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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

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Member since 08/2003

« June 2005 | Main | August 2005 »

Inside and Outside

It's true. I rarely walk into a Starbucks without my laptop. Not because I need a laptop to enjoy Starbucks, but because I need a Starbucks to use the web.

I found myself with a few minutes to kill while a friend was shopping this weekend, and next thing I knew, I was in a Starbucks with no laptop. Totally different deal. Very zen.

Anyway, on the way in I overheard a conversation (okay, I was eavesdropping, but it was on your behalf). Three 20 somethings who worked at the fast food place next door were whining about their jobs. Two were talking about how horrible it was to "open." The third admitted that he liked to open, because then he didn't have to deal with the &#&$ customers. After about a minute of the detailed complaints, I had had enough and went inside.

Inside the Starbucks, the first thing I noticed, tucked deep in the corner, not for customer inspection, apparently, was a bulletin board. The bulletin board was jammed with pictures of the staff. The staff on a picnic. The staff at an amusement park. The staff kidding around.

That very same staff was working behind the counter. If it's possible to make an herbal tea with enthusiasm, they were doing it. If it's possible to make a $4 transaction feel joyful, they accomplished it.

Okay, the obvious thing here is that this is the Starbucks marketing effort, almost in its entirety. They don't advertise, they don't launch new products every day, but they are selling the way it makes you feel to purchase something there. And I have to tell you, it made me feel great.

The less obvious thing is that the folks behind the counter weren't making this up. It wasn't inauthentic. They had decided to enjoy their jobs, they were enjoying their jobs and it was helping not just Starbucks, but it helped them, too. All I had to do was glance out the window to see the difference.

I think there's a huge lesson here. Not just for marketers who sell interactions (that means everyone except for maybe commodity steel producers) but for employees too.


DoppeltedDo you believe in cosmic fate and coincidences?

You may recall that a few months ago, I posted the picture of someone who looked an awful lot like me (Seth's Blog: Everybody has a doppelganger) So much so that my wife thought it was my picture.

I had never heard of Robert--the picture came from a reader. And that was the end of that.

Until TED last week in Oxford. I entered the auditorium pretty late, and there was just one open seat. I "excused me"d my way to the center and sat down, in the dark. When the lights came up, I looked over to the person sitting next to me, and asked, "Have we met?"

It took us a few minutes, but, you guessed it, it was Robert.

So, was this an amazing coincidence? I mean, what are the chances? One picture posted of a twin in the history of my blog. One seat at Ted...

Of course, that's the wrong question.

There are a million places I could have had the amazing coincidence of meeting Robert. There are a million people who could have been in the seat next to me that would have amazed me.

It's only amazing when a coincidence occurs that you predicted BEFORE it happens. If it seems unlikely afterward, it's just your brain telling you a story. What are the odds of winning the lottery twice? The same as winning it once... IF you start keeping track after you've won the first time. The lottery doesn't know you already won the first time.

As for Robert, he is erudite, wicked smart and doing important work. It's flattering to be mistaken for him.

PS Nick Davis sends us this fabulous quote:

You know, the most amazing thing happened to me tonight. I was coming
here, on the way to the lecture, and I came in through the parking lot.
And you won't believe what happened. I saw a car with the license plate
ARW 357. Can you imagine? Of all the millions of license plates in the
state, what was the chance that I would see that particular one tonight?
    -- Richard Feynman
    -- From his undergraduate CalTech lectures, 1961

Thank you, Bob Cocksedge, for teaching all of us

I met the chief designer for Nokia at Ted. Marko is a great guy, but it was fascinating to watch the interactions he had with people. Every single person he met came up to him, pulled out a cellphone and began whining. Mostly, though, people didn't hate their phones. They hated their carrier.

I know. I hate T Mobile.

My annoyance at my carrier didn't decrease when I had to pay not once, but twice to buy a four day online pass to use the Net in my hotel. Sitting at the airport waiting to fly home, a few shekels left on my British phone card, I decided to take a whirl and called the hard-to-find customer service number for T Mobile, figuring I'd try to get a refund for the first $60 Net pass I purchased but that didn't work (Hah! I thought. Hah! I can hear you thinking).

Bob Cocksedge answered my call. On the third ring. He was intelligent, thoughtful, even kind. He apologized for taking a while, using their antiquated database. He never found the purchase, but he emailed me the contact info for his manager so I can submit the transaction number once I got my credit card info at home.

You've already guessed the lesson. It only took Bob a few minutes. It didn't cost T Mobile much of anything at all compared to leaving me on hold and then being rude to me. But for a tiny tiny fraction of the cost of one of those full page ads that they buy every day, T Mobile actually built their brand.

I've said it before--your call center is probably the single cheapest investment you can make in building your consumer or business to business brand among customers and motivated prospects.

Thanks, Bob, for reminding me.

Before you spend a lot of time and money on a logo

Before you go in circles trying to get those spirals just right...

go take a look at Logo Design by Pixellogo� - All Logo Designs.

I'm not proposing that you should spend $50 or whatever to buy a stock logo.

What I hope you'll see is that all a logo needs is to be GOOD ENOUGH (I know, I'm the guy who says good enough is a curse). Why is it okay to have a non-wonderful logo? Because the logo is just a placeholder. It gains value AFTER it hits the world, because people associate things with it.

Imagine a classroom in 1912 with kids named Elvis, Ronald, Margaret, Donald and  Madonna in it. You wouldn't know who to make fun of first. It seems as though the abstract quality of a name or a logo (both blank slates) is not as important as what you do with it.

This advice doesn't hold for non-abstract names or images, naturally. But those are worth less, in my humble opinion.

All that said, the logo for my secret summer project is truly awesome. Thanks, Aaron, for the inspired work. (I'll post the logo in early August, prolonging the tension as long as possible.)

No such thing as side effects

Barry Schwartz pointed out to me today that I shouldn't talk about side effects. Marketers who are inauthentic and shortsighted hide the side effects of their products from purchasers. This fraudulent behavior inevitably comes back to haunt. But Barry points out that these aren't side effects. There's only effects. When you make something or sell somthing, it affects the world around it. Some of those effects are things you want. The others, the negative ones, are unintended, but they are still real. These bad effects are just as important as the good ones. And smart marketers are honest about them.

More than twenty years...

SinkThat's how long it took after the invention of basketball for someone to realize that they should cut a hole in the bottom of the peach baskets.

Before that, you had to stop the game and get a ladder and get the ball out of the basket.

I wonder how long it will take for faucets in the UK to be able to generate warm (not cold or hot) water?

Any sinks where you work?

The rage of the copyeditor

Before a book gets published by a mainstream publisher, your editor will send it to a copyeditor. His job is to go through the manuscript and highlight errors in grammar, consistency and spelling.

I've worked with quite a few copyeditors in my time, and it's interesting to note how often they seem to get very angry.

Let's say you've written a 300 page book on packaged goods, and 32 times in the manuscript you've spelled "Procter & Gamble" as "Proctor and Gamble." The computer-friendly thing to do is leave a note at the front that says, "please do a global search and replace and fix it". Instead, copyeditor convention requires that each one be marked.

The first few marks are normal. But then, after five or six or seven corrections, the ink gets a little darker. It's almost as though the copyeditor is saying, "I've already corrected this SIX TIMES. WHY AREN'T YOU LISTENING??!"  By the end of the manuscript, the copyeditor's monologue has gone on so long, the anger has turned into rage.

With that in mind, I show you two pictures.

NocardsHere's the sign on a pub in Oxford. I imagine that at first there was a little sign that said, "no cards." But a few people tried to pay with cards anyway, so the sign got bigger. And then one or two people tried to pay with cards anyway. Eventually, it must have led to this.

Do you really think that yelling at his prospects is helping his business?

It's not my fault that the 5,000 people before me asked if they could use a credit card. Don't yell at me. Yell at them. Of course, they're not here!

Has the number of people asking to use a credit card gone down since the owner added AT ALL?

If your goal is to attract and acquire new customers, yelling appears to be a silly strategy.

Compare this to a sign at the beautiful Museum of Natural History just down the street.


the best powerpoint of the month

I work really hard at my powerpoints, but there's a new champ.

I just saw Ze Frank (Link: ze's page) at TED. He pointed to New FAA National Wildlife/Bird Strike Database ON-LINE. Make sure you check out the Badger listings.

If you ever get a chance, find him. Beautiful.

Seth's new car (you can help make it real)

So, the #1 cause of death among teenagers in the developed world is the car.

You can get hit by a car, but you're more likely to die driving a car or being a passenger in a car driven by a friend. Many boomers have teenagers or are about to. And boomers, as we know, intend to live forever, expect to have their families live forever, and are often happy to pay to ensure that this actually happens.

So, here's what we need: A car for teenagers.

It is, after all, a matter of life and death.

A car for teenagers is very different than a car for everyone else. The biggest reason is that a car for teenagers is rarely purchased by a teenager, so a third party (probably the parent) has a lot of leverage over what the car actually does.

So, what does a parent want?
Low powered
Great gas mileage (more cheap)

And a teenager?

Funky looking
Allows easy attachment/customization of side panels
Not embarrassing!

Requires breathalyzer test to start
Easy to set, hard to hack speed limiter
Constant GPS reporting via wimax or cellphone, allowing the owner of the car to see where it is
Location lock out, making it easy for the owner to set the range of the vehicle or the roads traveled

[bonus added later: locks out texting or cell phone calling when the car is moving]

All this technology is easy to sync by computer or phone

Lots of airbags
ID card key making it easy to charge the driver per use, treat different drivers differently, including usage time.

Obviously, this goes against everything that the US-Marlboro-Man-wild-west-transport-equals-freedom-equals-macho-equals-personal-responsibility meme that is at the heart of the US car market. So what? There are already plenty of cars that fit right into that mental model. Like a 1964.5 Mustang with original pony interior. Fine! If a 17 year old wants to buy one of those, she can.

But it's easy to imagine, isn't it, that boomers would buy 50,000 of these $20,000 cars every year? That's a billion dollars a year! So why don't we have one yet? I think it's because the worldview of Detroit and the rest of the car industry is very much about incremental improvement of technology combined with surface styling innovation, not about reinventing what people might discover that they very much want.

So, if you know someone in the car business, tell them I'm ready to order one in 2011. In purple.

Stuck (with a bump on the head)

Steven Levitt spoke at TED today. He told the story of the car seats, and it's worth a quick rehash.

Turns out that car seats for kids over 2 are no more effective than seat belts. The data is unequivocal on this. (see a quick clip at Freakonomics)

So if it's so clear, and if it means that Americans are wasting $300 million a year on car seats, what's going on?

Why is it that in New York State it's a crime to put a six year old in the backseat of your car with just a seatbelt? A crime!

Why is it that when I passed a motorist strapping his four year old into the back of his BMW in London yesterday, I almost stopped and yelled at him? Or at least gently pointed out the safety problem?

It goes to stories. It feels like you're doing something smart and thoughtful and caring for your child. The effort gives the parent peace of mind and joy. The government gets to pass a law that seems cheap and caring. Everyone conspires to do the wasteful thing because of the story it allows us to tell ourselves.

« June 2005 | Main | August 2005 »