Seth Godin's Blog - Posts from November 2015

  • Past performance is not indicative of future results

    This is clearly and demonstrably true of mutual funds. It's easy to confirm. And yet... We are very uncomfortable with randomness. So the newspaper does a 12 page section of mutual funds, filled with articles and ads and charts, all touting past performance. Superstition is what we call the belief in causation due to a mistaken correlation of unrelated data.

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 7 readers -
  • Election day

    Every day, people vote. They vote for brands, for habits, for the people they trust. They vote for where they will place their attention, their money and their time. The big difference is that you can do just fine in today's election without winning a majority of votes. M ...

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 8 readers -
  • A reason persuasion is surprisingly difficult

    Each of us understands that different people are swayed by different sorts of arguments, based on different ways of viewing the world. That seems sort of obvious. A toddler might want an orange juice because it's sweet, not because she's trying to avoid scurvy, which might be the argument that moves an intellectual but vitamin-starved sailor to take action. So far, so good.

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 10 readers -
  • All cases are special cases

    The art of the successful institution is figuring out which cases are special enough to deserve a fresh eye. It's virtually impossible to scale an institution that insists on making a new decision every time it encounters a new individual. On the other hand, what makes a bureaucracy stupid is its insistence tha ...

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 7 readers -
  • Iceland

    If every person in Iceland bought your product, loved your music, read your book, would it be enough? Iceland has a tiny population, but if you had all of them, would it be enough? Of course, you don’t have to go t ...

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 6 readers -
  • Your big break

    ...isn't. Your big break might be a break, but in the long run, it's certainly not big. Breaks give us a chance to do more work, to continue showing up, to move a bit further down the road. Perhaps it would b ...

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 7 readers -
  • About to be

    The only way to become the writer who has written a book is to write one. The only way to become the runner who has just finished a run it ...

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 16 readers -
  • Saying vs. doing

    Does this group have a loyalty oath? Brittle organizations are focused on which end of the egg you open. Are you wearing the team jersey the right way, saying the incantations each time, saluting properly... Resilient organizations are more focused on what you produce, and why. Petty dictators care a lot about words, about appearances, about whether everyone is genuflecting ...

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 11 readers -
  • Falling down the quality abyss

    Attention stops being paid, compromises are made, quality goes down. Expectations aren't met. Expectations are lowered. Customers drift away. Budgets are cut, because there are fewer customers. Quality erodes even more, because there's less to spend, and employees care less. Repeat. The alternative is the quality ratchet: Over-focus on quality. Expectations go up.

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 13 readers -
  • Should we pander?

    In a race to go faster, cheaper and wider, it's tempting to strip away elegance, ornamentation or subtlety. If you want to reach more people, aim for average. The market, given a choice, often picks something that's short-term, shoddy, inane, obvious, cheap, a quick thrill. Given the choice, the market almost never votes for the building, the monument or the civic development ...

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 5 readers -
  • Advertising's hidden design and its impact on our culture

    Media changes everything. Media drives our expectations, our conversations and our culture. And what drives the media? Ads. Two kinds, it turns out: Brand ads and direct ads. Brand ads are the unmeasurable, widely seen ads you generally think of when you think of an ad. A billboard, a TV commercial, an imprinted mug. Direct ads, on the other hand, are action-oriented and measurable.

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blogin Social- 7 readers -
  • Your progress report

    I'm not sure we need to see a checklist of what you got done last week. What we really need: a. the difficult questions that remain unanswered b ...

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 4 readers -
  • Surveys and focus groups

    It doesn't matter what people say. Watch what they do. The story is told of a focus group for a new $100 electronic gadget. The response in the focus group was fabulous, people all talked about the features of the new device with excitement. At the end of the session, the moderator said, "thanks for coming. As our gift to you, you can have your choice of the device or $25.

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 7 readers -
  • A Thanksgiving Reader

    In ten days, just about everyone in the United States will celebrate the best holiday of the year: Thanksgiving. I’m hoping that this year, you and your family will help me start a new holiday tradition. At its best, this is a holiday about gratitude, about family and about possibility. It brings people together to not only celebrate the end of the harvest, but to look one in ...

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 14 readers -
  • The initiator

    For each person who cares enough to make something, who is bold enough to ship it, who is generous enough to say, "here, I made this,"... There are ten people who say, "I could have done it better." A hundred people who say, "Who are you to do this?" ...

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 13 readers -
  • Yes, in my backyard

    The opposite of NIMBY, the opposite of isolation. Building a fortress is expensive. It cripples your tribe. And it won’t work. Modern fortresses amplify fear, destroy the value that's at the heart of the connection economy, and don't actually pay off. It's far more valuable to live in a community of hard-working, trustworthy refugees and (former) strangers than it is to become isolated.

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 12 readers -
  • Variations on stupid

    We throw the word stupid around a lot, labeling people (perhaps forever). In fact, there are tons of ways to be stupid, and we ought to think about that before we shut someone (including ourselves) down... Stupid is something we do, not the way we are. Bad analysis is the classic sort of stupid. This is not the stupid of, "if you knew then what you know now," but the simpler ...

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 7 readers -
  • What does branded look like?

    The vast majority of products that are sold are treated as generic by just about everyone except the naive producer, who believes he has a brand of value. A branded object or service has two components, one required, one desired: 1. Someone who isn't even using it can tell, from a distance, who made it. It appears that it could only be made by that producer (or it's an illegal knock off).

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 4 readers -
  • Who is this for?

    Is it for people who are interested, or those just driving by? For the informed, intelligent, educated part of your audience? For those with an urgent need? Is it designed to please the lowest ...

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 3 readers -
  • Alumni updates

    Over the years, I've had the extraordinary privilege of working with an all-star cast of interns, students, co-conspirators and employees. One of the thrills of my career is watching each of them go off and make a ruckus, a generous one, in the communities they care about. I got a note from one the other day, and I thought you might want to hear about what she's doing.

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blogin Social- 4 readers -
  • Thanksgiving reminder

    Today's a good day to download The Thanksgiving Reader. It's free to share, of course. We're gratified at the huge number of families that have already downloaded and printed a copy. And the creative ways peop ...

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 5 readers -
  • Unconscious consumption

    Black Friday, of course, is a con. But it's also a symptom of a terrible trap we've set for ourselves. Consider the joy a little kid has the first time he spends his own money to buy an ice cream cone. This isn't something he does every day, it's not something he has to do, it's not something he's trying to get over with. Instead, the entire process unrolls in slow motion.

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 11 readers -
  • The simple way to get better at business writing

    Don't do business writing. Have you ever met someone in industry who talks like he writes? You visit a store and the person says, "effective January 1, 2015, we have ceased operations at this location. For further information, correspondence should be addressed to our headquarters." Of cours ...

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 13 readers -
  • Idiosyncratic

    So, which is more interesting: A vintage 1964 Porsche or a new Honda Civic? Which is a better car? If we think hard about the definition of 'better', it's pretty clear that on almost every measurable performance metric, the Honda is a far better car. More reliable. A better value. Able to drive faster, longer, in more conditions. Better mileage. Safer. And on and on.

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 11 readers -
  • Certain failure

    Last night, a comedian tried out some new material, and someone in the front row didn't laugh. Last week, I put up a post with a new idea in it, and thousands of people who read it didn't retweet or share it. Last year, someone ran for office and didn't get every single vote cast. Failure! Certain failure. Of course your next project isn't going to del ...

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 9 readers -
  • Natural light

    One way to make something is to pre-process all the inputs. Make sure that you've worked the supply chain so that the raw materials are precisely the same every time. Guarantee that the working conditions are identical. Isolate all your processes from the outside world, so they're reliable and predictable. The other way is to use natural light. Take what you get.

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 6 readers -
  • Did you do the reading?

    It's absurd to think of going to a book group meeting and opining about a book you didn't even read. More rude: Going to a PhD seminar and participating in the discussion without reading the book first. And of course, no one wants a surgeon operating on them if she hasn't read the latest journal article on this particular procedure.

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 12 readers -
  • Is productive the same as busy?

    No one complains of having spent an entire day doing 'productive work'. Busywork, on the other hand, is mindnumbing. It's possible that if you have a job where your tasks (your busy-ness) is programmed by someone else, that being busy is your job. For everyone else, though, busy might ...

    Seth Godin/ Seth Godin's Blog- 14 readers -

Seth Godin's Blog

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

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