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Seth Godin has written 12 bestsellers that have been translated into 33 languages

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All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing

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Free Prize Inside

The practical sequel to Purple Cow

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Why the internet works (and doesn't) for your business. And vice versa.

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The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.

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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.

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Small is the New Big

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Survival is Not Enough

Seth's worst seller and personal favorite. Change. How it works (and doesn't).

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The Big Red Fez

Top 5 Amazon ebestseller for a year. All about web sites that work.

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The Dip

A short book about quitting and being the best in the world. It's about life, not just marketing.

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The Icarus Deception

Seth's most personal book, a look at the end of the industrial economy and what happens next.

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Tribes

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Unleashing the Ideavirus

More than 3,000,000 copies downloaded, perhaps the most important book to read about creating ideas that spread.

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V Is For Vulnerable

A short, illustrated, kids-like book that takes the last chapter of Icarus and turns it into something worth sharing.

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We Are All Weird

The end of mass and how you can succeed by delighting a niche.

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Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?

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THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin




All Marketers Are Liars Blog




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« September 2013 | Main | November 2013 »

Our crystal palace

Thanks to technology, (relative) peace and historic levels of prosperity, we've turned our culture into a crystal palace, a gleaming edifice that needs to be perfected and polished more than it is appreciated.

We waste our days whining over slight imperfections (the nuts in first class aren't warm, the subway isn't cool enough, the vaccine leaves a bump on our arm for two hours) instead of seeing the modern miracles all around us. That last thing that went horribly wrong, that ruined everything, that led to a spat or tears or reciminations--if you put it on a t-shirt and wore it in public, how would it feel? "My iPhone died in the middle of the 8th inning because my wife didn't charge it and I couldn't take a picture of the home run from our box seats!"

Worse, we're losing our ability to engage with situations that might not have outcomes shiny enough or risk-free enough to belong in the palace. By insulating ourselves from perceived risk, from people and places that might not like us, appreciate us or guarantee us a smooth ride, we spend our day in a prison we've built for ourself.

Shiny, but hardly nurturing.

So, we ban things from airplanes not because they are dangerous, but because they frighten us. We avoid writing, or sales calls, or inventing or performing or engaging not because we can't do it, but because it might not work. We don't interact with strange ideas, new cuisines or people who share different values because those interactions might make us uncomfortable...

Funny looking tomatoes, people who don't look like us, interactions where we might not get a yes...

Growth is messy and dangerous. Life is messy and dangerous. When we insist on a guarantee, an ever-increasing standard in everything we measure and a Hollywood ending, we get none of those.

The selfish cynic

Cynics are hard to disappoint. Because they imagine the worst in people and situations, reality rarely lets them down. Cynicism is a way to rehearse the let-downs the world has in store--before they arrive.

And the cynic chooses this attitude at the expense of the group. Because he can't bear to be disappointed, he shares his rehearsed disappointment with the rest of us, slowing down projects, betting on lousy outcomes and dampening enthusiasm.

Someone betting on the worst outcomes is going to be correct now and then, but that doesn't mean we need to have him on our team. I'd rather work with people brave enough to embrace possible futures at the expense of being disappointed now and then.

Don't expect kudos or respect for being a cynic. It's selfish.

The problem with "just"

A few people have dropped me notes referring to the notion that I encourage people to just ship it.

Ship it, certainly. If you don't meet the market, if you don't open yourself to the input and reaction of those you seek to serve and influence, you've done nothing much.

But, "just"?

Not going to let you off the hook with that. The just implies a throwaway. The just has a, "what the hell," element to it. With "just" in the mix, the alternatives seem to be: polish, improve, focus on quality OR just throw it out there.

Nope.

You ship. You ship your best work, when it's ready. Not after it's ready, not when it's too late to make a difference, and yes, of course, not when it's sloppy or unformed.

But you ship. You're on the hook, you made this, it's ready. Ship. Without excuses.

The complaining customer doesn't want a refund

He wants a connection, an apology and some understanding. He wants to know why you made him feel stupid or ripped off or disrespected, and why it's not going to happen again.

If you have a department that sends out form letters and refund coupons, what you've done is built the ability, at scale, to get rid of people who are giving you a second chance.

When the refund for the broken M&M's or the artificially flavored nuts that should have been delicious, or the $20 inconvenience fee in exchange for the torture you put a frequent flyer through arrives, you've basically sent a form letter that says, "goodbye."

Which is your choice, of course, but if you think that this expression of goodwill is going to be seen as goodwill, you're wrong.

Try candor or inviting them to an online focus group. Perhaps try being human. Try giving them a chance to be a voice of the concerned, energetic customer, a voice that needs to be heard by people who actually make decisions.

Ambassadors and treaties

A great ambassador doesn't show up in a foreign land and start complaining about how everything here is so different. She doesn't insist that people start acting the way they act back home. And most of all, she welcomes the idea that people might have different goals and desires than the people she grew up with--in fact, different than she has.

And every great treaty causes both signatories to change something substantial, something important, in exchange for accomplishing a bigger goal via cooperation.

Your customers need an ambassador. Someone who is open to hearing what they have, need and want, not merely a marketer intent on selling them a particular point of view. Once you understand someone, it's much easier to bring them something that benefits everyone.

And your partners need you to honor the spirit and intent of the deals you do with them. The goal of a long-term relationship isn't to find the loophole that lets you do what you want. Instead, figure out what you're giving up and what you're getting in return.

Companies (and countries) often under-invest in ambassadors and under-value the promises they make in treaties. In the connection economy, it now makes sense to over-invest instead.

Marketing good...

or good good?

Marketing good is the McMansion that looks good at an open house but isn't particularly well built or designed for actual living.

Marketing good is the catalog of gimcracks and doodads that entices the casual shopper but sells stuff that ends up in a closet.

Marketing good is the cover of a magazine decreed by the number crunchers in the newsstand sales group, not the editors and the readers they care about.

Marketing good is sensational or edgy or somehow catchy, but is a service that never gets renewed.

As you've guessed, marketing good isn't actually marketing good, not any more. It's just junk.

Second and third order recommendations and word of mouth and the way we talk about the things that are "good good" is the new marketing.

Your initial response rate, newsstand sales or first episode ratings are a measure of old-fashioned marketing prowess. Now, we care an awful lot more about just plain good. Or perhaps, if you really want to make an impact, great.

Post...

Post industrial

Post Top 40

Post newspaper

Post privacy

Post career

Post temperate

Post curation

Post postal

Post cushy

Post gatekeeper

Post sectarian

Post meat

Post picked

Post middle class

If you were hoping for a future that wasn't like the past, where you had no real choice but to carve your own path and make a mark, here it is.

"I don't get it"

Who is teaching us to look deeper?

If you read a blog post, and it begins with an analogy about car dealers, is your instinct to say, "well, I'm not a car dealer..." and then jump to the next post?

When you see something working (or not working) in the marketplace, something you don't understand, do you stop to figure out why it's working (or not working)? Or is it easier to change the attention channel and get back into line?

I've discovered (the hard way) three rules for writing a blog post that will spread:

  • Don't use unfamiliar words or concepts.
  • Avoid subtlety.
  • Try not to challenge deeply held beliefs.

Education, politics, marketing, tourist attractions--they all seem to work better when we keep people moving, behind the velvet rope, input & output, cause and effect, this then that. When the masses conform to the system we've built, the system works a whole lot better.

But who wants to be a cog in that machine? While playing it safe might work, where does it get us?

The best opportunity you've got to grow and to make an impact is to seek out the, "I don't get it," moments, and then work at it and noodle on it and discuss it until you do get it. Analogies and metaphors are your friends. Dense lyrics, almost indecipherable prose, mysterious successes--these are the places where you will leap forward.

I know there is now an infinite amount of media to choose from, an infinite number of experiences to have. But if you skip over the ones that aren't spoon fed to you, all you'll end up with is eating from a spoon.

Time doesn't exist until we invent it

The transcontinental railroads led to the invention of time zones. For the first time, everyone needed to be in sync, regardless of what village one lived in.

A few generations later, we're in all in sync, to the second, thanks to the computers in our pockets.

Time is borrowed, wasted, spent. We find the time, slow down time, take our time. Its Miller, quitting, clobberin time. We focus on the stitch in time, hard time, closing time, not to mention big, daylight savings, race against, first, last, due, nick of...

Time is so variable, so based on our experience, that the absolute measure of time is almost meaningless. Don't even get me started about relativity and time travel.

Time on a long bus trip goes so much slower than time spent doing what we love with people we care about. We'll pay $1000 to buy an hour in some circumstances, but refuse to pay a $5 premium to save an hour in others.

Time doesn't exist, not in a way that matters to most people. The story we tell ourselves about time, though, is the overriding narrative of our day to day lives.

The opposite of 'defenseless'

It might be defended, or defensive.

If you're asking for feedback or coaching or an education, neither is going to help you very much.

The person who has ideas that are well defended isn't going to be able to listen carefully for the lessons that can help him change those ideas.

And the person who is defensive not only won't hear the ideas, but he'll push away anyone generous enough to share them.

Defenseless is the best choice for those seeking to grow.

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