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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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« February 2007 | Main | April 2007 »

Happy Squidoo Day

Today, Squidoo hit 100,000 lenses. In a few hours, we'll hit 50,000 unique lensmasters as well. That's as good an excuse as any to talk about what we've learned.

In no particular order:

  • It takes longer than you think it will. Daily traffic is 10 times higher than it was a year ago. That's a huge number. Seduced by the legendary stories of overnight web successes, we thought it would happen in a month. Patience is a virtue.
  • People learn by example. As the lenses getting built get better, it inspires others to do better stuff too. Highlighting great work is a critical step for any community.
  • Bad actors are everywhere. And most of them will go away if we focus on eliminating anonymity.
  • Google matters. Yahoo and Ask too. Not manipulative SEO, but honest pages that benefit users if they get found.
  • The community is smart. Really smart. They run large parts of the site, and they do it beautifully.
  • You don't need VC money if you plan around it. The emphasis is on the second part of that sentence. Other than attending a small trade show, we didn't spend a penny on outbound marketing, nor did we flog it far and wide.
  • You don't need many people, but is sure helps if you hire people who are brilliant, honest and passionate.
  • Temptation is everywhere. Temptation to artificially boost traffic or revenue or some other metric. It might work in the short run, but when you're done, you don't have much to show for it.
  • Bizdev is dramatically overrated, either that or we're bad at it. The growth of Squidoo has come from individuals (99%) not corporate partners.
  • What you start with is wrong. At least what we started with was. Fortunately, we planned on being wrong, and have revamped most aspects of what we built. Tomorrow I'll be posting on our new ad approach.

If you want to see what's working, here are three things to try:


More failed efforts at control

Lloyd points us to Makers of Splenda buy Hundreds of Negative Domain Names. The idea, I guess, is to keep someone from writing something nasty about Splenda.

Is there enough money in the world to buy enough domain names to keep a determined person from saying something nasty about Splenda?

Monopolies vs. everyone else

Monopolies work to protect something that wouldn't belong to them if we had a chance to start over. Everyone else works to provide services or goods that people actually want.

Gil just sent this one over:


[Blake just sent me this note: "The reason it is free is because they put their switches in independent telephone companies (rural America) when a larger phone company terminates a call (when you call the “free” conference calling) then the rural company is able to charge Qwest or whomever else terminates the call a fee. In areas like IA they want to buy the LD for .05 cents a minute and then charge Qwest as high as .15 cents a minute for terminating the call. They want to buy it for less then it costs. This is a common practice in this sector of the industry but they have found a way to milk the system and do more then it was intended to do and are in this case killing the larger Telco companies if that makes sense." It's entirely possible he's right. If so, I apologize to Cingular, etc.--the challenge those companies face is pretty obvious--we don't get phone service so we can call most phones, we get it so we can call all phones.]

Lessons from Neil Young

I've been listening to Live at Massey Hall: Neil Young and thinking and even crying a bit. It's an awfully powerful piece of work.

Two lessons for marketers, one small, the other bigger. First, it's interesting to note how much more excited and open the crowd is to songs they've heard before. Even some of the songs that ended up becoming classics got a tepid reaction because they were unknown at the time.

Second, on songs that aren't working so well, you will hear Neil try harder, play louder, raise his voice and strain to make an impact. It doesn't work. At all. It's what you say, most of the time, not how you say it.

Good is not almost as good as great

SalesgoodgreatI went to trade in my car Jay Porter Prius for an updated Prius today. Well, I meant to do that, but I walked out instead.

I arrive at Westchester Toyota and pass two or three salespeople loitering outside. Inside, there were two or three more, sitting in a line of chairs, waiting for the signal from the headmistress at the counter.

My guess is that even for a thriving brand like Toyota, most of these guys weren't paid so much. They were 'good' salespeople, lifers who showed up, did what they were told and closed a sale here and there.

It soon became clear that the salesperson who was assigned to me wasn't 'great'. The dealership had messed up: He had no record of my appointment, no file, no history of why I came. But he just punted. He made no effort to engage with me or look me in the eye or empathize with my frustration at the complete waste of time my call yesterday had been. He gave up after about ten seconds, bummed out that he had lost his place in line. So I left.

Driving home, I started to think about the discontinuity in the graph of salespeople. Discontinuities are interesting, because that's where you can see how a system works. In this case, it's obvious that a great salesperson is going to sell far, far more than a good one. Nine women working together can't have a baby in one  month, and ten good salespeople still aren't going to close the account that a great one could. That's because it's not a linear scale. The great ones reach out. They work the phones when they're not first in line. They understand what a customer wants. They're not just better than good. They're playing a totally different game.

My best advice: Fire half your salesforce. Then, give the remainder, the top people, a big raise, and use the money left over to steal the best salespeole you can find from other industries or even from your competition. You'll end up with fewer salespeople. But all of them will be great.

And the good guys? Have them go work for the competition.

Advice for Nathan (and anyone that wants to be a marketer)

I just got a note from Nathan, who asks,

" [I recently realized] that I want to be a marketer. So now with a resume that includes "Research Analyst" for an economics professor, "Finance Director" for a Nevada governor candidate, and a degree in physics from Harvard, I find myself applying for jobs in marketing. Ultimately, I would like to be VP of Product Development or perhaps CEO at a new company (I love bringing remarkable ideas to frutition), and I have suddenly realized marketing, not finance, is the way to go for me. And, as I search for jobs and try to find an entry point for my new found path, I have a few questions:

1. Where do I start? Most of what I read online seems to say I should have had a marketing internship in college. Can get an Assistant Brand Manager position with no experience?

2. Do you have company suggestions? Which companies get that some of the millions they are spending on TV ads could be better spent improving their products/services?

3. Which books should form the backbone of my marketing education?"

My answer is easy to write, harder to implement. In my experience the single best way to become a marketer is to market. And since marketing isn't expensive any longer (it takes more guts than money), there's no need to work for Procter & Gamble. None. In the old days, you could argue that you needed to apprentice with an expert and that you needed access to millions (or billions) to spend. No longer.

So, start your own gig. Even if you're 12 years old, start a store on eBay. You'll learn just about everything you need to learn about digital marketing by building an electronic storefront, doing permission-based email campaigns, writing a blog, etc. Who knows more about marketing--Scoble or some mid-level marketing guy in Redmond?

You don't need a lot of time or a lot of money. You can start with six hours every weekend. Over time, if (and when) you get good at it, take on clients. Paying clients. Folks that need brilliant marketers will beat down the door to get at you. After a while, you may decide you like that life. Or, more likely, you'll decide you'd rather be your own client.

People who want to become great fishermen don't go to work on a salmon trawler. And people who want to become marketers ought to just start marketing. (Bonus: here is a book list).


Erik points us to: The Internet went down yesterday, and nobody noticed. It's a good story of hiding as a customer service stragegy, but it's also interesting to note how our connected world fell apart. My fancy alarm clock (that automatically checks the time) is wrong, my wife's laptop (that automatically checks the time) is wrong, too.

What happens when we try to do something really complicated?

Security Theatre (part 2)

Graham points to an article by my neighbor: Inside Job: My Life as an Airport Screener. The surprising thing about the theatre isn't that it exists. The surprising thing is that we're so bad at it.

It's easy to get hung up on whether it's appropriate to put on a show when it comes to airport security or eating at your restaurant or attending your church. But I think it's more interesting to get past that discussion and instead wonder, "If we're going to put on a show, how could we do it better?" Starbucks and Disney have both made billions doing just that.

If you and I sat down for an hour, I have no doubt we could dramatically increase the quality of the security show at the airport, or the bureaucracy show at the Department of Motor Vehicles or the litigation show at the local courthouse.

The sock puppet

Many moons ago, a video I wrote and produced was nominated for an American Film Institute Award. I flew out to LA, wore a tux, the whole thing. I knew I was in trouble when I discovered that Cathy Rigby and Gary Coleman were the hosts for the evening. My video lost, defeated by Shari Lewis and Lambchop (hey, even Kukla, Fran and Ollie would have been better). Ever since then, I've been awfully wary of the whole prize thing.

Go figure: last night the SXSW conference awarded Corey and Gil the award for best community site (Squidoo). And yesterday, Small is the New Big made the shortlist for the Blooker Prize. Even a quick look at the nominees makes it clear that I have no chance of winning, but it is pretty cool to be listed. And no, I'm not renting a tux, and you can leave your sock puppets at home.

Weekend (useful) reminders

  • Please turn your clock ahead (if local laws permit).
  • Replace the batteries in all your smoke detectors.
  • If you don't have smoke detectors, buy a few. They're really cheap now.
  • If you can find some neighbors who might need smoke detectors, buy some for them.
  • Take out your #1 and #2 credit cards. Call the number on the back and say, "I think I'm going to need to cancel my account because your interest rate is too high." Then wait silently. Watch what happens. Boom, I just saved you a few hundred dollars.
  • Feel free to use that money to pay down your credit card debt. Or,
  • make sure you have tenant's insurance if you rent. And,
  • back up your hard drive.

Boom. Spring cleaning is done.

« February 2007 | Main | April 2007 »