Tag Archives: Seth Godin

The worst voice of the brand *is* the brand by Seth Godin

The worst voice of the brand *is* the brand
By Seth Godin
April 3, 2011

We either ignore your brand or we judge it, usually with too little information. And when we judge it, we judge it based on the actions of the loudest, meanest, most selfish member of your tribe.

When a zealot advocates violence, outsiders see all members of his tribe as advocates of violence.

When a doctor rips off Medicare, all doctors are seen as less trustworthy.

When a fundamentalist advocates destruction of outsiders, all members of that organization are seen as intolerant.

When a soldier commits freelance violence, all citizens of his nation are seen as violent.

When a car rental franchise rips off a customer, all outlets of the franchise suffer.

Seems obvious, no? I wonder, then, why loyal and earnest members of the tribe hesitate to discipline, ostracize or expel the negative outliers.

“You’re hurting us, this is wrong, we are expelling you.”

What do you stand for?

Reprinted with permission from the author

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Reject the tyranny of being picked: pick yourself

Reject the tyranny of being picked: pick yourself

by Seth Godin

Reprinted with permission

Amanda Hocking is making a million dollars a year publishing her own work to the Kindle.  No publisher.

Rebecca Black has reached more than 15,000,000 listeners, like it or not, without a record label.

Are we better off without gatekeepers?  Well, it was gatekeepers that brought us the unforgettable lyrics of Terry Jacks in 1974, and it’s gatekeepers that are spending a fortune bringing out pop songs and books that don’t sell.

I’m not sure that this is even the right question. Whether or not we’re better off, the fact is that the gatekeepers–the pickers–are reeling, losing power and fading away. What are you going to do about it?

It’s a cultural instinct to wait to get picked. To seek out the permission and authority that comes from a publisher or talk show host or even a blogger saying, “I pick you.”  Once you reject that impulse and realize that no one is going to select you–that Prince Charming has chosen another house–then you can actually get to work.

If you’re hoping that the HR people you sent your resume to are about to pick you, it’s going to be a long wait.  Once you understand that there are problems just waiting to be solved, once you realize that you have all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound.

No one is going to pick you.  Pick yourself.

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Filed under Believe in Yourself, Blogging, Branding, Freedom, FreshThinking, Re-Invent Yourself, Reinventing Yourelf, Seth Godin

Seth Godin: 30%, the long tail and a future of serialized content

Seth Godin: 30%, the long tail and a future of serialized content
February 25, 2011

Republished with permission of Seth Godin

The 1960s and 70s were the golden age of magazines. Why?

  • Lots of people wanted to read them
  • The newsstand could only hold a few of them (barrier to entry permits some to win)
  • The winners had no trouble selling ads because they had motivated readers, in quantity
  • The cost of making one more edition of the magazine was relatively low

Enter tablets. To some, it feels like the dawn of a new golden age. People page through apps like Wired and gasp at the pretty pictures and cool features. Surely, we’re going to recreate that moment.

Here’s the problem, and here’s how Apple is making it much worse:

The newsstand is infinite. That means that far more titles will have far fewer subscribers. There are more than 60,000 apps on the newsstand. Hard to be in the short head when the long tail is so long…

plus, the cost of each issue is far higher, because it costs a lot more to pay a videographer, a video editor, a programmer, etc. than it does to pay John Updike to write 4,000 words…

plus, advertisers are harder to come by, because the number of readers is always going to be lower than it was back then, and the ads are easier to skip.

Of course, the good news is that the publisher doesn’t have to pay for paper, so the profit on each subscriber ought to be way higher. Except…

Except Apple has announced that they want to tax each subscription made via the iPad at 30%. Yes, it’s a tax, because what it does is dramatically decrease the incremental revenue from each subscriber. An intelligent publisher only has two choices: raise the price (punishing the reader and further cutting down readership) or make it free and hope for mass (see my point above about the infinite newsstand). When you make it free, it’s all about the ads, and if you don’t reach tens or hundreds of thousands of subscribers, you’ll fail.

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Familiarity Breeds Respect

Familiarity breeds respect
By Seth Godin

Reprinted with Permission

It’s nice to sign a letter, “sincerely yours,” but far more powerful, I think, to sign it, “with respect.” It says something compelling about the recipient, something earned.

I realized the other day that I’d been working with the trio of Megan, Corey and Gil at Squidoo for five years, since we founded the company. And that I’ve been with Anne, my trusted bookkeeper, for more than ten years, David at GTN for almost as long, and Lisa, my agent, for more than seventeen. In an amazing bit of time travel, I’ve been doing projects with my friend Red for more than thirty.

Over time, you don’t just come to trust valued colleagues like these, they also earn respect. Once you understand someone’s sensibilities and goals, it’s natural to see the world through their eyes and to embrace their motives and tactics. Once you’ve seen their work under pressure and in quieter moments, you get a sense for what they believe in. In a world of quick projects and short engagements, this sort of relationship is priceless.

It’s easier than ever to start relationships that can turn into ones like these. Just as hard as its ever been to make them last.

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In and out

In and out
by Seth Godin

Reprinted with Permission

That’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make today.

How much time and effort should be spent on intake, on inbound messages, on absorbing data…

and how much time and effort should be invested in output, in creating something new.

There used to be a significant limit on available intake. Once you read all the books in the college library on your topic, it was time to start writing.

Now that the availability of opinions, expertise and email is infinite, I think the last part of that sentence is the most important:

Time to start writing.

Or whatever it is you’re not doing, merely planning on doing.

 

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The Domino Project

Note: Seth Godin is one of my favorite authors/bloggers and has given me permission to post his articles on my blog.  I believe he is very forward thinking and can help you grow your business by upstanding how technology is changing and suggesting ways for you to adapt.  I recommend that you follow his blogs or read one of his books and find out if you are a fan as well.
Andrew R. Spriegel

The Domino Project
by Seth Godin

Book publishing is changing. It’s changing faster than it has in a hundred years. I’ve been persistent enough to be part of that change, provoking and poking and wondering about what comes next.

Today, I’m thrilled to report on what’s next for me.

  • To reinvent the way books are created when the middleman is made less important.
  • To reinvent the way books are purchased when the tribe is known and embraced.
  • To reinvent the way books are read when the alternatives are so much easier to find.
  • To find and leverage great ideas and great authors, bringing them to readers who need them.

The notion of the paper book as merely a package for information is slowly becoming obsolete. There must be other reasons on offer, or smart people will go digital, or read something free. The book is still an ideal tool for the hand-to-hand spreading of important ideas, though. The point of the book is to be spread, to act as a manifesto, to get in sync with others, to give and to get and to hand around.

Our goal is to offer ideas that people need and want to spread, to enjoy and to hold and to own, and to change conversations.

Working with a great team at Amazon, I’m launching a new publishing venture called The Domino Project. I think it fundamentally changes many of the rules of publishing trade non-fiction.

Trade publishing (as opposed to textbooks or other non-consumer ventures) has always been about getting masses of people to know about, understand and read your books. The business has been driven by several foundational principles:

1. The middleman (the bookstore) has a great deal of power. There’s only a limited amount of shelf space, and there are more books (far more books) than we have room for. No display, no sale. That’s one reason books are published with the economically ridiculous model of 100% returns from bookstores. Huge stores can carry thousands of books and return them if they don’t sell. Large chains get a say about what’s on the cover, what the title is, and they even get paid for shelf displays.

2. The audience (the reader) is largely unknown to the publisher, and thus to the author. Authors with large followings still have to start over with each book, because they don’t have permission (or the data) to contact loyal readers directly.

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The inevitable decline due to clutter

The inevitable decline due to clutter
By Seth Godin

Digital media expands. It’s not like paper, it can get bigger.

As digital marketers seek to increase profits, they almost always make the same mistake. They continue to add more clutter, messaging and offers, because, hey, it’s free.

One more link, one more banner, one more side deal on the Groupon page.

Economics tells us that the right thing to do is run the factory until the last item produced is being sold at marginal cost. In other words, keep adding until it doesn’t work any more.

In fact, human behavior tells us that this is a more permanent effect than we realize. Once you overload the user, you train them not to pay attention. More clutter isn’t free. In fact, more clutter is a permanent shift, a desensitization to all the information, not just the last bit.

And it’s hard to go backward.

More is not always better. In fact, more is almost never better.

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