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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


An intensive, 4-week online workshop designed to accelerate leaders to become change agents for the future. Designed by Seth Godin, for you.



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 2012 | Main | May 2012 »

What's the right size? The quantum mechanics of growth...

How come there are no ants as big as Buicks (except in the movies)? Why not have a college with a million students (or ten)?

The physics and economics of a business determine whether it's the right size or not, whether it ought to get bigger or smaller. Starbucks, for example, was not the right size when it had 11 stores. That's too many stores for just one senior manager to handle, but not enough stores for centralized purchasing and marketing and organization. The cash flow from an eleven-store chain just doesn't easily connect to the staff requirements necessary to make it efficient.

A web company might do really well with thirty people and a few million dollars in revenue. To get to a thousand people (big enough for an IPO, say), it will need to transform both the product and the way it's sold. And in between the size it is now (which is working) and the size necessary for the public offering, there's a dead zone. This is a leap, not a stroll.

When I was growing my first successful business, I kept saying that one day I'd hire enough people that the people I was hiring could manage themselves. I went from having four direct reports to eleven before I realized that I wasn't going to be able to make the leap in scale that was going to be necessary to reach a comfortable size.

The same rule applies to independent musicians and comedians. At the solo level, you might be very happy making a living gigging at certain kinds of venues and being supported by a given audience. On the other hand, to support a manager, a band and a label, you can't just add a few more fans. You need different venues, different gigs, different revenue streams. If you can't (or don't want to) get to that new level, the new team isn't going to help, and it might destroy everything you've built.

It's worth charting both profit per employee and owner satisfaction against the number of people in the organization. Perhaps getting a little bigger isn't what you want, and it might not even be possible.

Low prices

It might be that low prices are the final refuge of the marketer who has run out of ideas and is left with nothing but a commodity.

Or it might be that organizing your business around lowering prices through efficiency, mass scale and smart choices is a powerful way to grow.

My guess is that both are true, but you better be really sure about which one you're choosing. Hint: doing the second one successfully is really quite difficult, so if all you're doing is writing a lower number on the pricetags, you're probably playing the first game.

Your dent

Are you making a dent in the universe?

Hint: lots of random pokes in many different spots are unlikely to leave much of an impact. And hiding out is surely not going to work at all.

The story of money is not a straight line


Everyone tells themself a different story about money, but there's no doubt at all that the story we tell ourselves changes our behavior.

Consider this curve of how people react in situations that cost money.

A musician is standing on a street corner playing real good for free. Most people walk on by (3). That same musician playing at a bar with a $5 cover gets a bit more attention. Put him into a concert hall at $40 and suddenly it's an event.

Pay someone minimum wage or a low intern stipend (4) and they treat the work like a job. Don't expect that worker to put in extra effort or conquer her fear--the message is that her effort was bought and paid for and wasn't worth very much to the boss... and so she reciprocates in kind. The same sort of thing can happen in a class that's easy to get into and that doesn't cost much--a Learning Annex sort of thing. Easy to start, cheap to try--not much effort as a result.

It's interesting to me to see what happens to people who pay a lot or get paid well (2,5). The kids at Harvard Law School, for example, or a third-year associate at a law firm. Here, we see all nighters, heroic, career-risking efforts and all sorts of personal investment. And yet as we extend the curve to situations where the rules of rational money are suspended, something happens--people get fearful again. Don't look to Oprah or JK Rowling or the Donald to bet it all--the huge amount of money they could earn (or could pay) to play at the next level (1 & 6) isn't enough to get them out of their comfort zone. Money ceases to be a motivator for everyone at some point.

Most interesting of all is the long black line at zero (3). The curve goes wild here, like dividing by zero. At zero, at the place where no money changes hands, we see volunteer labor and free exchange. In these situations, sometimes we see extraordinary effort, the stuff that wins Nobel prizes. Just about every great, brave or beautiful thing in our culture was created by someone who didn't do it for money. We see the local volunteer putting in insane hours even though no one is watching. We hear the magical song or read the amazing poem that no one got paid to write. And sometimes, though, we see very little, just a trolling comment or a half-hearted bit of commentary. Remove money from the story and we're in a whole new category. The most vivid way to think about this is the difference between a mutually-agreed upon romantic date and one in which money changes hands.

All worth thinking about when you consider how much to charge for a gig, what tuition ought to be, what motivates job creators or whether or not a form of art disappears when the business model for that art goes away.

Some reading without charge (worth way more than it costs)

The Valve company handbook (download), about the post-industrial method of management.

Bassam Tarazi on accountability (part 1). This is brand new. (Download here)

The on-purpose person, free ebook until the 28th.

And some recent posts on The Domino Project blog (though we're not publishing any new books, the blog continues).

Bonus: a new (short) TED talk from Nancy Lublin. Does changing the medium change the message?

(Plus, a new one from Hugh, not free, but still a bargain...)

Do you have a people strategy?

Hard to imagine a consultant or investor asking the CMO, "so, what's your telephone strategy?"

We don't have a telephone strategy. The telephone is a tool, a simple medium, and it's only purpose is to connect us to interested human beings.

And then the internet comes along and it's mysterious and suddenly we need an email strategy and a social media strategy and a web strategy and a mobile strategy.

No, we don't.

It's still people. We still have one and only one thing that matters, and it's people.

All of these media are conduits, they are tools that human beings use to waste time or communicate or calculate or engage or learn. Behind each of the tools is a person. Do you have a story to tell that person? An engagement or a benefit to offer them?

Figure out the people part and the technology gets a whole lot simpler.

Don't expect applause

Accept applause, sure, please do.

But when you expect applause, when you do your work in order (and because of) applause, you have sold yourself short. That's because your work is depending on something out of your control. You have given away part of your art. If your work is filled with the hope and longing for applause, it's no longer your work--the dependence on approval has corrupted it, turned it into a process where you are striving for ever more approval.

Who decides if your work is good? When you are at your best, you do. If the work doesn't deliver on its purpose, if the pot you made leaks or the hammer you forged breaks, then you should learn to make a better one. But we don't blame the nail for breaking the hammer or the water for leaking from the pot. They are part of the system, just as the market embracing your product is part of marketing.

"Here, here it is, it's finished."

If it's finished, the applause, the thanks, the gratitude are something else. Something extra and not part of what you created. To play a beautiful song for two people or a thousand is the same song, and the amount of thanks you receive isn't part of that song.

Needs and wants are often confused

When people have their basic needs met, it's not uncommon for wants to magically become needs. It's our hardwired instinct to seek to fill unmet needs.

That pays off for any marketer that has persuaded his market that they need what he sells. It backfires when those 'needs' are seen for what they actually are--luxuries.

When you sell a want, you have to work harder, you must seduce the market, because wants are fickle, picky and not easily bullied.

When smart people work for big companies

A good employee says, "I know that this is a serious problem, it's hurting our customers and we can do better, but I can't do a thing about it because it's run by a different department."

A version of this might conclude with, "And I don't even know the name of the person who's responsible."

This is a sure sign of systemic failure as well as a CEO who is not doing the job she should be. When smart people who care get frustrated, something is wrong.

This lack of responsibility/communication is not a feature or a benefit that helps customers or shareholders. This is a flaw in the system of the big company, a cost of having a larger organization. The very same system that allowed the organization to become big and powerful is showing serious cracks.

It doesn't have to be this way. But it will unless senior management hires, trains and organizes to avoid it. Is there a more important issue to be worked on?

If you think that's what we want, why don't you give it to us?

The sign in front of the breakfast bar at the hotel says, "from garden to table."

Really? Virtually every item I see has been processed four times, steamed, stored and steamed again.

Marketing pitches are finely tuned to resonate with the audience in mind. Too often, though, the marketer is only in charge of the pitch, and someone else in the organization has to make the thing.

So the marketer brags about how tasty the food on the airplane is, or how reliable the cell phone service is or how magically transporting the aromatherapy of the soap is--and then someone else, someone under different pressures and constraints--has to deliver. And they rarely do.

They rarely do because the paying customer isn't their customer. Their customer is the quality control department, the accounting department and the "don't-rock-the-boat" department.

Marketers need to spend less time making promises and more time keeping them.

Sea Monkey AD

The easiest and the best

The easiest customers to get are almost never the best ones.

If you're considering word of mouth, stability and lifetime value, it's almost always true that the easier it is to get someone's attention, the less it's worth.

Selling to people who haven't bought yet

The portion of the population that haven't bought from you or your competition yet is not waiting for a better mousetrap.

They're not busy considering a, b and c and then waiting for d.

No, they're not in the market. They don't believe that they have a problem that's worth the time and money they think it's going to take to solve it.

As a result, smart marketers don't market to this audience by saying, "hey, ours is better than theirs!"

If this group thought that they had a solvable problem, the would have solved it already.

No, they won't respond to a better-than-them pitch. Instead, they're much more likely to respond to a new statement of their problem and a new statement of the solution. Don't ask them to announce that they were wrong when they decided that they didn't need a tablet, a survival kit or an anti-impotence drug. Instead, make it easy for them to make a new decision based on new information.

Ticket update for May 16

The premium tickets for my NY gig have already sold out and there are no more student tickets either. Sorry to disappoint.

Early Bird tickets end on Sunday, the 22nd. And the six-pack remains your best buy. All the details are here. Thanks.

Bandits and philanthropists

The web is minting both, in quantity.

Bandits want something for nothing. They take. They take free content where they can find it. They fight for anonymity, for less community involvement. They want more than their fair share, and they walk past the busker, because they can hear him playing real good, for free.

The spammer is a bandit, stealing your attention because he can get away with it, and leaving nothing in return.

Philanthropists see a platform for giving. They support the tip jar. They argue for community standards and yes, for taxes that are more fair to the community. They support artists online, and when they can, they buy the book.

The artist who creates a video that touches you, or an infographic that informs you--she's giving more than she gets, leaving the community better than it was before she got there.

Both types have been around forever, of course. But the web magnifies the edges. It's easier than ever to be a free rider, to make your world smaller and to take. And easier than ever to be a big time contributor, even if you don't have any money. You can contribute your links or your attention or your energy...

The fascinating thing for me is how much more successful and happy the philanthropists are. It turns out that when you make the world smaller, you get to keep more of what you've got, but you end up earning a lot less (respect, connections, revenue) at the same time.

Two ways to buy the expensive

Buying something like a house, a piece of fine art, a used car or a business is as much a marketing exercise as selling that very item might be.

There are two common approaches. The first is to denigrate.

Explain that the seller has bad taste. That the car isn't in good shape. That the art was poorly selected for the resale market. Poke holes in the business model, the management team or the landscaping design.

Better still, make the seller feel as though she's on thin ice. Bring an exploding offer to the table and watch her squirm as it goes down in value from day to day. Point to others that have waited too long to sell and how they ended up regretting it. Question her values and her judgment.

In other words, go for the win, where winning is defined as getting a great price.

There are two problems with this approach. The first, and the biggest, is that anything you truly want to buy probably has multiple buyers interested, and with better information available every day, the best stuff is going to be sold to someone else. Your denigration strategy is going to inevitably limit your pool of available items to sellers with self-esteem or desperation issues.

The second problem is that the word spreads. Your gallery or your buyout fund or your dealership quickly earns a reputation (there's that marketing thing again) as the buyer of last resort, once again creating an environment where your approach determines what's available to you.

The alternative is to respect and to communicate. After all, you're here to buy something--I'm guessing that's because you think it's worth something more than you're willing to pay for it. So value the judgment and taste of the seller. Be clear about what you like about it, be honest about the value that's been created. Even better, instead of coming in high and then figuring out ways to bully and lower your offer, come in low and enjoy the process of bidding it up, making the seller root for you and look forward to hearing from you. (This is particularly useful when making an investment where you want management to be happy with you after the deal is done).

In a fair market, it's entirely likely you'll end up paying precisely what you would have paid using the other method, but you'll be offered more works, more stuff worth paying for, and your reputation will reflect that. Most of all it's important to understand that we're not talking about bushels of wheat. Very little is a commodity, and the method you use to buy your expensive item may be even more important than how much you pay.

"I was just kidding"

The haute couture designer who brings out a few designs that look like they came from a truck stop.

The fancy chef who sends out a chocolate-dipped Oreo as part of dessert.

The book designer who uses Comic Sans as the type on the cover of a prize-winning novel...

In each case, they can get away with it because we know they're capable of so much more. In each case, the irony is apparent, they're not hacks--they're only pretending to be hacks.

Before your digital work is shipped, you need to understand whether people will look at your blog or your lens or your ebook or your landing page and say, "hack," or "wow." It takes a while before you can claim your LOLcat or bizarre tweet was just a joke, not the acme of your taste.

Come to New York on May 16th (Pick Yourself)

For the first time in a long time, I'm doing an all-day public event. It's not something I do often, and I hope you'll consider coming.

[If you know someone who might benefit, I'd appreciate it if you would forward or tweet this post].

I'm calling it Pick Yourself and it's the culmination of months of preparation. It won't be webcast or recorded, as we've tried to create something that works best precisely because it's live--not just as a result of what I'm saying on stage, but due to the people you meet and sit next to and connect with over your challenges and projects and dreams.

Digital scales, of course, because it spreads effortlessly and without cost. Real life, alas, doesn't work that way. What we've tried to do is create an event that's better precisely because you came, because you're in the room, because someone on a similar journey is sitting next to you. A beautiful big theatre filled with intimate one on one connections.

Assembling a group of six (friends, colleagues or strangers) makes it even more likely that you'll come to the event ready to share and scheme and plan, taking action after it's over.

If you're interested in coming, please read all the details and be sure to get your confirmation after you've registered in order to join the exclusive online community we're building for attendees.

You can discover the details of the event right here.

Early bird and group tickets are significantly less expensive than regular tickets will be in a week, so if you're interested, I hope you'll grab it now.

See you in Tribeca.

All artists are self-taught

Techniques and skill and even a point of view are often handed down, formally or not. It's easier to get started if you're taught, of course.

But art, the new, the ability to connect the dots and to make an impact--sooner or later, that can only come from one who creates, not from a teacher and not from a book.

Lessons from Caine's Arcade

Maybe you've seen this short film.

The first thing that made me smile was how willing Caine was to do his art regardless of how the world responded (it didn't). Caine didn't care. The goal wasn't to be accepted, the goal was to do it right.

The second extraordinary thing is easy to miss. Around 3:30, you learn Caine's folk-arithmetic trick of using square roots to validate the PIN numbers on each fun pass. Extraordinary.

And the third? Starting around the nine-minute mark, any entrepreneur with a heart is going to shed a few tears. In the immortal words of Caine Monroy, "and I thought they were here for me, and they were."

Money scales but emotions around money don't

You're not half as annoyed when you get a $25 parking ticket as you are when the fine is $50.

An investment banker isn't twice as excited about a $20 million bonus as she is about a $10 million one.

There are threshholds that determine how we feel about money-related events (good and bad), but beyond those threshholds, the relationships get all out of whack. Being a million dollars in debt feels about the same as being five million in the hole.

The way you feel about more (or less) of something probably doesn't rise or fall based on how much it cost to produce that feeling.

Marketers and organizations and the less emotional use this fact against us all the time. They understand that while the utility curve for money for a single individual can change widely over time, the value of that money to the organization is largely linear.

Better than everyone

Clay Shirky reminds us that the media business has changed. Forty years ago, your TV show only had to be better than two other shows--not every show, just the shows on the other channels. Today, of course, with a million choices, each show earns the attention it gets in every single moment.

As I wrote in the Dip a few years ago, the only way your business wins in Google world is to be the best available option, where "best" means best for the person searching for an answer, and "available option" means everything. (Best doesn't mean most expensive or exclusive, it merely means the best choice for me, right now. You don't have to be happy about how much competition you have, but it helps to admit it.)

The end of the diva paradox

Great surgeons don't need to be respectful or have a talented, kind or alert front desk staff. They're great at the surgery part, and you're not here for the service, you're here to get well (if you believe that the surgery part is what matters). In fact, gruffness might be a clue to their skill for some.

Great opera singers don't have to be reasonable or kind. They sing like no one else, that's why you hired them, and why they get to (are expected to) act like divas. Get over it.

So the thinking goes.

The traditional scarcity model implied some sort of inverse relationship between service and quality. Not for service businesses like hotels, of course, but for the other stuff. If someone was truly gifted, of course they didn't have the time or focus to also be kind or reasonable or good at understanding your needs. A diva was great partly because, we decided, she was a jerk.

I think that's changing, possibly forever, for a bunch of reasons:

  • The state of the art is now easier to find. Word spreads about behavior and service faster than ever. As a result, customers quickly become aware of what a raw deal they're getting from this supposedly gifted individual.
  • It's so much easier to deliver better service (Dr. Diva, please send me an email if you're running late!) that we're far less forgiving.
  • Since just about any intelligent and caring person can use technology and a bit of humility to deliver better service (see above), we start to wonder whether that diva provider actually is intelligent and caring. And if he isn't, it doesn't really matter if he has some sort of skill, because uncaring hands are worth avoiding.
  • With fewer great gigs available (even in opera), it's not so easy act like a jerk (or be insulated and uncaring) and still get work.

Don't give up (you're on the right track)

Wrestling with a puzzle, a project or a problem, the likeliest reason to give up is the belief that it can't be done. What's the point of persevering if it's actually impossible to succeed?

"It can't be done," we say, throwing up our hands. Not "I can't do it," or "It's not worth my time," but "It can't be done."

In the year after Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile, the record was broken again and again. Once people realized it could be done, it wasn't an impossible task any longer. And that's why there's a flood of tablets on the market, many from companies that had what they needed to build the first one, but didn't until Apple showed them the way.

Two things you might take away from this: First, there's solace in finding someone who has done it before, whatever "it" is you're trying to do. Knowing that it's possible and studying how it was done can't help but increase the chances you'll stick it out.

Second: huge value accrues to the few able to actually do a thing for the very first time.

It's easier to go faster now than it is to go faster later

This rule is true for any company that is growing.

If you're in a race, race now, because early leads and early gains compound, and because coordination issues in bigger organizations always slow you down.

Is everyone entitled to their opinion?

Perhaps, but that doesn't mean we need to pay the slightest bit of attention.

There are two things that disqualify someone from being listened to:

1. Lack of Standing. If you are not a customer, a stakeholder or someone with significant leverage in spreading the word, we will ignore you. And we should.

When you walk up to an artist and tell her you don't like her painting style, you should probably be ignored. If you've never purchased expensive original art, don't own a gallery and don't write an influential column in ArtNews, then by all means, you must be ignored.

If you're working in Accounts Payable and you hate the company's new logo, the people who created it should and must ignore your opinion. It just doesn't matter to anyone but you.

I'm being deliberately harsh here for a reason. If we're going to do great work, it means that some people aren't going to like it. And if the people who don't like it don't have an impact on what happens to the work after it's complete, the only recourse of someone doing great work is to ignore their opinion.

2. No Credibility. An opinion needs to be based on experience and expertise. I know you don't like cilantro, but whether or not you like it is not extensible to the population at large. On the other hand, if you have a track record of matching the taste sensibility of my target market, then I very much want to hear what you think.

People with a history of bad judgment, people who are quick to jump to conclusions or believe in unicorns or who have limited experience in the market--these people are entitled to opinions, but it's not clear that the creator of the work needs to hear them. They've disqualified themselves because the method they use for forming opinions about how the market will respond is suspect. The scientific method works, and if you're willing to suspend it at will and just go with your angry gut, we don't need to hear from you.

If these two standards sound like precisely the opposite of what gets you on talk radio or active in anonymous chat rooms, you're right. Running your business or your campaign or your non-profit or your sports team based on what you hear on talk radio is nuts.


If you're scouting for a first baseman, you should keep your eyes open for someone with good twitch skills. Insanely fast reflexes, the ability to snatch a ball out of the air, someone who might not be able to run a marathon but is insanely quick with no notice.

Twitch skills used to be rarely needed in the business world. There were certainly people on trading desks or in air traffic control towers who had to have the ability to shoot first and ask questions later, but generally, we rewarded those that could find and stick to the long line.

Not sure if you've noticed, but in the last twelve months, the social internet is emphasizing twitch more than ever before. All that smart phone checking and checking in and name checking and instant rejoindering is amplifying the work of those that are just a little quicker than everyone else.

Twitch is very satisfying. You can go home knowing that you volleyed everything there was to volley that day, that you played the digital cards you were dealt beautifully, that you gained a few followers and a little respect. Twitch is a constant adrenaline rush, during which you have to plan very little and take responsibility for less. Turn inbound into outbound...

Here's the thing: While twitch may pay off in any ten minute cycle, I'm not sure if it gets you very far in the long run, where the long run might be as short as two weeks.

On making a ruckus in your industry

Bring forward a new idea or technology that disrupts and demands a response

Change pricing dramatically

Redefine a service as a product (or vice versa)

Organize the disorganized, connect the disconnected

Alter the speed to market radically

Change the infrastructure, the rules or the flow of information

Give away what used to be expensive and charge for something else

Cater to the weird, bypassing the masses

Take the lead on ethics

(Or you could just wait for someone to tell you what they want you to do)

In the palm of your hand

A successful project might very well lead to having your customers, your vendors or your employees eating out of the palm of your hand--aware of your wishes and eager to do what you ask.

Now what are you going to do?

This is always a temporary state. Abuse it and it's over, fast.

I think it comes down to whether you ask them to do things that are good for you or good for them.

Organized bravery

The purpose of the modern organization is to make it easy and natural and expected for people to take risks. To lean out of the boat. To be human.

Alas, most organizations do the opposite. They institutionalize organized cowardice. They give their people cover, a place to hide, a chance to say, “that’s not my job.”

Our organizations are filled with people not only eager to dehumanize those that they serve, but apparently, instructed to do so. In the name of shareholder value or team play or not rocking the boat...

During times of change, the only organizations that thrive are those that are eager to interact and change as well. And that only happens when individuals take brave steps forward.

Giving your team cover for their cowardice is foolish. Give them a platform for bravery instead.

When execution gets cheaper, so should planning

If you're going to build a $10 million skyscraper, by all means, plan and prototype and discuss and plan some more.

On the other hand, if the cost of finding out is a phone call, make the call. No need to spend a lot of time planning how to call or when to call or which phone to use when execution is fast and cheap.

The digital revolution has, as in so many other areas, flipped the equation here. The cost of building digital items is plummeting, but our habit is to plan anyway (because failure bothers us, and we focus on the feeling of failure, not the cost).

The goal should be to have the minimum number of meetings and scenarios and documentation necessary to maximize the value of execution. As it gets faster and easier to actually build the thing, go ahead and make sure the planning (or lack of it) keeps pace.

Updated: new editions of Stop Stealing Dreams

The free ebook (free as in free to read and share) now has two new audio editions, a French edition, one for readers in Brazil and yes, a bumper sticker that summarizes the book in 12 square inches (what three words would you use?). It's available to read on your screen, to print out and to read on your Nook or Kindle. People have turned it into online discussions and are working on other translations, including Polish and Italian too.

I also fixed a formatting glitch in the screen edition:  Download Stop Stealing Dreams Screen 2015

If you haven't read it yet, check it out. If you have, feel free to share.

If your happiness is based on always getting a little more than you've got...

then you've handed control over your happiness to the gatekeepers, built a system that doesn't scale and prevented yourself from the brave work that leads to a quantum leap.

The industrial system (and the marketing regime) adore the mindset of 'a little bit more, please', because it furthers their power. A slightly higher paycheck, a slightly more famous college, an incrementally better car--it's easy to be seduced by this safe, stepwise progress, and if marketers and bosses can make you feel dissatisfied at every step along the way, even better for them.

Their rules, their increments, and you are always on a treadmill, unhappy today, imagining that the answer lies just over the next hill...

All the data shows us that the people on that hill are just as frustrated as the people on your hill. It demonstrates that the people at that college are just as envious as the people at this college. The never ending cycle (no surprise) never ends.

An alternative is to be happy wherever you are, with whatever you've got, but always hungry for the thrill of creating art, of being missed if you're gone and most of all, doing important work.

The coalition of No

It's easy to join.

There are a million reasons to say no, but few reasons to stand up and say yes.

No requires just one objection, one defensible reason to avoid change. No has many allies--anyone who fears the future or stands to benefit from the status quo. And no is easy to say, because you actually don't even need a reason.

No is an easy way to grab power, because with yes comes responsibility, but no is the easy way to block action, to exert the privilege of your position to slow things down.

No comes from fear and greed and, most of all, a shortage of openness and attention. You don't have to pay attention or do the math or role play the outcomes in order to join the coalition that would rather things stay as they are (because they've chosen not to do the hard work of imagining how they might be).

And yet the coalition of No keeps losing. We live in a world of yes, where possibility and innovation and the willingness to care often triumph over the masses that would rather it all just quieted down and went back to normal.

Yes is the new normal. And just in time.

Monetization and fairness

Years ago, before I wrote Purple Cow, purple was just another color, sitting in the back rows with orange and teal and magenta. The success of that book transformed the way the color was treated, and I watched with surprise and then delight as more and more of the world embraced the notion of purpleness.

At some point, though, creation needs to be rewarded. Writing is a lonely and risky endeavor, and if people are able to blithely take the work of another, we'll soon run out of writers.

Add to this problem the rampant linking that goes online. People are always linking to this blog, for example, without asking first. Not to mention those that might discuss one of my books in a meeting (at a profit-making business, no less!) without permission or payment of royalties.

That's why today (appropriately) I'm reporting the results of several lawsuits I quietly filed over the last year. My lawyers were able to trademark the terms Purple® and Purple Cow®, and beyond that, to get a design patent on the idea of using Purple® in the marketing of a product.

Several entities have already reached a settlement with my firm. On the international front, Radojka Glavonjić, a farmer in Serbia, is paying an ongoing royalty for publicity and endorsements surrounding her new calf. (Worth noting that it's a bull, actually).

We were unable to reach a settlement with Prince Rogers Nelson, but he has agreed to retitle his hit song Bluish Red Rain.

For those that might accuse me of overreaching, please consider that we took no action at all against this Purple® squirrel.

Critics will be pleased to know that we are granting the US Army a royalty-free license to continue calling it a Purple® Heart.

PS by reading this post, you agree to the shrinkwrap license and terms and conditions that have become used by some in the industry, and thus agree not to use the word Purple® in any conversation or memo or text or tweet without sending me one simoleon each time you do.

I know that you, my loyal readers, will support me as I continue to pursue a fair and honest settlement with others that seek to profit from my insights and risk taking. It is, after all, the only way I can produce this blog without selling a significant number of ads. Though I may add the advertisements anyway, because more is better.

[This was my April Fool's joke for 2012, though those that don't get the joke probably won't read this far before emailing me...]

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