Self-described as writer, speaker and agent of change, Seth Godin is also a master of understatement.
He is the perfect illustration of a Purple Cow, a term coined in one of his many best selling books – totally remarkable in every way.
What he does
Seth writes, speaks, teaches, creates, inspires and generally causes a “ruckus.” He’s the guy who runs ahead of the tribe and figures out what’s really going on, then comes back to tell us.
He’s authored 18 best-selling books (so far) which have been sold worldwide in 35 languages. They are usually short, quick reads, choc-a-bloc with innovative and accurate observations about life in the “post industrial revolution.”
His daily blog is read by millions of people who can’t wait to hear what he’s thinking about.
Seth has been one of my beloved virtual mentors for several years.
In 1999, Seth changed the face of marketing with his book Permission Marketing. He’s the reason you have to opt in, and can always opt out of marketing emails.
Seth has introduced several ideas into our culture, but probably the most ubiquitous is the paradigm shift in marketing strategy from push to pull.
I.E. Instead of interrupting me with your annoying advertising, and trying to out-shout your competitors to get me to buy your thing, introduce yourself, build a relationship with me. Be generous and genuine so that I grow to know, like and trust you, then (and only then) offer something for me to buy.
Don’t push your sh*t at me. Pull me toward you with something that will help ME – your potential customer/client. It’s not about you. It’s about me!
This idea alone has changed the whole landscape of successful business design and, in my opinion, couldn’t be more welcome or timely.
Seth’s ideas tend to change everything – flipping old perspectives on their head. Here are just a few:
- Pick Yourself
You no longer have to wait to be picked. You can publish your own book, produce your own music, make your own films… all the tools you need are available today for you to step up and stand out. But first, you have to pick yourself. Stop waiting for someone else to give you permission to be awesome.
- Purple Cow
With all the competition racing to the bottom, the way to win today is to be remarkable. To create something that people naturally remark about. Then they’ll share it and your message or your solution or your creation spreads organically. Counter to planned obsolescence, creating a Purple Cow requires that you actually create something of value.
- Shipping It
Don’t wait until your thing is perfect. It will never be perfect. It just needs to be good enough to put it out there. To “ship it.” That’s how you find out what worked and what didn’t so you can improve it.
Seth has also designed an out-of-the-box business training program called the AltMBA, a 4-week, online leadership and management program.
Students from all over the world rave about this program. Not surprising. If you truly want to be on the cutting edge of business and marketing trends, working with Seth and people Seth trusts is where you want to be.
What I love about Seth
Basically, everything. The guy has a brilliant mind, insightful and curious. He never ceases to amaze me with how innovative and forward-thinking his perspectives are. I make a point of reading his blog regularly, just to give my brain a little rattle.
Seth seems genuinely interested in getting people to own their unique magnificence and to step up and share it with the world.
But there’s no fluff. It isn’t all “follow your bliss and all will be well.” He’s very real about the fact that success requires effort, commitment, stamina and courage. And perhaps most of all, the willingness to be perfectly imperfect – and put it out there anyway.
In other words, the ball is in our court. There is no such thing as an overnight sensation. The really good stuff out there, the stuff that’s killing it in the marketplace, that people love to share with their tribe, took years of its creator’s blood, sweat and tears.
In his book the Icarus Deception, Seth reminds us that the myth of Icarus is often truncated.
We hear about how Icarus’ father warned him not to fly too close to the sun lest his wings be seared, implying that we shouldn’t get too full of ourselves. Don’t try and step too far outside your comfort zone, lest you fall on your face.
A wise reminder to beware the pitfalls of hubris – yes, but perhaps also an homage to mediocrity.
The piece of this myth that commonly gets missed is that Icarus’ father also warned him not to fly too close to the ocean lest his wings become too heavy with mist: A warning against playing it safe, being mediocre, “racing to the bottom” and fitting in.
Success lies in the middle – continuous healthy striving for excellence without getting caught in perfection’s frozen fear.
Seth inspires me to keep going. Despite moments of self doubt, perfectionism, overwhelm and lack of motivation, I know I just have to keep going – to keep shipping and learning and iterating and shipping…
This is the fertile ground where success grows.
If your dreams could use a little nourishment, spend a little time with Seth. I believe you’ll be glad you did.
Where to find more
- Seth’s books (also check your local library)
- Seth’s bio
- Seth’s blog – short, brilliant, daily – well worth a subscription
- Free stuff (that Seth asked me to share 🙂 )
- Seth’s three awesome TED Talks
- Tim Ferriss interview with Seth
Seth’s newest book (also a best seller – of course) is What to do when it’s your turn: (And it’s always your turn).
There are also a zillion videos with Seth on Youtube.