Seth Godin has been influential in the lives of many of us for many, many reasons. However, his influence typically begins with something that he has written. In honor of his 50th birthday, I decided to collect a random sample of some of Seth’s best quotes. I was assisted in this project by Marcos Gaser, Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg, Ben Love, and Donna von Hoesslin who contributed to this collection of wisdom from Seth.
I’m sure that there are many other quotes to offer. Here are 50 to inspire and guide us all.Thank you Seth for sharing the best of yourself with us.
A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate. ... Tribes need leadership. Sometimes one person leads, sometimes more. People want connection and growth and something new. They want change. ... You can't have a tribe without a leader - and you can't be a leader without a tribe.
The media wants overnight successes (so they have someone to tear down). Ignore them. Ignore the early adopter critics that never have enough to play with. Ignore your investors that want proven tactics and predictable instant results. Listen instead to your real customers, to your vision and make something for the long haul. Because that's how long it's going to take, guys.
What happens when you define a win as getting closer to someone who wants the same thing? Or when you define it as improvement over time? Or in creating trust?
Marketing by interrupting people isn’t cost-effective anymore. You can’t afford to seek out people and send them unwanted marketing messages, in large groups, and hope that some will send you money. Instead, the future belongs to marketers who establish a foundation and process where interested people can market to each other. Ignite consumer networks and then get out of the way and let them talk.Unleashing the Idea Virus
5“…Acknowledge to yourself that the factory job is dead.”
“Having a factory job is not a natural state. It wasn’t at the heart of being human until very recently. We’ve been culturally brainwashed”.
6The linchpin is an individual who can walk into chaos and create order, someone who can invent, connect, create, and make things happen. Every worthwhile institution has indispensable people who make differences like these.
7"You have everything you need to build something far bigger than yourself."
8When exactly were you brainwashed into believing that the best way to earn a living is to have a job?
Brainwashed, ChangeThis Manifesto
9The good news is that more than ever, value accrues to those that show up, those that make a difference, those that do work that matters.
Human beings can't help it: we need to belong. One of the most powerful of our survival mechanisms is to be part of a tribe, to contribute to (and take from) a group of like-minded people. We are drawn to leaders and to their ideas, and we can't resist the rush of belonging and the thrill of the new. ... We want to belong not to just one tribe, it turns out, but to many. And if you give us tools and make it easy, we'll keep joining. Tribes make our lives better. And leading a tribe is the best life of all.
11Ideas aren’t a sideshow that make our factory a little more valuable. Our factory is a sideshow that makes our ideas a little more valuable!
Unleashing the Idea Virus
12Our job is to make change. Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go. Every time we waste that opportunity, every page or sentence that doesn’t do enough to advance the cause is waste.
13If you're remarkable, then it's likely that some people won't like you. That's part of the definition of remarkable. Nobody gets unanimous praise -- ever. The best the timid can hope for is to be unnoticed. Criticism comes to those who stand out.
Playing it safe. Following the rules. They seem like the best ways to avoid failure. Alas, that pattern is awfully dangerous. The current marketing "rules" will ultimately lead to failure. In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.
In Praise of the Purple Cow, FastCompany
14Turn strangers into friends.
Turn friends into donors
And then... do the most important job:
Turn your donors into fundraisers.
Flipping the Funnel
15As our society gets more complex and our people get more complacent, the role of the jester is more vital than ever before. Please stop sitting around. We need you to make a ruckus.
16Fear for a linchpin is a clue that you’re getting close to doing something important.
17Excellence isn’t about meeting the spec, it’s about setting the spec. It defines what the consumer sees as quality right this minute, and tomorrow, if you’re good, you’ll reset that expectation again.
18The easiest thing is to react.
The second easiest is to respond.
But the hardest thing is to initiate.
19Heretics are engaged, passionate, and more powerful and happier than everyone else. And they have a tribe that they support (and that supports them in return.)
20Without leaders, there are no followers.
Tribes are about faith - about belief in an idea and in a community. And they are grounded in respect and admiration for the leader of the tribe and for the other members as well.
Do you believe in what you do? Every day? It turns out that belief happens to be a brilliant strategy.
Three things have happened, pretty much at the same time. All three points to the same (temporarily uncomfortable, but ultimately marvelous) outcome:
1. Many people are starting to realize that they work a lot and that working on stuff they believe in (and making things happen) is much more satisfying than just getting a paycheck and waiting to get fired (or die).
2. Many organizations have discovered that the factory-centric model of producing goods and services is not nearly as profitable as it used to be.
3. Many consumers have decided to spend their money buying things that are factory-produced commodities. And they've decided not to spend their time embracing off-the shelf ideas. Consumers have decided, instead, to spend time and money on fashion, on stories, on things that matter, and on things they believe in.
21The indispensable employee brings humanity and connection and art to her organization. She is the key player, the one who’s difficult to live without, the person you can build something around.
22You can’t—or you don’t want to? I’ll accept the second. It’s quite possible that you don’t want to. It’s possible that making this commitment is too scary or too much work…Perhaps you don’t want to because it feels financially irresponsible. I think that’s an error in judgment on your part, since becoming a linchpin is in fact the most financially responsible choice you can make.
23The act of giving someone a smile, of connecting to a human, of taking initiative, of being surprising, of being creative, of putting on a show—these are things that we do for free all our lives. And then we get to work and we expect to merely do what we’re told and get paid for it.
24Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient.
25The resistance is the voice in your head telling you to use bullets in your PowerPoint slides…It’s the voice that tells you to leave controversial ideas out of the paper you’re writing, because the teacher won’t like them. The resistance pushes relentlessly for you to fit in.
26Cogs see a job, linchpin see a platform. Every interaction, every assignment is a chance to make a change, a chance to delight or surprise or to touch someone.
27Excellence means that you are indispensable. At least right now, in this moment, there’s no one else I would choose but you.
28Linchpin is Purple Cow for people. Someone worth talking about, someone worth crossing the street to say hello to, someone who refuses to be an interchangeable cog in a vast machine. This isn’t easy to do, which is precisely why it’s worth so much.
29Faith in yourself, in your friends, in your colleagues and most of all, faith in your ability to impact our future is the best strategy I know.
30"How was your day?" is a question that matters a lot more than it seems.
31The linchpin insists on making a difference, on leading, on connecting with others and doing something I call art. The linchpin is the indispensable one, the one the company can’t live without. This is about humanity, not compliance.
32So, what's my best advice?
Build an asset. Large numbers of influential people who read your blog or read your emails or watch your TV show or love your restaurant or or or...
Then, put your idea into a format where it will spread fast. That could be an ebook (a free one) or a pamphlet (a cheap one--the Joy of Jello sold millions and millions of copies at a dollar or less).
Then, if your idea catches on, you can sell the souvenir edition. The book. The thing people keep on their shelf or lend out or get from the library. Books are wonderful (I own too many!) but they're not necessarily the best vessel for spreading your idea.
And the punchline, of course, is that if you do all these things, you won't need a publisher. And that's exactly when a publisher will want you! That's the sort of author publishers do the best with.
33Hope without a strategy doesn’t generate leadership. Leadership comes when your hope and your optimism are matched with a concrete vision of the future and a way to get there. People won’t follow you if they don’t believe you can get to where you say you’re going.
34Writing a book is a tremendous experience. It pays off intellectually. It clarifies your thinking. It builds credibility. It is a living engine of marketing and idea spreading, working every day to deliver your message with authority. You should write one.
* For the first time ever, everyone in an organization - not just the boss - is expected to lead.
* The very structure of today's workplace means that it's easier than ever to change things and that individuals have more leverage than ever before.
* The marketplace is rewarding organizations and individuals who change things and create remarkable products and services.
* It's engaging, thrilling, profitable, and fun.
* Most of all, there is a tribe of fellow employees or customers or investors or believers or hobbyists or readers just waiting for you to connect them to one another and lead them where they want to go.
Leadership isn't difficult, but you've been trained for years to avoid it.
36Fans, true fans, are hard to find and precious. Just a few can change everything. What they demand, though, is generosity and bravery.
37Two different things:
A crowd is a tribe without a leader.
A crowd is a tribe without communication.
Most organizations spend their time marketing to the crowd. Smart organizations assemble the tribe.
38Well, if you don’t have time to do it right, what makes you think you’ll have time to do it over?
39The system is pretty simple: Go for the edges. Challenge yourself and your team to describe what those edges are (not that you’d actually go there), and then test which edge is most likely to deliver the marketing and financial results you seek.
40Once you’ve managed to create something truly remarkable, the challenge is to do two things simultaneously.
* Milk the Cow for everything its worth. Figure out how to extend it and profit from it for as long as possible.
* Create an environment where you are likely to invent a new Purple Cow in time to replace the first one when its benefits inevitably trail off.
41What could you measure? What would that cost? How fast could you get the results? If you can afford it, try it. “If you measure it, it will improve.”
42We’ve been raised with a false belief. We mistakenly believe that criticism leads to failure. From the time we get to school, we’re taught that being noticed is almost always bad. It gets us sent to the principal’s office, not to Harvard.
43All our successes are the same. All our failures, too.
We succeed when we do something remarkable.
We fail when we give up too soon.
We succeed when we are the best in the world at what we do.
We fail when we get distracted by task we don’t have the guts to quit.
44Seven Reasons You Might Fail to Become the Best in the World.
You run out of time (and quit).
You run out of money (and quit).
You get scared (and quit).
You’re not serious about it (and quit).
You lose interest or enthusiasm or settle for being mediocre (and quit).
You focus on the short term instead of the long (and quit when the short term gets too hard).
You pick the wrong thing at which to be the best in the world (because you don’t have the talent).
45What Every Good Marketer Knows:
* Anticipated, personal and relevant advertising always does better than unsolicited junk.
* Making promises and keeping them is a great way to build a brand.
* Your best customers are worth far more than your average customers.
* Share of wallet is easier, more profitable and ultimately more effective a measure than share of market.
* Marketing begins before the product is created.
* Advertising is just a symptom, a tactic. Marketing is about far more than that.
* Low price is a great way to sell a commodity. That’s not marketing, though, that’s efficiency.
* Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing
* encourages the right sort of conversations.
* Products that are remarkable get talked about.
* Marketing is the way your people answer the phone, the typesetting on your bills and your returns policy.
* You can’t fool all the people, not even most of the time. And people, once unfooled, talk about the experience.
* If you are marketing from a fairly static annual budget, you’re viewing marketing as an expense. Good marketers
* realize that it is an investment.
* People don’t buy what they need. They buy what they want.
* You’re not in charge. And your prospects don’t care about you.
* What people want is the extra, the emotional bonus they get when they buy something they love.
* Business to business marketing is just marketing to consumers who happen to have a corporation to pay for what they
* Traditional ways of interrupting consumers (TV ads, trade show booths, junk mail) are losing their cost-effectiveness.
* At the same time, new ways of spreading ideas (blogs, permission-based RSS information, consumer fan clubs) are
* quickly proving how well they work.
* People all over the world, and of every income level, respond to marketing that promises and delivers basic human
* Good marketers tell a story.
* People are selfish, lazy, uninformed and impatient. Start with that and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
* Marketing that works is marketing that people choose to notice.
* Effective stories match the worldview of the people you are telling the story to.
* Choose your customers. Fire the ones that hurt your ability to deliver the right story to the others.
* A product for everyone rarely reaches much of anyone.
* Living and breathing an authentic story is the best way to survive in a conversation-rich world.
* Marketers are responsible for the side effects their products cause.
* Reminding the consumer of a story they know and trust is a powerful shortcut.
* Good marketers measure.
* Marketing is not an emergency. It’s a planned, thoughtful exercise that started a long time ago and doesn’t end until you’re done.
* One disappointed customer is worth ten delighted ones.
* In the googleworld, the best in the world wins more often, and wins more.
* Most marketers create good enough and then quit. Greatest beats good enough every time.
* There are more rich people than ever before, and they demand to be treated differently.
* Organizations that manage to deal directly with their end users have an asset for the future.
* You can game the social media in the short run, but not for long.
* You market when you hire and when you fire. You market when you call tech support and you market every time you send a memo.
* Blogging makes you a better marketer because it teaches you humility in your writing.
Obviously, knowing what to do is very, very different than actually doing it.
46If your goal is to be big, thereʼs no doubt that taking every gig you can makes sense.
Pricing for the masses, building the biggest factory and running as fast as you can is
the very best way to get big. And if big equals successful, youʼre done. Many of us
have realized, though, that big doesnʼt equal successful.
If success (for you) is a decent (or indecent) wage plus the time to do really good work and enjoy both your job and your family, then perhaps youʼre trying too hard and doing too much.
Perhaps you need to be a lot pickier in what you do and for who you do it.
Do Less – ChangeThis Manifesto
47What does a leader look like?
I’ve met leaders all over the world, on several continents, and in every profession. I’ve met young leaders and old ones, leaders with big tribes and tiny ones.
I can tell you this: leaders have nothing in common.
They don’t share gender or income level or geography. There’s no gene, no schooling, no parentage, no profession. In other words, leaders aren’t born. I’m sure of it.
Actually, they do have one thing in common. Every tribe leader I’ve met shares one thing: the decision to lead.
48... it takes only two things to turn a group of people into a tribe:
* A shared interest
* A way to communicate
The communication can be one of four kinds:
* Leader to tribe
* Tribe to leader
* Tribe member to tribe member
* Tribe member to outsider
So a leader can help increase the effectiveness of the tribe and its members by
* transforming the shared interest into a passionate goal and desire for change;
* providing tools to allow members to tighten their communications; and
* leveraging the tribe to allow it to grow and gain new members.
Most leaders focus only on the third tactic. A bigger tribe somehow equals a better tribe. In fact, the first two tactics almost always lead to more impact. Every action you take as a leader can affect these three elements, and the challenge is to figure out which one to maximize.
49Great leaders create movements by empowering the tribe to communicate. They establish the foundation for people to make connections, as opposed to commanding people to follow them.
50Some of my books have been short... one was under a hundred pages long. It could certainly have been a series of blog posts. And the posts might even have reached more people than the book ultimately did. If my blog posts were counted on the same metrics as bestselling books, every single one would be a New York Times bestseller. Yours too, most likely.
Books don't sell that many copies.
The goal isn't always to spread an idea. Sometimes the goal is to make change happen. A book is a physical souvenir, a concrete instantiation of your ideas in a physical object, something that gives your ideas substance and allows them to travel.
Out of context, a 140 character tweet cannot change someone's life. A blog post might (I can think of a few that changed the way I think about business and even life). A movie can, but most big movies are inane entertainments designed to
make a lot of money, not change people. But books?
The reason I wrote Linchpin: If you want to change people, you must create enough leverage to encourage the change to happen.
Books change lives every day. A book takes more than a few minutes to read. A book envelopes us, it is relentless in its voice and in its linearity. You start at the beginning and you either ride with the author to the end or you bail. And unlike just about any form of electronic media, you get to read the book at your own pace, absorbing it as you go.
I published a book today. My biggest and most important and most personal and most challenging book. A book that scared me.
It took me ten years to write this book. I'm hoping it changes a few people.