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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

All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing

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free.prize.inside

Free Prize Inside

The practical sequel to Purple Cow

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linchpin

Linchpin

An instant bestseller, the book that brings all of Seth's ideas together.

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meatball.sundae

Meatball Sundae

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

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permission.marketing

Permission Marketing

The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.

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poke.the.box

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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purple.cow

Purple Cow

The worldwide bestseller. Essential reading about remarkable products and services.

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small.is.the.new.big

Small is the New Big

A long book filled with short pieces from Fast Company and the blog. Guaranteed to make you think.

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survival.is.not.enough

Survival is Not Enough

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

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the.big.moo

The Big Moo

All for charity. Includes original work from Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Peters and Promise Phelon.

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the.big.red.fez

The Big Red Fez

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

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the.dip

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

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

Tribes

"Book of the year," a perennial bestseller about leading, connecting and creating movements.

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unleashing.the.ideavirus

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

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

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

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.

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THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin




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« November 2013 | Main | January 2014 »

Trash talking important work

The self-induced anxiety formula often goes like this: What I'm about to do is important. I've never done it quite like this. It's incredibly crucial, a turning point, a high risk venture, a moment in time I won't have again. Therefore, I am nervous. And I need to get more nervous, because the importance of the moment warrants it. This is going to fail. I can vividly picture all the ways it won't work...

On and on.

A common approach to decreasing the unhappy cycle is self talk to minimize how important the upcoming event is. The mantra is: No one will be watching, I'm exaggerating this moment, it's no big deal, it's not as important as you think, it doesn't really matter...

The problem with that approach is that you spend your day trash talking your leverage and impact. By actively diminishing what you've accomplished, you make it less likely you'll see yourself as worthy of even bigger achievements tomorrow.

In fact, it does matter. In fact, this is an important thing you're about to do, and denigrating it undermines the very reason you're doing this work in the first place.

Here's an alternative: It's okay to be nervous. Instead of fighting that anxiety, dance with it. Welcome it. Relish it. It's a sign you're on to something. "Oh good, here comes that itch!" This is important after all.

When we welcome a feeling like this, when we embrace it and actually look forward to it, the feeling doesn't get louder and more debilitating. It softens, softens to the point where we can work with it.

Use your fear like fuel.

The tribe or the person?

A parade of tourists is going to walk past your store today. Each is a separate opportunity for you to tell a story, to engage, to make a sale.

A connected community of readers is going to read what you wrote today. A cultural shift will occur among a small group of people because they will share, discuss and engage with each other about what you wrote.

Here's the key question: are you trying to change an individual or are you trying to incite/inspire/redirect the tribe?

Direct marketers traditionally deal with separate events. Each catalog, each clickable ad is a unique transaction. In the world of separates, the simple test makes sense. You don't pollute the pool when you try different transactions or different products with different people.

If you focus on individuals (and many marketers do) then the rule is: treat different people differently.

On the other hand, many marketers deal with culture. You put something into the world and it won't work until it 'catches on'. The goal is to catch on with the herd. Catching on isn't a 1:1 private transaction. It's a group phenomenon, a place where you don't get a second chance to make a first impression. The simple test makes no sense here--it's either good enough to spread or it isn't. There aren't as many distinct threshholds, because the culture shifts or it doesn't.

When I ran Yoyodyne years ago, all of our email campaigns were aimed at the person. It was before significant online sharing, and we could measure one by one how people responded to our work.

At the same time, our backers and our clients were very much part of a tribe. We needed to change the way an entire industry thought, not merely make one sale at a time. It took me a while to realize that I had to market differently when I was trying to change the way the group thought—treating the tribe using individual-person thinking almost always backfires.

Or consider two non-profits. One wants to change only those it serves and those that fund it, one transaction at a time. Those are person effects. The other wants to change society, the culture, the way philanthropists think--those are tribal effects.

Many marketers, particularly bootstrappers and freelancers, rarely have the resources to invest in tribal effects, particularly among customers (as opposed to funders or employees). They don't have the resources or the leverage to make unmeasured investments that one day will pop into a change among the entire tribe.

The flip side, if you seek to change the culture (or a tiny tribal element of the culture), your timeframe and what you measure have to be focused on the conversation, not the individual.

If you're tracking landing pages and conversions and even market share, you're probably in the business of working at the person level. The more difficult, time-consuming, unmeasurable work involves creating ideas that spread among the tribe you target.

To change the culture, change the conversation.

Speaking in public: two errors that lead to fear

1. You believe that you are being actively judged

2. You believe that the subject of the talk is you

When you stand up to give a speech, there's a temptation to believe that the audience is actually interested in you.

This just isn't true. (Or if it is, it doesn't benefit you to think that it is).

You are not being judged, the value of what you are bringing to the audience is being judged. The topic of the talk isn't you, the topic of the talk is the audience, and specifically, how they can use your experience and knowledge to achieve their objectives.

When a professional singer sings a song of heartbreak, his heart is not breaking in that moment. His performance is for you, not for him. (The infinite self-reference loop here is that the professional singer finds what he needs when you find what you need.)

The members of the audience are interested in themselves. The audience wants to know what they can use, what they can learn, or at the very least, how they can be entertained.

If you dive into your (irrelevant to the listener) personal hurdles, if you try to justify what you've done, if you find yourself aswirl in a whirlpool of the resistance, all you're providing is a little schadenfreude as a form of entertainment.

On the other hand, if you realize that you have a chance to be generous in this moment, to teach and to lead, you can leave the self-doubt behind and speak a truth that the audience needs to hear. When you bring that to people who need it, your fear pales in comparison.

Media you choose to do is always about the audience. That's why you're doing it. The faster we get over ourselves, the sooner we can do a good job for those tuning in.

It probably looks higher from up there

When we find ourselves on the edge of a precipice, looking down at the depths of the chasm below, it's easy to think that this time we went too far, that our plan is far too risky, that our product is way too bizarre, that our behavior is just too weird...

The funny thing about perspective is that most bystanders don't see you standing on a precipice at all. They see someone doing something a little edgy, but by no means nuts.

Just about all commercial behavior is banal. Even in movies that deal with businesspeople, the characters don't dream nearly big enough about one's ability to change the culture or the enterprise.

You're far more likely to go not-far-enough than you are to go too far.

Internal monologue amplifies personal drama. To the outsider, neither exists. That's why our ledge-walking rarely attracts a crowd. What's in your head is real, no doubt about it, but that doesn't mean the rest of us can see the resistance you are battling (or care about it).

« November 2013 | Main | January 2014 »