We understand that this new symbol for eBay Stores can be interpreted in many ways. Our interpretation is that the logo communicates openness and trust, inviting shoppers to come inside and take a look. For sellers, it means opportunity to build and grow your business on eBay and for buyers the convenient opportunity to find the items that you've been looking for. Finally, the multiple doors represent the many businesses that make up the eBay Stores community. We hope that this will resonate well with existing eBay buyers and sellers as well as visitors who first come to eBay.

We recognize that the upcoming change may cause disruption to your business as you start to incorporate the new logo into your eBay listings and Store. Please be assured that we received and incorporated input from many eBay community members before making the decision to change the logo. To ease the transition for existing eBay Stores sellers, we are providing the new logos for you to download so that you can begin updating any printed materials, listings or other collateral pieces well in advance of the change.

Is Steve Jobs a hero?

I meant it in the greek sense, not the sports one.

See the interview here: Apple Matters.

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