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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

« March 2008 | Main | May 2008 »

What's remarkable?

This morning at 5:05, I drove away from my house outside of New York City. I flew out of White Plains on USAir... and it worked.

At 7:25 am, I was at the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. (No, my meeting wasn't at the White House, it was next door, but still). No hassles, no affronts, no work stoppages, no FAA inspections, no surly overworked attendants, no lost items or near arrests or runway tie ups or traffic jams.

A few years ago, this was normal. Not worth remarking on. Today, it's a friggin miracle.

What it takes to be remarkable changes every day. Which means you have to change as well.

What happens when we organize?

Arlo Most power occurs because one side is better organized than the other. Labor is usually less well organized than management, criminals are usually less well organized than the police and customers are always less well organized than producers.

The internet promises to change that. It does it occasionally, sort of randomly. Sometimes, users will rise up and complain (as they did at Facebook). Or voters will organize online and hurt (or help) a politician or candidate.

Wikipedia works because so many contributors figured out how to self-organize into a group that produced something far more useful than a traditionally organized document.

I think we're at the earliest possible beginning of the changes we're going to see because of this sort of grass roots coordination.

Simple example: the Starbucks in Larchmont, NY keeps their thermostat at 64 degrees. And the stores in Breckenridge, Colorado keep their doors wide open all winter. If you're raging mad about energy waste, you could say something. And nothing would happen. But if customers organized and ten people said something or a hundred people said something... boom, new rules.

The system doesn't know what to do with a movement.

Two seminars

The Acumen charity seminar is officially sold out. Thanks to everyone who signed up.

Here are two more upcoming events, including one in my old home town:

For Buffalonians! Entrepalooza 2008

And a very cool conference in Boston with Joel in September: Business of Software.

The wealthy gardener

At a seminar at the local library, someone asked, "how do I make a lot of money blogging?"

My guess is that at last week's seminar, the one on growing orchids, no one raised his hand and said, "how do I make a lot of money growing orchids?"

Sure, people make money growing orchids. Some people probably get rich growing orchids. Not many though. And my guess is that the people who do make money gardening probably didn't set out to do so.

Blogging is much the same way. The best bloggers make money, but mostly as a side effect, not as a direct result of setting out to use a blog to make a profit. It's just too long a ramp up time, too frustrating and too uncertain to be the best path to make a living.

If it makes you happy (and your readers happy) it's a great place to start. Step by step you get better at it, and then you discover the ancillary benefits. But the benefits kick in best when you don't set out to achieve them.

Catchers and throwers

Megan has a great post about the difference between catchers and throwers, inspired by my post about twits: SquidBlog: Catchers and throwers.

I had an interesting interaction along these lines this week. A woman named Jennifer Rosini at Forbes sent a note that read:

Hi ,

You are invited to join the new community of the high quality business and financial bloggers from Our community - the Business and Financial Blog Network, will launch shortly.

I wrote her back, pointing out that she hadn't even bothered to pretend it was a personal note... just a mail merge missing my name.

She responded (this is the entire note):

I'm not sending these out. I have people working for me that send out 500 a day. Are you interested in joining, Seth?

The juxtaposition of the third sentence with the second just highlighted the inanity of the entire enterprise. It's a high-quality network, but 500 people a day are being asked to join, and it's okay to spam people but do I want to join anyway?

The end result of spam (email spam, blog spam, Twitter spam, Squidoo spam, comment spam, phone spam, politician spam) is that it eats away at your brand. If you don't have a brand, you might make some short term cash but it gets tiresome creating annoyance everywhere you go. If you do have a brand, a brand like Forbes, say, you don't notice the brand erosion... until it's too late.

Here, it's simple:

You can contact just about anyone you want. The only rule is you need to contact them personally, with respect, and do it months before you need their help! Contact them about them, not about you. Engage. Contribute. Question. Pay attention. Read. Interact.

Then, when you've earned the right to attention and respect, months and months later, sure, ask. It takes a lot of time and effort, which is why volume isn't the answer for you, quality is.

That's a great way to get a job, promote a site, make a friend, spread the word or just be a human.

Drip, drip, drip goes the Twit

I trust Sarah Fishko.

I don't know her, I'v'e never bought anything from her and I wouldn't recognize her if we met, but I trust her.

Every once in a while, over the last few years, Sarah's voice has come out of my radio, telling me about one interesting cultural event or another. She's consistent. She shows up. She has built a body of work over time, taking her time, that leads to trust.

Twitter can do that for you.

Not for a million New Yorkers, but perhaps for a hundred or a thousand people you want to reach. Blogs do the same thing.

The best time to look for a job next year is right now. The best time to plan for a sale in three years is right now. The mistake so many marketers make is that they conjoin the urgency of making another sale with the timing to earn the right to make that sale. In other words, you must build trust before you need it. Building trust right when you want to make a sale is just too late.

Publishing your ideas... in books, or on a blog, or in little twits on Twitter... and doing it with patience, over time, is the best way I can think of to lay a foundation for whatever it is you hope to do next.

Zappos wants you to return those shoes

"We are a service company that happens to sell."

Zappos wants you to call their 800 number. They want you to order too many shoes. They want you to return (at their expense) the shoes that don't fit.

As a service company, the more they service you, the better they do. They don't buy (an enormous number of) ads, they don't pay rent. Instead, they carry inventory that serves the long tail, they answer their phone and they pay for a lot of fedex shipping.

The more you ask for, the better they do.

Simple, but not so easy.

[Judging from my mail, some readers see this as a blanket endorsement of Zappos. Of course, that's not my intent (though I do buy shoes from Zappos now and then). My point is that just as Sears used its guarantee 100 years ago to usher in an era of catalog selling, Zappos changed the fundamental business model of a small-time retailer. Instead of real estate, big ads, limited selection and grumpy salespeople, they figured out how to turn the internet to their advantage by reversing every one of those rules. If it can work for shoes, one wonders what it won't work for... and I think the only reason what they do is unusual is that most entrepreneurs/investors don't have the discipline and guts to go as close to the edge.]

Drop the dot?

Giantfonedial Rob writes in from Australia, proposing that [dot] com is superfluous, just as www is.

We don't say, "Visit us at," we just say, ""

It's pretty clear that we don't need the front matter. In fact, the latest version of most browsers are intelligent enough that you don't have to type www in. But do we need the [dot] com part? Shouldn't the user be smart enough to type in the brand name and expect to get the site?

The suffix is useful, and we'll have it for a long, long time in my opinion. That's because [dot] com uses just four characters to say, "we have a website and this is the address for it." No need to say  "our website is" when you can just use four characters instead.

Toll free numbers developed a similar shorthand. We used to have to explain that an 800 number was free and that you could call it for more info. Now, the area code does all that in 3 digits.

I love the story on boingboing about how the phone company worked so hard to teach kids how to dial the phone. Everything is new, at least for a while.

Who answers the phone?

The new rules mean that the most valuable marketing event is almost always an inbound phone call.

An inbound phone call is the ultimate in short-term permission. The customer or prospect is taking the time to call you. She's focused, interested, paying attention and willing to trust you.

Think for a minute about how much you spend (and how high up in the organization the discussions go) when it's time for a new logo or a new Super Bowl ad.

And yet, even though the rules have changed, the lowest-paid, least-respected, highest-turnover jobs in the organization now do the most important marketing work.

Scharffen-Berger Chocolate (which I've featured in some of my books) was bought by Hershey three years ago. They bought it because of me (and people like me). People who will go out of their way to find high quality dark chocolate and then pay a huge premium to buy it.

I've been really disappointed with the quality of their product for a few months. It seems to me that in order to ramp up production, they've smoothed out some edges and the product is becoming boring. Fewer high notes,  less interesting. So, I called.

The operator, who couldn't have been nicer, offered me a coupon for a free replacement bar.

A replacement of what? More of the same mediocre product I was calling to complain about?

Of course, she was just doing her job, but who's fault is that? Who decided to give her nothing but a script, who decided not to take the inbound calls seriously,  who decided that it made sense to put up a wall instead of opening a door? I guess the short version is, "why isn't the brand manager answering the phone?"

"Your call is very important to us,"

does not jibe with,

"Due to unusually heavy call volume."

And the phrase, "I'm sorry, I'm just doing my job," does not match up with the marketing event of a person taking the time to call (or to email).

No, of course Sumner Redstone can't answer every single letter sent to Viacom. But...

Shouldn't every single inbound call be answered in one ring? Shouldn't there be as much spent on self-service customer support as is spent on the design of the selling part of your website? Shouldn't you be tracking in the finest detail what people have to say when they call in? Shouldn't you be rewarding call center operators by how long they keep people on the phone, not how many calls they can handle a minute? Shouldn't there be an easy, fast and happy way for an operator to instantly upgrade a call to management (not a supervisor, I hate supervisors) who can actually learn something from the caller, not just make them go away?

And I guess that's my biggest point: the goal of every single interaction should be to upgrade the brand's value in the eye of the caller and to learn something about how to do better, not to get the caller to just go away.

Why downloading Firefox is like getting into college

A quick glimpse at just about any profession shows you that the vast majority of people who succeed professionally also went to college.

This could be because college teaches you a lot.

Or it could be because the kind of person that puts the effort into getting into and completing college is also the kind of person who succeeds at other things.

Firefox is similar.

Example: 25% of the visitors we track at Squidoo use Firefox, which is not surprising. But 50% of the people who actually build pages on the site are Firefox users. Twice as many.

This is true of bloggers, of Twitter users, of Flickr users... everywhere you look, if someone is using Firefox, they're way more likely to be using other power tools online. The reasoning: In order to use Firefox, you need to be confident enough to download and use a browser that wasn't the default when you first turned on your computer.

That's an empowering thing to do. It isolates you as a different kind of web user.

If I ran Firefox, I'd be hard at work promoting extensions and power tools (I love the search add-ons) and all manner of online interactions. Think of all the things colleges do to amplify the original choice of their students and to increase their impact as alumni.

And if I ran your site, I'd treat Firefox visitors as a totally different group of people than everyone else. They're a self-selected group of clickers and sneezers and power users.

In the lingo of Nancy Reagan, Firefox is a gateway drug.

« March 2008 | Main | May 2008 »