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SETH'S BOOKS

Seth Godin has written 12 bestsellers that have been translated into 33 languages

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all.marketers.tell.stories

All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing

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free.prize.inside

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.

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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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« August 2005 | Main | October 2005 »

Not what I thought he was going to say

Hugh sent me over this very thoughtful (and kind) post: gapingvoid: there is no "purple cow 2.0".

From the headline, what I thought it was going to say was,

Sequels are rarely purple.

Once you've got a Purple Cow, you usually end up milking it, riding it as it enters the mainstream. The danger is believing that as you improve it and add features and create v 2.0, you're making it more purple. More likely, of course, you're not.

Diane Von Furstenberg's first wrap dress was a Purple Cow. The 5,000 varieties she followed up with, the sequels, were profitable but not remarkable. Only when you jump your comfort zone and build the next new thing do you have a shot at the next Cow.

Feature Creep

Badrinath points us to a riff from Jason about features, customers and creep: Getting Real: Forget feature requests - Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals).

Yes, we got our uniforms

HeathuniformHere's Heath, modeling the new Squidoo uniform, via Crooked Brook. You gotta love it.

(see On Uniforms)

Marriott's new bed

MarriottMarriott is launching a new bed to catch up with Westin, etc. in the race for tired business travelers.

Naturally, they're launching the campaign with tragically ineffective airport billboard advertising (does it ever work?) and a campaign that makes very little sense to me.

Instead of telling a story that the traveler wants to believe (that they will be filled with energety and ready to go after sleeping in the bed), the ads show model-perfect athletes... far too perfect to be believable.

But here's the real question: why are the basketball player and the runner black, while the gymnast and the swimmer are white? See all four of them lined up at LaGuardia and it screams, "stereotype." We have a long way to go, and these ads are more evidence of same.

The end of Akron, part I, stale bread

I just got back from giving a talk to a great group in Akron, OH.

The city is near death.

I haven't consulted any almanacs or economic factbooks, and I'm sure I'll hear from the mayor soon, but you can see it.

Someone at the conference explained to me that when you go to one of these events, you never leave the hotel anyway. That the hotel room, the lobby, the ballroom and the restaurant are all the same.

Nonsense.

It starts with the bread they serve at dinner. The people in the restaurant have given up. The bread (on a Thursday!) is stale. The chefs don't care about what they're doing, and the waiters don't care about their customers. The people I encountered (more than a dozen), were, with just one exception, beaten. Stooped shoulders and sad eyes, they've given up.

This wouldn't matter to you, except I saw precisely the same behavior at a dot com company I visited in NY earlier this week. The same look of failure, the same feeling of impending, slow, inexorable doom.

A few minutes later, I had another meeting and it was completely different. The attitude, at a company in essentially the same business, couldn't have been more different. The answer to every question was "why not?" instead of "why?"

Marketing isn't done by computers, it's done by people. And people who sense opportunity and have the confidence to be remarkable will always defeat defensive actions by people who have given up.

The end of Akron, part II, football

Driving to Akron for my talk, I had the chance to hear a great speech on public radio. It was one of those local things where they broadcast from a club for local leaders. The guest was the lawyer instrumental in keeping the Cleveland Browns football team in Cleveland.

Quick background: About ten years ago, the Browns' owner, Art Modell, up and announced he was going to Baltimore. Did the entire deal in secret and left in the middle of the night. There was a huge uproar and lobbying, protests, Congressional hearings and more. The city, in conjunction with the NFL, ended up building a stadium that cost the city more than $300 million and the NFL chipped in with a new team.

It turns out that virtually every one of the 170 plus pro sports teams in the US has a newish stadium, and that those buildings have cost more than $25 billion to build... with most of it paid for by taxpayers. And it turns out that almost none of them pay off, that they are impossible to justify by economic analysis.

The lesson: Having a football team is meaningless.

What matters is losing a team or gaining a team.

If Cleveland had lost its team, the morale of the city, even non-fans, would have been devestated. But Buffalo has and keeps its team and it doesn't matter a bit.

When Tennessee got a team, it was a huge shot in the arm to the story the region tells itself.

Organizations of all stripes have the football problem (and opportunity). Launching a brand (or shuttering it), opening an office, doing a layoff--all of these events change the story stakeholders tell themselves. And the story has little to do with the economic reality and everything to do with self-image.

Keep the change...

Rick Liebling writes and reminds me of a pet peeve. He stopped at the Cinnabon in Penn Station and his treat came to $3.03 with tax. Now, he has to hassle looking for change, or break a bill, and the store has to hassle with breaking the bill and shlepping lots of pennies to and from the bank. In the long run, they may even need to hire another clerk because productivity is hit.

How does this happen?

Well, it's because the price is set by corporate, I guess. And corporate doesn't know or care what NY State tax is. And it's too hard for them to think it through.

But do you know what's really hard? And what would work better?

They ought to RAISE the price on everything in store a few pennies. Then they should teach their clerks to always round off the pennies. So if a check comes to $5.05, the clerk says, "don't worry about the nickel."

Don't worry about the nickel!

Can you imagine? Would that make your day or what? A little free prize that makes you feel way better about a $5.00 fat and calorie bomb that you could make at home for fifty cents.

Expectation and surprise virtually always trump reality.

Gillette ups the ante, unveils 5-blade razor - U.S. Business - MSNBC.com

Thanks, Dave, for the link: Gillette ups the ante, unveils 5-blade razor - U.S. Business - MSNBC.com.

There are so many things I want to say, so many pithy connections to my past writing. But I won't. You can just sit there and sigh.

UPDATE FROM THE GROUP OF 9 (yes, nine). Nine readers wrote to commend you to this not quite office safe article from The Onion almost a year and a half ago. Thanks, guys.

Commentary on customers, or the web?

Mark Hurst posts a winner.

Nyt91405
Link: This Is Broken - NYT pointer to website.

Bureaucracy = Death

So, we learn today that the F.A.A. was Alerted on Qaeda in '98, 9/11 Panel Said - New York Times. Cockpit door locks would have saved thousands of lives.

A good friend is speaking at a major philanthropy conference and the organizers won't permit him to distribute a one page flyer about his organization. They are "too busy" to approve it.

Gave a talk to a pharma company last week, and the marketers there are wringing their hands because of the sea change in the way people view their work. No, they're not evil. Yes, the mindless bureaucracy continued to grind out products and ads and policies that weren't in anyone's best interest.

The victims of New Orleans know firsthand what happens when a large bureaucracy with lots of money and not enough responsibility fails to action when it should.

And what does all this have to do with marketing?

Easy.

Very little remarkable comes out of bureaucracies for a simple reason. The members of the bureaucracy seek to be beyond reproach. Reproach is their nightmare, their enemy, the thing to avoid at all costs. And the remarkable feels like a risk.

Here's an idea I wrote about in a book a long time ago:

Appoint a CNO—chief no officer. No longer can someone say no to an idea and leave it at that. If you want to turn something down, you’ve got to pass it on to your boss. Then either he says yes or gives it to his boss. For a "no" to be official, it’s got to be approved by the chief no officer and countersigned by every manager along the way.

So, what would have happened if the FAA or FEMA had a CNO? Who would have had the guts to turn down cockpit door locks if saying "no" meant the idea would go upstairs?

And what happens to any organization that creates a culture where maintaining the status quo requires your boss to give you the okay?

Of course, it's not this simple. But the very act of talking about it helps people focus on what's killing their organization. I don't care if you're in radio, packaged goods, organized religion or an online merchant. If you're not saying yes to change, you're slowly losing whatever race you happen to be in.

« August 2005 | Main | October 2005 »