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

The complete list of online retailers

Bonus stuff!

or click on a title below to see the list


All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing




Free Prize Inside

The practical sequel to Purple Cow





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




Meatball Sundae

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



Permission Marketing

The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.



Poke The Box

The latest book, Poke The Box is a call to action about the initiative you're taking - in your job or in your life, and Seth once again breaks the traditional publishing model by releasing it through The Domino Project.




Purple Cow

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



Small is the New Big

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



Survival is Not Enough

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




The Big Moo

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



The Big Red Fez

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




The Dip

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




The Icarus Deception

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





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




Unleashing the Ideavirus

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



V Is For Vulnerable

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




We Are All Weird

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



Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?

The sequel to Small is the New Big. More than 600 pages of the best of Seth's blog.



THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin

All Marketers Are Liars Blog

Blog powered by TypePad
Member since 08/2003

« April 2005 | Main | June 2005 »

The one and only

If your organization the only?

The only all-rock radio station in Hempstead?
The only organic bakery in Toledo?
The only church that offers its believers true salvation?
The only magazine that brings readers a particular type of story?
The only consultant that can teach people how to increase a certain type of productivity?

A few years ago, the walls of only started to crumble. I can buy organic bread online, or frozen, or pick some up at the Whole Foods Market. I can tune into music ten different ways. I can learn everything I want to learn without ever subscribing to a magazine ever again...

Only is very comforting. Only eliminates competition, provides price insulation and improves the status of my ego. Only, alas, is in short supply these days.

The challenge of being remarkable is being fast enough and brave enough to embrace the new, not just to rely on being the only.

How cool is this

Michael Duffy rates 2,767 winery web sites on effectiveness. He then sells a customized report to any winery that cares to pay for it.  Home Page - The Winery Web Site Report.

This is the new sort of non-fiction publishing model that is going to demolish the old one (at least from an economic point of view). At $500 a copy, the report is almost certainly worth the money. And at $500 a copy, a customized overview is also quite profitable for the author. And finally, at $500, it's an effective calling card that builds his business among a (very small but important to him) target market.

In an earlier time, you'd publish a book on the topic, wait a year for it to come out, reach 10% of the possible audience and lose money in the process. I love the idea that a big part of the report is customized. Not hard to do, worth a lot more.

PS I wonder if someone is doing wine labels, not just wine sites. Wine labels are as important as book covers.

Mark's probably right

Mark Ramsey knows way more about radio than I do. He points out that the stats I referred to about radio dying (above) aren't of high quality. Link: Radio Marketing Nexus: Shaky Statistics.

Okay, radio's not dying. But it's sick!

PS A friend told me about a interesting cultural distinction at Bloomberg (the media company, not the mayor). At most media companies, corrections are a pox, a bane on the reporter's (and editor's) existence. At Bloomberg, though, there's no shame in a correction. Correct early and often. Sounds like a good policy to me.

Radio's next

Slashdot | Radio Listening Declining w/ Digital On Its Way Up. Note that the number of listeners (not the hours, the actual number of people) is down 4% in one year. That's huge. Also note that online listening is up 10 million people.

Once satellite etc. is standard equipment in new cars, that's the last straw.

People will pay to control their media. They'll also pay for the long tail. They'll also pay to avoid commercials. 3 strikes...

Same people, different moment

It's easy to get hung up on demographics when you buy advertising. This is probably a mistake.

Consider this insight from Pamela Parker  (Lessons from the Cutting Edge: RSS Advertising.) "It turns out the ads on the site are geared toward an audience of people who are discovering the content -- product information -- via a search engine. Because these folks are at a certain, and very attractive, stage in the buying cycle, advertisers are willing to pay higher prices. Its feed subscribers, on the other hand, may or may not be in the same stage of the buying cycle -- they just happen to be interested in that category of product."

Short version: a person's receptiveness to an ad changes based on where they are and what they're doing. Google AdWords are brilliant for just this reason. People are trained to Google in order to go somewhere else. Most sites train people to come and to stay. Same thing is true with magazines.

Thanks to Tom Cohen for the link.

Do you judge a book by its cover?

CtacartI do.

It's a horrible habit, I admit it. But do I have any other choice? With 95,000 books published every year (in the USA alone), how on earth are you supposed to spend the time to read books with bad covers?

Of course, it's not just books. We judge magazines, restaurants, even people by their covers. (and especially web sites!) And as a result, we end up skipping great meals, not getting to know terrific people and missing all sorts of terrific opportunities as a result.

So, here's what I do about it:

1. I try to find things with lousy covers and go out of my way to check them out. If the herd is drawn to the obvious, flashy cover, then I'm not going to find insightful, rare information where everyone else is. The unique stuff is hiding.

2. I try to make covers that don't sabatoge the work. It's astonishing to me how many packages, jackets, labels, signs and outfits are chosen because they're safe, boring and invisible instead of for the only reason that matters--to sell the prospect on finding out what's inside.

If you have a web site

I hope you'll do two things.

First, wait patiently until Monday when I show you my new ebook about web pages and conversion.

Second, don't wait even one minute before checking out: Call To Action: How to Improve Your Conversion Rate. The authors sent me a copy a few weeks ago, but I was too busy writing my ebook to read this. A shame, because I could have stolen countless ideas from them. It's filled with all the facts and details and case studies that I was far too lazy to include in my ebook.

Despite the godawful cover, this book is an astonishing bargain. The book is straightforward and gives you direct, clear insight into what's wrong with your site and what to do about it. No fancy metaphors or engaging banter. Just the nuts and bolts and the facts to back them up.

I can't conceive of a website that won't benefit from the ideas inside. Still reading this blog? Stop! Go check out this book.

We and They

In March, Fred Wilson (a must read) posted an essay on companies that are either "we" or "they". You can find it here:  A VC: Apple Becomes a "They" Company.

The post created a lot of comments and trackbacks, and it just dawned on me what was missing for me.

I don't think We and They are absolutes. For example, if there were just one Starbucks in the world, and it was just down the street from you, you'd likely feel differently about "your" Starbucks than you feel about the entire chain. Why? "Your" Starbucks would be identical, but your feelings would change.

Same thing happens when Apple starts litigating against websites or bullying people writing add-ons to iTunes. It doesn't change your Mac, your user experience.

What changes is the story you tell yourself.

As everyone in the world becomes a marketing expert and a blogger, we're spending a lot more time thinking about the brands we deal with, the purchases we make and the we and the they. I want to argue that there's no such thing as we and they. What is really going on is that companies take actions that have nothing to do with the truth of your experience and everything to do with the way you feel about the experience. These actions (like Apple's suit against are the hood ornament, not the car.

And more often than not, those actions are somewhat trivial and very inexpensive. Once companies (and non-profits, for that matter, like churches or government agencies) become more aware of how important these hood ornaments are, I'm betting they'll get better at telling the story.

Almost a year ago...

Hugh Macleod posted gapingvoid: how to be creative (long version). It's worth reading again, especially if you missed it the first time.

The end of the cosmic jukebox

The other day, I found myself sitting next to Robert Klein at Spamalot. When I was a forlorn teenager, I would spend hours listening to his comedy albums. I memorized his ad for "every record ever recorded... we drive a truck to your house." I resisted temptation and did not recite it for him on Saturday (though I still know it by heart. "Lithuanian Language Records!")

For a long time, I figured that the inevitable was just about to happen. That every record ever recorded would find its way online and if you had a big enough hard drive, you could have them all.

Mark Fraunfelder at Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things points us to THE TOFU HUT where you can find a painstakingly created directory of hundreds of sites pointing to almost a million mp3s. All free.

I no longer believe you can have every record ever recorded. I now know for certain that by the time they drive a truck to your house, a thousand new records will be made.

When everybody can make everything, the amount of clutter reaches a whole new level. When everybody can make everything (Handmade custom Pez dispensers) then the whole idea of clutter at this level changes the way you need to think about supply and demand.

Warner Records is such an anachronism in a world with too much music.

What I learned at summer camp

My friend Tim dropped me a note, asking me if I had any tips as to where he might go to improve his public speaking. I was flattered that he asked, and then took a minute to think about where I learned how to speak in public.

Answer?  Camp Arowhon.

Wait, there's more. I also learned marketing there.

My summer camp was a marketplace (a loud one). Everyone had to do something, but what you did was up to you. So the canoeing instructor (that was me) was always struggling with the sailing instructor (that was Mike) and the others to get people to come to our dock. If no one came, you were a failure and you didn't get asked back.

I discovered that:
1. No one cared about me. They didn't care about how hard I'd trained, how little I'd slept or how much effort I was putting into my job.
2. People were rarely willing to try something new. If they'd never done it, they didn't want to start any time soon.
3. Word of mouth was electric.
4. You didn't get many chances to screw up.

The biggest and best discovery, though, was how willing people (even sullen teenagers, which if you think selling to cranky purchasing agents is hard...) are to suspend disbelief. One week, I persuaded 300 people that Paul McCartney was coming to visit, checking the place out for his daughter. It was only at the last minute, when a friend of mine, impersonating Sir Paul, fell out of the approaching motorboat and was (allegedly) mangled by the spinning rotor that people figured out that it wasn't really him.

My point, and I do have one, is that marketing is a show, a Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney entertainment designed to satisfy wants, not needs. We need to take it a lot less seriously (even if we're marketing Social Security fixes or a world religion) at the same time that we take more risks. If you're not growing now, playing it safe isn't going to help you grow tomorrow.

My advice was Tim is the same advice I've got for you, whether you're speaking or running ads. Be fearless. (but wear a lifejacket.)

public service announcement

[Update: I wrote this post in 2005. I have no idea what the company is like today, and wouldn't presume to tell you one way or the other. You should consult more current sources. The interesting thing is that three years later, this post is the #2 match in Google for the term Skycasters. That means that the way you and your company act today is going to be around for a long, long time. Makes you think about the long term a bit more...]

One day, you might be considering installing Skycasters satellite internet access. (Satellite Internet DiRECWAY broadband satellite internet access satellite ISP by Skycasters.) It's possible that a google search as part of your due diligence would bring you to this posting.

If so, then it's worth the space it is taking up.


They provide a frustratingly slow connection. Far slower than their web page implies. They are no fun to work with.  Installation can be a hassle as well. Unless you live far away from any other alternative, you can do better. I just had them rip our service out.

This post not only shares my humble opinion with potential customers, but is a living example of how your customers can spread the word about your products in a way that they never could before.


TiffanyEverything about this Tiffany's billboard at Grand Central is perfect.

No URL. No slogan. No USP or benefits or call to action.

Just a story... worth 1,000 words.


On Critics, Criticism and Remarkability

So, why haven’t you and your team launched as many Purple Cows as you’d like?


Not just the fear of failure. Fear of failure is actually overrated as an excuse. Why? Because if you work for someone, then more often than not, the actual cost of the failure is absorbed by the organization, not you. If your product launch fails, they’re not going to fire you. The company will make a bit less money and will move on.

What people are afraid of isn’t failure. It’s blame. Criticism.

We don’t choose to be remarkable because we’re worried about criticism. We hesitate to create innovative movies, launch new human resource initiatives, design a menu that makes diners take notice or give an audacious sermon because we’re worried, deep down, that someone will hate it and call us on it.

“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!” “What a waste of money.” “Who’s responsible for this?”

Sometimes, the criticism doesn’t even have to be that obvious. The fear of, “I’m surprised you launched this without doing more research…” is enough to get many people to do a lot more research, to study something to death and then kill it. Hey, at least you didn’t get criticized.

Fear of criticism is a powerful deterrent because the criticism doesn’t actually have to occur for the fear to set in. Watch a few people get criticized for being innovative and it’s pretty easy to persuade yourself that the very same thing will happen to you if you’re not careful.

Constructive criticism, of course, is a terrific tool. If a critic tells you that, “I don’t like it,” or “this is disappointing,” he’s done no good at all. In fact, quite the opposite is true. He’s used his power to injure without giving you any information to help you to do better next time. Worse, he hasn’t given those listening any data to make a thoughtful decision on their own. Not only that, but by refusing to reveal the basis for his criticism, he’s being a coward, because there’s no way to challenge his opinion.

I admit it. When I get a bad review, my feelings are hurt. After all, it would be nice if a critic said a title of mine was a breakthrough, an inspirational, thoughtful book that explains how everything, from politics to wine, is marketed through stories.

But sometimes they don't. Which is just about enough to ruin your day. But this time, it didn’t. It didn’t because I realized what a badge of honor it is get a bit of shallow criticism. It means that I confounded expectations. That I didn’t deliver the sequel or the simple, practical guide that some expected. It means that in fact, I did something worth remarking on.

The lesson here is this: if I had written a boring book, there’d be no criticism. No conversations. The products and services that get talked about are the ones that are worth talking about.

So the challenge, as you contemplate your next opportunity to be boring or remarkable, is to answer these two and a half questions:

1.    “If I get criticized for this, will I suffer any measurable impacts? Will I lose my job, get hit upside the head with a softball bat or lose important friendships?” If the only side effect of the criticism is that you will feel bad about the criticism, then you have to compare that bad feeling with the benefits you’ll get from actually doing something worth doing. Being remarkable is exciting, fun, profitable and great for your career. Feeling bad wears off.

And then, once you’ve compared the two, and you’ve sold yourself on taking the remarkable path, answer this one:

2.    How can I create something that critics will criticize?

The Reviews are trickling in...

My new book (Seth Godin - Liar's Blog) comes out next week, and like it or not, it's getting reviewed.

Here are a few you might want to check out.

800-CEO-READ Blog: BOOK REVIEW: All Marketers Are Liars.

Joi Ito's Web: All Marketers Are Liars.

Link: 800-CEO-READ Blog: Jack Covert Selects--All Marketers are Liars.

An interview: gapingvoid: e-mail exchange with seth godin

And, as usual, Publishers Weekly weighed in with a review that wasn't, hmmm, quite as rewarding. Here are quotes from four of PW's reviews of my books over the years. See if you can match the quote to the book.

"A slapdash mix of insight, jargon, common sense, inspiration and hooey"

"As a result the book is fiery, but not entirely cohesive; at times it resembles a stream-of-consciousness monologue."

"He lays the metaphors on a little thick."

"Readers will likely find the book's practical advice as rudderless as its ethical principles."

I will try to comfort myself by basking in their bad track record.

What Every Good Marketer Knows

“Godin reinforces what good marketers know.” The New York Times

I’m flattered! I wasn’t sure I knew what every good marketer knows. I guess I do now. But, assuming that you’re like me and the rest of the people I know (which means you haven't figured out everything there is to know about marketing yet), here’s a list to get you started.

I’m confident that the trackbacks below this post will show you what some of the great marketers out there would add to this list.

  • Anticipated, personal and relevant advertising always does better than unsolicited junk.

  • Making promises and keeping them is a great way to build a brand.

  • Your best customers are worth far more than your average customers.

  • Share of wallet is easier, more profitable and ultimately more effective a measure than share of market.

  • Marketing begins before the product is created.

  • Advertising is just a symptom, a tactic. Marketing is about far more than that.

  • Low price is a great way to sell a commodity. That’s not marketing, though, that’s efficiency.

  • Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.

  • Products that are remarkable get talked about.

  • Marketing is the way your people answer the phone, the typesetting on your bills and your returns policy.

  • You can’t fool all the people, not even most of the time. And people, once unfooled, talk about the experience.

  • If you are marketing from a fairly static annual budget, you’re viewing marketing as an expense. Good marketers realize that it is an investment.

  • People don’t buy what they need. They buy what they want.

  • You’re not in charge. And your prospects don’t care about you.

  • What people want is the extra, the emotional bonus they get when they buy something they love.

  • Business to business marketing is just marketing to consumers who happen to have a corporation to pay for what they buy.

  • Traditional ways of interrupting consumers (TV ads, trade show booths, junk mail) are losing their cost-effectiveness. At the same time, new ways of spreading ideas (blogs, permission-based RSS information, consumer fan clubs) are quickly proving how well they work.

  • People all over the world, and of every income level, respond to marketing that promises and delivers basic human wants.

  • Good marketers tell a story.

  • People are selfish, lazy, uninformed and impatient. Start with that and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.

  • Marketing that works is marketing that people choose to notice.

  • Effective stories match the worldview of the people you are telling the story to.

  • Choose your customers. Fire the ones that hurt your ability to deliver the right story to the others.

  • A product for everyone rarely reaches much of anyone.

  • Living and breathing an authentic story is the best way to survive in an conversation-rich world.

  • Marketers are responsible for the side effects their products cause.

  • Reminding the consumer of a story they know and trust is a powerful shortcut.

  • Good marketers measure.

  • Marketing is not an emergency. It’s a planned, thoughtful exercise that started a long time ago and doesn’t end until you’re done.

  • One disappointed customer is worth ten delighted ones.

Obviously, knowing what to do is very, very different than actually doing it.

[irony alert: since the inspiration for this post has been misinterpreted a couple of times, I wanted to clarify: the New York Times wasn't trying to be nice when they said what they said... even though it seems nice to you and me, they didn't mean it that way. And this list didn't appear in the Times, it was inspired by their attempt to be snide. Thank you.]

The New Digital Divide

A few years ago, pundits were quite worried about the Digital divide.The short definition is that the haves would have reliable, fast access to the Net, which would give them employment and learning opportunities that others wouldn't be able to get. This would further divide those with a head start from everyone else. Wiring the schools in the US was one response to the threat of this divide.

I think a new divide has opened up, one that is based far more on choice than on circumstance. Several million people (and the number is growing, daily) have chosen to become the haves of the Internet, and at the same time that their number is growing, so are their skills.

The New Digital Divide
The Digerati The Left Behind
Uses Firefox Uses Internet Explorer
Knows who Doc Searls
Already has a doctor, thanks
very much
Uses RSS Reader RSS?
Has a blog Reads blogs (sometimes)
Reads BoingBoing
(or Slashdot)
Watches the Tonight Show
Bored with Flickr Flickr?
Gets news from Google Gets news from Peter Jennings

Does it surprise you that more than half of the hundreds of thousands of Boing Boing readers use Firefox? That's about five times the number you'd expect. It turns out that a lot of these tech-friendly behaviors come in bunches. Someone who has a few of these behaviors is likely to have most of them. (and no, this is by no means a complete list. I'm sure the blog community will find twenty others and post them in a day or two!)

So what? Why should you care if a bunch of nerds are learning a lot of cool new stuff?

Well, five years ago, geeks pretty much kept to themselves. They'd be sitting in IRC chat, or arguing about Unix vs. Linux, but it didn't spread very fast and it didn't influence the rest of the world outside the tech community.

Today, though, the Net is far more robust and far more ubiquitous than it used to be. And it's bloggers who are setting the agenda on everything from politics to culture. It's bloggers that journalists and politicians look to as the first and the loudest.

As a result, your most-connected, most influential customers are part of the digerati. They can make or break your product, your service or even your religion's new policies. Because the Net is now a broadcast (and a narrowcast) medium, the digerati can spread ideas.

The second thing to keep in mind is that the digerati are using the learning tools built into the Net to get smarter, faster. A new Net tool can propogate to millions in just a week or two. Unlike the old digital divide, this means that the divide between the digerati and the rest of the world is accelerating.

So, it's choice time. Several of my colleagues (tompeters! being a notable example) are jumping in with both feet. Others take a look at the headstart and decide that it's just too much work.

Try to imagine doing your work today without email. It's inconceivable. I think the tools of the digerati are going to be just as essential in just a moment or two. You can wait until Microsoft issues them all as a dumbed down package, but if you do, you'll not only miss the texture and understanding that comes from learning as you go, but you'll always be trying to catch up.

I can't decide if I'm really an us or a them. I've got all the tools above, but it's still hard work. The good news, though, is that you won't break anything if you try these new tools and commit yourself to understanding the new digerati. Better hurry, though, because they won't wait for you.

It's national tell-a-friend-about-blogs week!

Here at Seth's Blog, we have no pledge drives, no advertisements, no product placement. Instead, every once in a while, I ask you to tell a friend (actually to tell ten friends) about blogs in general, about RSS and about your favorite blogs in particular.

Well, it's national tell-a-friend-about-blogs week, and to celebrate, I've posted a bunch of provocative starter links below.

Now it's your turn. If you've got a blog, why not put up a post encouraging your readers to participate in national tell-a-friend-about-blogs week? And if you don't, how about sending an email to ten colleagues (just ten, no need to be greedy) and introduce them to your favorite blogs.

And no, I have no idea if there are special foods that are traditionally served during the celebration of national tell-a-friend-about-blogs week.

Seth's favorite blog posts, part II

It's too hard to keep up with blogs. Too many posts, too little time, too much worthless blather.

So, here's the best of list from the beginning of the year: Seth's Blog: The Best Posts of 2005 (so far... 10 weeks, 10 posts).

And here, based on reader feedback, are the most resonant posts since then. Feel free to tell your friends.

Link: Seth's Blog: Thinking about the Long Tail (part 1).

Link: Seth's Blog: Think about parsley.

Link: Seth's Blog: Godin's Leveraged Effort Curve.

Link: Seth's Blog: REAL--Compared to what? The Pale Imitation.

Link: Seth's Blog: What's the always?.

Link: Seth's Blog: Race for the top, race to the bottom.

Link: Seth's Blog: I bet you think this post is about you.

Link: Seth's Blog: Nouns and verbs.

Link: Seth's Blog: Things that change.

Link: Seth's Blog: Playing by (and losing by) the rules.


Douglas O'Bryon sent his new blog over.

Link: Digital Casserole.

WHAT I BELIEVE: I believe in the power of a single idea. A single good idea, anyway. Frankly, there’s just not a lot of power in a single bad idea, like scheduling “Bat Day” when the Red Sox play at Yankee Stadium. I believe in long, slow downloads that last 3 days. I believe in the designated driver, the fungo bat, and keeping words like gazebo and zamboni around just because they’re fun to say. I believe in naps but not Napster.(more..)

TED in the UK

I'll be going to TED in July, and I thought you might be interested. Here's the agenda and a link.

TEDGLOBAL July 12-15, Oxford,  UK.

"Ideas Big Enough to Change the World"

TUESDAY, July 12

Session 1 (2:15 – 4:00): "Meme Power"
Richard Dawkins, the biologist behind the "Selfish Gene" and memes
Philippe Starck, internationally-known designer
Malcom Gladwell, bestselling author, "The Tipping Point" and "Blink"
Session 2 (4:45 – 6:30): "Big Picture"
Juan Enriquez, author, "How the Future Catches You"
Hans Ulrich Obrist, art curator


Session 3 (8:30 – 10:15): "Network Effect"
Niklas Zennström, co-founder of Kazaa and Skype
Clay Shirky, digital thinker
Joi Ito, Japanese über-blogger
Session 4 (11 – 12:45): "Bugged Minds"
Steven Pinker, evolutionary psychologist, author "How the Mind Works"
Dan Gilbert, Harvard psychologist and expert on happiness
Peter Donnelly, Oxford statistician and leading thinker on cognition

Session 5 (2:15 – 4): "Good Life"
Carl Honoré, author "In Praise of Slowness"
Barry Schwartz, author "The Paradox of Choice"

Session 6 (4:45 – 6:15): "This House Believes That…"
A special session taking place at the famous Oxford Union Debating Hall. A panel of speakers will debate a controversial and timely topic according that house's longtime rules, with the participation of the audience.

  THURSDAY, July 14

Session 7 (8:30 – 10:15): "Co-Op World"
Yochai Benkler, Yale law professor and author, "Sharing Nicely"
Jimmy Wales, founder of the Wikipedia
Zé Frank, unique Internet performance artist

Session 8 (11 – 12:45): "Ingenious Solutions"
Sasa Vucinic, not-for-profit venture capitalist and media visionary
Alex Steffen, founder of
Jacqueline Novogratz, pioneer of a new "market-based" philantrophy

Session 9 (2:15 – 4): "Body Genie"
Kari Stefansson, founder DeCode Genetics
Marko Ahtisaari, director of design strategy, Nokia
Aubrey De Grey, biomedical gerontologist

Session 10 (4:45- 6:30, public session): "Shared Future"
Craig Venter, genomics pioneer
Sir Martin Rees, cosmologist and futurist
Eve Ensler, playwright, "The Vagina Monologues"

FRIDAY, July 15

Session 11 (8:45 – 10:30): "Small Matters"
Paul Bennett, IDEO's top European design thinker
Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran, author, "Power to the People"
Steven Levitt, co-author, "Freakonomics"

Session 12 (11:15 – 1): "Long View"
William McDonough, sustainability architect
Tom Rielly, comedian
Peter Diamandis, founder X-Prize and NoGravity, air and space visionary

Link: TED Conference - Registration.

Use this coupon number to save $1,000 (outside the US): 1904855751_2

If it doesn't work, drop me a note and I'll send you one of my discount numbers.

Brownian motion at work

My friend Jeremy gave me a riff about Brownian motion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Brownian motion describes the random motion of a particle in liquid. Why random? Because a particle hits something and bounces off in a new direction. Do this often enough and it's basically impossible to predict what will happen next.

Brownian motion only occurs with particles that aren't very goal motivated. You probably know people like this. They start doing one thing, hit an obstacle and suddenly flop into a totally new direction.

Are your co-workers Brownian? How about your projects?

I bet you think this post is about you

Warren_beattyThe other day, my new friend Tucker told me that I was a, "massive egomaniac."

Aren't all bloggers?

What sort of ego do bloggers have? We spend the time and the energy and the money to post our opinions to the world, and we do it daily, or even hourly, often on topics on which we have no obvious authority...

Ego is the biggest reason that corporate blogging may be an oxymoron. Working for the man often means subsuming your ego to that of the organization, and blogging makes that difficult. It's one reason that there have been high profile firings of corporate bloggers at places like Google. It's hard to have two voices (the writer's and the shareholders') competing and often conflicting.

"Egomaniac", by the way, is the wrong word. I think that blogging requires you to have a healthy respect for your opinions, as well as the generous desire to share them with others. That's not a negative social trait... If you don't respect your opinions, who will? And if you don't want to share the ideas you admire, you're being selfish, aren't you?

Boring and successful means boring and cheap

The reason Carly had so much trouble at HP is that they were under too much pressure from Dell. If you're going to be the standard, you need to be boring. If you're boring, you've got to be cheap. Cheap and standard is what Dell does best, and I don't see how you can beat them at that game.

As the choices businesses and consumers become clear and easily comparable, you've got to either be different... or cheaper. Former Executive Bios: Carleton S. Fiorina.


More on talking ducks, priests and rabbis...

Rereading the post below about my vacation memo it's possible to imagine that this was a plea not to send me notes. No, that's exactly the opposite of what I was getting at. Have you ever noticed that almost everyone you know talks to you on the phone with the same set of rules? Same pauses, same volume, same conventions?

The word "hello" was invented by Thomas Edison as a gift for Alexander Graham Bell. Before "hello" there was no polite way to start a phone conversation (proper people were introduced, they didn't just greet each other). Edison took an exclamation and gave it a whole new meaning.

Which gets to the whole email/blog/comments thing. We still haven't figured it out yet. A lot of yellers out there. A lot of anonymous screamers. And some thoughtful, friendly, helpful folks as well. There are also well-meaning people who appear clueless to others because their particular approach to a medium doesn't match the approach they use.

Not a lot to do about it, just something to bear in mind as we all figure it out.

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