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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

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Member since 08/2003

« July 2007 | Main | September 2007 »

Weird stuff happens at trade shows

If you have five minutes and forty seconds (and a strong stomach for the just-a-little-pathetic) then you might enjoy this riff from a Microsoft event. The last six seconds might be worth the whole thing, or not. Thanks, Oded, for sending it along.

If you produce materials for trade shows, it's important to remember that just because someone is sitting in an auditorium, it doesn't mean that their standards for entertainment, video or content have been mysteriously erased. They remember what they saw on TV last night, and they probably realize it was a lot better than what you're showing them now, no matter how much you spent on it.

No business model

I just got off the phone with Kent, who in addition to his day job doing online marketing, runs pdxMindShare - Portland's network event and emails. It's a free local newsletter with several thousand subscribers.

Kent told me that the only purpose of the newsletter is to help connect the community... that it doesn't have a profit motive. A quick look, though, shows that this isn't really true. By building something that connects his community, by building a permission asset with the right people (and not asking anything in return), Kent builds his reputation. He makes it more likely that people will trust him, talk to him and hire his firm. In an industry in which anyone can claim to be an expert, his firm's connections and relationships confirm that they are the real deal.

The most important part of the story is this: he doesn't do the community work for that reason. He does it for the right reason--because it feels good to help his community. The magic of the zero-marginal-cost scalable nature of the web is that your volunteer effort goes a long way and generosity almost always pays off, even when it might feel like it doesn't.

The Galapagos Post Office

Postoffice Not sure what you can do with this story, but here you go:

On a deserted beach on a small island near the equator, there's a barrel and some ziploc bags. This post office has been here for more than a hundred years. It was built by whalers who needed a way to get letters home to England. The idea was that the last stop you would make on your way home was to the post office. You'd pick up whatever letters were there and bring them back to England.

I dropped two postcards in the barrel ten days ago (no stamps, of course). They arrived on Wednesday. I'm told some notes take as long as a month or two. Apparently, you can send a letter anywhere in the world and count on it showing up. There's actually a shortage of mail... more people want to carry the letters then write them.

Ideas spread in funny ways. In this case, the joy of the person who helps out by delivering the note is probably greater than that of the sender. And the story is so irresistible for both parties that it can't help but spread. By word of mouth or by blog...

Video changes things

With very little notice, YouTube has become a significant force in business learning. People that would never read a 200 page book will happily watch a three minute video. Here's a page with a dozen or so videos to get you started. Feel free to add your favorites. My guess is that the quality and the quantity of material like this is about to soar. [Dan points us to a similar site with a very different business model].

Amazon crosses a line (and forgets to bring a gift)

I got an interesting email from Amazon today.

We noticed that you purchased an e-commerce related book in the past and we thought you might be interested in an exciting new product from Amazon Services: WebStore by Amazon.

This is the first time I can remember them cross-selling from a $20 book to a service that costs more than $700 a year. It feels a little weird. Their list of people interested in ecommerce is insanely valuable, but if they put off those very people, it becomes worthless.

The mistake continues when you go to sign up.  All the usual sign up bells and whistles are there, including a neat phone authentication tool, but there's no promises, no feature exposition, no benefits. It's just a rush to collect your credit card and start charging you. Other parts of the site promise a free month trial, but I couldn't see it mentioned during the sign up. I bailed at the very last page, because it wasn't clear to me what I was getting, why I wanted it and how much it would end up costing me.

It's very tempting to take your permission list and expand the offerings you bring to it. New products for your customers instead of new customers for your products. The challenge is that you must realize that this transition is a risky event and you need to be clear, pro-active and generous as you head down that path.

Just in time for fall

Mismatch2a_2 I just got a case of socks from You may remember them from Purple Cow. Hundreds of styles of socks, none match. Three to a sleeve, $10 or so.

Why bother with mismatched socks? Because most people don't want them. The few that do love to talk about them. It makes us happy. Ten dollars for 40 days worth of joy over a few years is a bargain. The obvious market was 12 year old girls, the sort of people who love having people notice their socks. The company is now branching out into more adult (I use the term advisedly) styles. I hope they don't get too popular!  (Not that you care, but I've been wearing their socks every day for three years or so...)

The key lessons:

  • The product is the marketing.
  • Choose a hive of people who seek out products like yours and then talk about them.
  • Be true to what you stand for.
  • It's okay not to be serious, especially if you're selling a want, not a need.
  • Be patient. The market will find you.

The opposite

The opposite of up is down.
The opposite of in is out.

Those two are easy. They are one-dimensional.

The opposite of Steve Jobs is Bill Gates.

Sort of. That's because Bill and Steve have a lot in common (outsize personalities, many Google matches, successful tech companies). But it's useful to consider them as opposites because we learn a lot about their approaches, personalities, and yes, brands, by looking at the inverse.

The opposite of Starbucks is Dunkin Donuts.

Not an independent coffee shop, and not coffee at home.

On the other hand, the opposite of Dunkin Donuts is not Starbucks. The opposite is 'not having coffee out.'

That's because when someone considers getting their morning coffee, the choice is usually home or Dunkin. That person doesn't have Starbucks as part of their choice set. Defining your brand in this way makes it easier to ignore the irrelevant competition and easier to figure out what you are (and aren't).

Bill Clinton and John Edwards aren't the opposite of Rush Limbaugh. Al Franken is.

The Blackberry isn't the opposite of the iPhone. A plain jane Motorola phone is. Apple understands this. Blackberry doesn't seem to.

The opposite of the Food Network is hours spent poring over cookbooks at a local independent bookstore. Or perhaps it's Good Housekeeping magazine. Or Gourmet...

One of the hardest things to do is invent a brand with no opposite. You don't have an anchor to play against.

Does your team agree on who your opposite is?

The Encyclopedia of Business Cliches

It's easy to make fun of business clichés. Tempting to string a bunch together in a blog post or a memo and show how clever you are. Harder, though, to avoid using them.

I think they exist to hide. By providing a layer of insulation between what you say and the truth, you can avoid saying what you mean, avoid confrontation and avoid change. Clichés make it easy to talk without really saying anything. Clichés make it easy to hide and to lie.

Does anyone really think Karl Rove is going off to spend more time with his family? Does he even know the names of the people in his family? Did the people at Ford Motor really drop everything to make quality job one, or was it just marketing tinsel?

The few people who actually mean it when they use clichés are now frustrated because no one believes them any more. The entire lexicon is discredited.

Let's save time and effort and say what we mean. Here's my start on finding the best of the worst: The Encyclopedia of Business Cliches. Feel free to robustisize it.

Apple store update

Couples Really long time readers might recall that perhaps my first blog post ever was about the Apple store.

Here's an update, five years later:

I spent an hour or two on Saturday at the Soho store. The obvious difference, other than how incredibly jammed it was, was who was there.


In fact, my guess is that more than half the people in the store were women. And they weren't all buying iPods, that's for sure. This is clearlyImg_0023 the result of an intentional multi-year strategy. Apple has succeeded in doing something that no one else in tech or even cars has done. They've crossed the gender barrier and made people of both genders passionate about what they sell.

Next project: hiring more people to work the registers! When you have a gross margin as high as they do, it's a sin to make someone wait even one minute to hand you money.

The new list

Josh points to his list of great business books.

« July 2007 | Main | September 2007 »