Don't Miss a Thing
Free Updates by Email

Enter your email address

preview  |  powered by FeedBlitz

RSS Feeds

Share |

Facebook: Seth's Facebook
Twitter: @thisissethsblog





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

« July 2006 | Main | September 2006 »

Product placement isn't enough

Stephen points us to: YouTube - Cancelling Comcast. More and more short form videos are showing up (some, like this one, not particularly funny). My bet: more video content for "broadcast" was created for YouTube last week than by all the TV networks, combined. And it's only going to increase.

(Many thanks for the product placement, though!)

8 million millionaires

According to one report, there are more than 8 million millionaires in the US. Even if you don't count real estate, it's still more than 3 million.

Of course, having a million dollars isn't what it used to be, but consider the fact that the average household in the US has $8,000 in credit card debt and you see a chasm. Both sides of the chasm are waiting to hear from you.

There are lines of private jets waiting to get into Nantucket airport (80% of private flights are now for personal use, says the Times) at the same time there are people living off home equity loans. Weird stuff.

Quick lingo

Learning the terms is half the battle. Stephanie has a free ebook (left column) on her blog that's well worth the money: The Marketing Message Blog.


Ask Anna Wintour what makes a good article for Vogue, and she'll answer you in a heartbeat. She won't think about it or consider the question carefully... she just knows, by reflex.

A few years ago, Cubby Broccoli figured out the formula for how to make a James Bond movie. Once he confirmed he had something that worked, the formula became a reflex for him and his team.

Of course, it's not just media reflexes. Ask a scientist a question and her reflex is to give you an answer that relies on her area of specialty. Sort of that, "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail..." thing.

One web designer I know loves rollovers. Another abhors them. By reflex, when solving a design problem, they go with their strength. Every time.

There are macro-reflexes, like the temptation to spend money to build a new brand. And there are micro-reflexes, like the desire to scrawl notes on a legal pad whenever you're at a seminar.

Consumers have reflexes, too. The reflex to just hang up on a telemarketer. The reflex to believe an ad if it looks official enough. The reflex to ignore whatever we hear on the radio.

Reflexology is critically important in living our lives and doing our jobs. Without a reflex answer, an innate instinct of what to do, you'd have to spend all your time starting over. We'd never get to read another Parker novel. And being a cop or a fireman would be essentially impossible.

You already know where I'm going with this, because as a reader of my blog you've developed a reflex that kicks in about this far in a post. The reflex, of course, has a downside.

The downside is that your reflex, the one that often gets you out of a jam, is exactly the same reflex that makes you stale. It's exactly the same reflex that keeps you from seeing the obvious solution that you didn't notice.

One reason newbies succeed so often in fast-changing markets is that they don't have a reflex! They don't get the benefits of the reflex, but they also are able to see what you can't.

Do you have a hammer? What's it look like?

The Pre-Steal

So, I'm having tequilas with Harry Harrison (Soylent Green) in about 1985, in a revolving restaurant in Cambridge, MA. Actually, he's drinking, I'm babysitting. "I don't speak to Michael Crichton," he slurs.

"Really? Why not?" I ask.

"Well, I actually don't know him and have never met him, but I'm still not speaking to him. He stole my idea and turned it into the Andromeda Strain," says Harry.

[A huge bestseller and big movie too]

"Harry," I ask, "How did Crichton get your idea?" I was busy imagining that they shared an agent or something.

"Oh, he didn't. It's just that a month before his book came out, I started thinking about this cool idea, and just after I finished the first chapter... boom. A pre-steal!"

They happen all the time, and for a really good reason. Ideas are a product of their time.

Polkas, Pyrotechnics and Point D

First it was early peeks at Freakonomics and the Long Tail and Tom Peters and Malcolm Gladwell. I'm delighted that ChangeThis now has a free Small is the New Big excerpt available today. Even if you've read some of my stuff before, I bet you'll find other manifestos at ChangeThis that you'll sit up and notice.

Soap that turns your hands black

Tim Manners points us to:  Training Soap for Little Squids.

I love the fact that the inventor realized that two steps back may very well lead to one big step forward.

Advice for authors

It happened again. There I was, meeting with someone who I thought had nothing to do with books or publishing, and it turns out his new book just came out.

With more than 75,000 books published every year (not counting ebooks or blogs), the odds are actually pretty good that you've either written a book, are writing a book or want to write one.

Hence this short list:

  1. Lower your expectations. The happiest authors are the ones that don't expect much.
  2. The best time to start promoting your book is three years before it comes out. Three years to build a reputation, build a permission asset, build a blog, build a following, build credibility and build the connections you'll need later.
  3. Pay for an eidtor editor. Not just to fix the typos, but to actually make your ramblings into something that people will choose to read. I found someone I like working with at the EFA. One of the things traditional publishers used to do is provide really insightful, even brilliant editors (people like Fred Hills and Megan Casey), but alas, that doesn't happen very often. And hiring your own editor means you'll value the process more.
  4. Understand that a non-fiction book is a souvenir, just a vessel for the ideas themselves. You don't want the ideas to get stuck in the book... you want them to spread. Which means that you shouldn't hoard the idea! The more you give away, the better you will do.
  5. Don't try to sell your book to everyone. First, consider this: " 58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school." Then, consider the fact that among people even willing to buy a book, yours is just a tiny little needle in a very big haystack. Far better to obsess about a little subset of the market--that subset that you have permission to talk with, that subset where you have credibility, and most important, that subset where people just can't live without your book.
  6. Resist with all your might the temptation to hire a publicist to get you on Oprah. First, you won't get on Oprah (if you do, drop me a note and I'll mention you as the exception). Second, it's expensive. You're way better off spending the time and money to do #5 instead, going after the little micromarkets. There are some very talented publicists out there (thanks, Allison), but in general, see #1.
  7. Think really hard before you spend a year trying to please one person in New York to get your book published by a 'real' publisher. You give up a lot of time. You give up a lot of the upside. You give up control over what your book reads like and feels like and how it's promoted. Of course, a contract from Knopf and a seat on Jon Stewart's couch are great things, but so is being the Queen of England. That doesn't mean it's going to happen to you. Far more likely is that you discover how to efficiently publish (either electronically or using POD or a small run press) a brilliant book that spreads like wildfire among a select group of people.
  8. Your cover matters. Way more than you think. If it didn't, you wouldn't need a book... you could just email people the text.
  9. If you have a 'real' publisher (#7), it's worth investing in a few things to help them do a better job for you. Like pre-editing the book before you submit it. Like putting the right to work on the cover with them in the contract. And most of all, getting the ability to buy hundreds of books at cost that you can use as samples and promotional pieces.
  10. In case you skipped it, please check #2 again. That's the most important one, by far.
  11. Blurbs are overrated, imho.
  12. Blog mentions, on the other hand, matter a lot.
  13. If you've got the patience, bookstore signings and talking to book clubs by phone are the two lowest-paid but most guaranteed to work methods you have for promoting a really really good book. If you do it 200 times a year, it will pay.
  14. Consider the free PDF alternative. Some have gotten millions of downloads. No hassles, no time wasted, no trying to make a living on it. All the joy, in other words, without debating whether you should quit your day job (you shouldn't!)
  15. If you want to reach people who don't normally buy books, show up in places where people who don't usually buy books are. Media places, virtual places and real places too.
  16. Most books that sell by the truckload sell by the caseload. In other words, sell to organizations that buy on behalf of their members/employees.
  17. Publishing a book is not the same as printing a book. Publishing is about marketing and sales and distribution and risk. If you don't want to be in that business, don't! Printing a book is trivially easy. Don't let anyone tell you it's not. You'll find plenty of printers who can match the look and feel of the bestselling book of your choice for just a few dollars a copy. That's not the hard part.
  18. Bookstores, in general, are run by absolutely terrific people. Bookstores, in general, are really lousy businesses. They are often where books go to die. While some readers will discover your book in a store, it's way more likely they will discover the book before they get to the store, and the store is just there hoping to have the right book for the right person at the time she wants it. If the match isn't made, no sale.
  19. Writing a book is a tremendous experience. It pays off intellectually. It clarifies your thinking. It builds credibility. It is a living engine of marketing and idea spreading, working every day to deliver your message with authority. You should write one.

Three important lessons from Dreamhost

Zeljko points us to: DreamHost Blog � Anatomy of a(n ongoing) Disaster...

Lesson one: when things get messed up, being clear, self-critical and apologetic is really the only way to deal with customers if you expect them to give you another chance.

Lesson two: your story is all you've got. If you sell the "up-time" story, better over-invest in whatever it takes to be sure your story is true. If you sell organic yogurt, pay more than you need to to keep the toxins out.

Lesson three: if you think that sometime in the next ten years there's going to be a power surplus (no brownouts in New York, cheap gas in Ohio and plenty of power for your new widgets wherever you are) I think you're making the wrong bet.

Wanting what you don't have

Imal points us to: Apparently "forever" has been over-rated - Yahoo! News. This study showed that 75% of women in a survey would rather have a plasma tv than a diamond necklace.

While the author focuses on how this means women are more comfortable with technology, I think it means that diamond necklaces are a lot less remarkable than they used to be.

Diamonds have no intrinsic value, just the totem value that comes from scarcity and social esteem. When those start to fade, the necklace itself is worth a lot less.

Fibromyalgia Karate?

Here's a lens from Angela Harms that's currently ranked first in the search engines when you type"Fibromyalgia Karate".  CFS or Fibromyalgia, and Exercise? You have got to be kidding.

Will everyone type in Fibromyalgia Karate? Of course not. But those that do will find exactly what they need. There is a long tail, and it looks like this.

The challenge is not to somehow trick the search engines into listing your site under thousands of different combinations. Instead, it's to create specific and focused content that makes you the obvious choice for each of those slivers.

The law of small numbers

I see from Alexa that traffic to the website of the CIA is down 85% this week.

We've got access to more data than ever before in history. And most of it is junk.

Percentage changes in small base numbers, for example, don't mean much.

Microbusiness blogging

Ken points us to: Blogs - Blogging with the Whales.

So what if your company's blog only reaches a few dozen people a day. If they're the right people, the payoff is obvious.

« July 2006 | Main | September 2006 »