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Preview: Seth's Blog

Seth Godin's Blog on marketing, tribes and respect



Seth Godin's riffs on marketing, respect, and the ways ideas spread.



Updated: 2017-06-26T05:08:00-04:00

 



Training customers

2017-06-26T05:08:00-04:00

If you frequently run last-minute sales, don't be surprised if your customers stop buying things in advance. You're training them to wait. If you announce things six or seven times, getting louder each time, don't be surprised if your customers...

If you frequently run last-minute sales, don't be surprised if your customers stop buying things in advance. You're training them to wait.

If you announce things six or seven times, getting louder each time, don't be surprised if your customers ignore the first few announcements. You've trained them to expect you'll yell if it's important.

If you don't offer someone a raise until they find a new job and quit, don't be surprised if your employees start looking for new jobs.

The way you engage with your customers (students/bosses/peers) trains them on what to expect from interactions with you.

Drip, drip, drip.

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Better than it needs to be

2017-06-25T05:21:00-04:00

Why not? Why not make it more generous, more fair, more insightful than it needs to be? Why not deliver the service with more flair, more care and more urgency? Why not do it because you can, not because you...

Why not?

Why not make it more generous, more fair, more insightful than it needs to be? Why not deliver the service with more flair, more care and more urgency?

Why not do it because you can, not because you have to...

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You are more powerful than you think

2017-06-24T04:26:00-04:00

Highlights from an annotated list of 17 rules for the new world of work: You are more powerful than you think It’s bigger than you Leaders are made, not born Leveling up is a choice They say you can’t, we...

Highlights from an annotated list of 17 rules for the new world of work:

You are more powerful than you think
It’s bigger than you
Leaders are made, not born
Leveling up is a choice
They say you can’t, we know you can
Dance with fear
See, assert, change
Overwhelmed is temporary
Out loud, in public
Hard work is far better than busy work
The crowd is wrong. The critics are wrong. Useful feedback is precious...
Management matters. So does leadership...
“Here, I made this.” Or possibly, “Here, we made this.”
See the end before you begin the journey
Culture defeats everything
It’s personal

Applications are now open for the next two sessions of the proven altMBA workshop. It's time to level up.

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"Is judgment involved?"

2017-06-23T04:22:00-04:00

No judgment, no responsibility. No responsibility, no risk. There's a fork in the road. If you seek out roles without responsibility, you might just find a sinecure. This is the hot job for undifferentiated job seekers at the placement office,...        No judgment, no responsibility. No responsibility, no risk. There's a fork in the road. If you seek out roles without responsibility, you might just find a sinecure.  This is the hot job for undifferentiated job seekers at the placement office, the job where a famous company will tell you what to do all day. Alas, those are the jobs that will be deleted first. The jobs that come with little in the way of respect or stability. These are the jobs that big companies automate whenever they can, or create enough rules to avoid any variation if they can't. The other choice is a job loaded with judgment calls. One where it's extremely likely you'll make a decision you regret, and get blamed for it. One where you take responsibility instead of waiting for authority. It turns out that those are the best jobs of all. [PS if you're organizing for social good, consider applying for this free program from Civic Hall in New York. I hope to see you there.]         [...]



Staring at the numbers

2017-06-22T04:05:00-04:00

Sometimes, you can learn a lot by watching. But not always. An alien observing our behavior in elevators would note that most of the time, a person gets in, approaches the front corner, leaves that corner, goes to the back...        Sometimes, you can learn a lot by watching. But not always. An alien observing our behavior in elevators would note that most of the time, a person gets in, approaches the front corner, leaves that corner, goes to the back and then stands silently, staring at the numbers above the door. Only one of those actions is actually required. If you don't push the button (or have someone push it for you) nothing happens. The rest—the moving to the back, standing silently and most of all, staring at the numbers—it's just for show, a cultural tradition. Most practices work this way. From eating in restaurants to marketing, we add all sorts of extraneous motion to our effort. Which is fine, unless you don't understand which ones actually matter to the outcome. Too often, we train people in the motions without giving them understanding. Then, when the world changes, we're stuck staring at the numbers going by, unable to find the insight to push a new kind of button.         [...]



Worth being afraid of

2017-06-21T04:24:00-04:00

We're pretty good at finding demons to be afraid of. The other. The one in the shadows. Change. The family member we can't possibly please. Competition. Critics. The invisible network of foes conspiring against us and what we stand for....

We're pretty good at finding demons to be afraid of.

  • The other.
  • The one in the shadows.
  • Change.
  • The family member we can't possibly please.
  • Competition.
  • Critics.
  • The invisible network of foes conspiring against us and what we stand for.

It turns out, though, that the one who usually lets us down is us.

Our unwillingness to leap, to commit, to trust our own abilities.

It's the internal narrative that seeks disaster just as much as it craves reassurance.

That's the one we ought to be vilifying, fortifying ourselves against and frightened of.

It gets less powerful once we are brave enough to look it in the eye.

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All it takes is effort

2017-06-19T17:16:10-04:00

Customer service used to be a great divide. Well-off companies would heavily invest in taking care of customers, others would do the minimum (or a bit less). Of course, back then, organizations couldn't possibly give you all the service you...        Customer service used to be a great divide. Well-off companies would heavily invest in taking care of customers, others would do the minimum (or a bit less). Of course, back then, organizations couldn't possibly give you all the service you might dream of. They can't all afford to answer the phone on one ring, it's expensive to hire enough operators and train them. And they certainly can't dedicate an operator just to you, someone who would know your history and recognize your voice. Today, though, when more and more of our engagements are digital, it doesn't take an endless, ongoing budget to delight people. All an organization needs to do is care enough (once) to design it properly. To make a process that is easy to use, clearly labeled and well designed.  To build a phone system that doesn't torture you and then delete everything you typed in. To put care into every digital interaction, even if it's easier to waste the user's time. [Insert story here of healthcare company, cable company or business that doesn't care enough to do it right. One where the committees made the process annoying. Or where the team didn't cycle one more time. Or where the urgency of the moment takes attention away from the long-term work of system design.  The thing is, if one company can do the tech right, then every organization with sufficient resources and motivation can do the tech right.] The punchline is simple: In consumer relations and service, good tech is free. It's free because it pays for itself in lower overhead and great consumer satisfaction and loyalty. But it requires someone to care enough to do it right. Perhaps we need to change the recording to, "due to unusually lazy or frustrated design and systems staff (and their uninvolved management), we're going to torture you every single time you interact with us. Thanks for your patience."         [...]



Winner take all

2017-06-19T04:19:00-04:00

Really? Almost nothing in our daily lives is actually a winner take all competition. Somewhere, there's someone fitter, faster, thinner, quicker, smarter, more popular or richer than you. And there's someone else fitter, faster, thinner, quicker, smarter, more popular or...

Really?

Almost nothing in our daily lives is actually a winner take all competition.

Somewhere, there's someone fitter, faster, thinner, quicker, smarter, more popular or richer than you. And there's someone else fitter, faster, thinner, quicker, smarter, more popular or richer than they are. And you're (far) ahead of someone else who is busy looking at you from behind.

And yet we see people angry because someone's passing their car, or gaining more followers online. They mistakenly believe it's a race. It rarely is.

If you can use your situation as fuel, fuel to dig in and care more and do better, by all means.

But if not, ignore it. Do your work, not theirs.

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A professional stumbler

2017-06-18T04:35:00-04:00

Leo's working hard to do something he's never done before. He's just turned one, and he doesn't know how to walk (yet). There are no really useful books or videos on how to walk. It's something he has to figure...

Leo's working hard to do something he's never done before. He's just turned one, and he doesn't know how to walk (yet).

There are no really useful books or videos on how to walk. It's something he has to figure out on his own. But instead of waiting on the couch until the day he's ready to proudly strut across the room, he's there, on the floor, every day, trying it out.

He's already discovered a hundred ways that don't work, and stumbled countless times.

But he persists.

I don't know about you, but this is precisely the way I learned how to walk as well.

In fact, it's the way I learned how to do just about everything important. By doing it.

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Blame Charles Mochet

2017-06-17T05:18:00-04:00

The standards of your industry and our culture were set a long time ago. So long ago that we often forget why... we forget and then we fail to change them. In 1934, the rules of bike racing were changed...        The standards of your industry and our culture were set a long time ago. So long ago that we often forget why... we forget and then we fail to change them. In 1934, the rules of bike racing were changed to ban recumbent bicycles. And that rule has stood for more than 80 years, because Charles Mochet made the mistake of giving his faster, safer bike to a cyclist who wasn't respected. To preserve the status of existing riders who had paid their dues, the governing bodies banned the bike forever. All of those riders are now dead, but the rule persists. Cars have two headlights because horse-drawn carriages had two lanterns. Of course you couldn't put a lantern in the middle, that's where the horse goes. Now, it's easy to make a bar of light, one that illuminates from edge to edge. And jobs used to be done by men, because statistically, it's easier to find people who can lift heavy objects among the males in the population. But now, most lifting isn't heavy, it requires insight and care instead. What else is still stuck?          [...]