Seth Godin – able to leap tall buildings in a single bound?

sethgodinfigure.pngOkay, I think I have seen it all. Too late to get this for the Holiday season for that Marketer that has everything, but Archie McPhee is selling a Seth Godin action figure (this is real). I’m sure they’ll go fast, so stand in line now.

[Now it make sense why Seth recently got glasses. He doesn’t want his super hero status compromised…ala Superman and Clark Kent].


Lost in translation

Besides English, I have tried to learn two languages in my time – German and Spanish. Unfortunately, German never really stuck. All I can remember is the phrase – “Ich habe lockiges haar” or “I have curly hair”… which I don’t – so even this phrase wont help me out. With Spanish, I do okay.

I remember when I was learning Spanish I got to a point where I could translate in my head fairly well from Spanish to English and back again. But as anyone that has learned another language call tell you, to truly learn a language you have to get past the mental exercise of translation and move to a higher level where you start to think in the other language (it is really cool when you even start to dream in the other language).

The hard part about being in the “translation stage” is that it is very taxing. It takes a lot of time and energy to push past The Dip and on to a level of proficiency. I remember a lot of memorizing, headaches and feeling mentally spent (yes, learning another language can be exhausting).

I’d say that this is not unlike many of the communication that goes on between businesses and consumers. Often times, businesses speak in a different language then their customers and the customer is left to translate what it means. For example, a marketer may have bullet points of their products features:

  • Our hair stylists are professionally trained
  • Our hair stylists know the latest trends

And the customer is left to translate what it means to them:

  • Professionally Trained – “They do not use a Flowbee for their haircuts and certaininly will not use the phrases – ‘oops’ or ‘I’ll just have to try and even that out’”
  • Latest trends – “No mullets or mutton chops or anything else that will limit my social life”

The problem is, when you do not take the time to think and speak in a way that your customers understand, few of them continue the metal exercise of translation of what you are trying to say. They usually just end up moving on to a different company that speaks their language.

Happy Tuesday!

Seth Godin’s Visit to Utah

Seth Godin has now come and gone. He was here to promote his new book The Dip.

I won’t go over all of his presentation; it was more or less one of those “you-have-to-be-there-to-enjoy-it” presentations. However, I will highlight some of his more memorable quotes:

  1. “Being average is dramatically over-rated.”
  2. “Ad agencies should cross the street and meet with their clients and help them make better products.”
  3. When asked his opinion about persuing an MBA, Seth responded “The (school) academy is about teaching people what we have done yesterday, a little better.” Basically, I interpret that as there are many other ways to learn up-to-date business ideas, but an MBA is not the best way.
  4. When asked to imagine that he was a substitute teacher in a middle school marketing class for a day, what would he teach? He mentioned three things: 1). “No one cares about you, at all. Get over it!” 2). “Start selling stuff on Ebay” and 3). “Get good at telling stories that others want to hear.”
  5. When asked which three books he would recommend everyone read, he said: 1). Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash “keeping in mind it was written 10 years ago” 2). Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm “preferably the old, original version” and 3). John McWade’s Before and After Page Design – which will teach you to “see before you do” and “how to be a graphic designer in about an hour”.
  6. “Those that are succeeding are asking ‘How can I be of service’ instead of ‘How can take advantage of the system’”.

All in all, I would say that Seth Godin is an incredibly nice individual with amazing insights. Easily worth more than the $50 I plopped down (but don’t tell Seth that!)

Seth Godin is coming to Utah!

It appears to be official! According to Seth Godin’s blog, he is coming to Utah on May 24th from 1 PM – 4PM. Here are details:

Seth Godin, the Marketing Guru will share his latest insight in marketing & talk about his latest book “The Dip”.

The cost is $50 per person, which includes 5 free copies of his latest book. Or you can buy 5 copies of his book for $50 and hear him speak for free (you decide).

Come early to network with others. See you there!

$50 to hear the top marketer alive?

Got Godin?If you live in Utah (or if you can fly to Utah within 3 to 5 hours), please support the effort to get the most brilliant marketing mind to speak in Utah on May 24th. For $50 you will not only get to hear Seth Godin but you’ll also receive 5 copies of his new book The Dip. But wait, there’s more! If Seth were here personally, I bet he would guarantee that you would come away with Three C’s (and maybe more) after hearing him speak:

  1. Change – Seth is an “Agent of Change”. You will see your business, your industry and yourself in a whole new light. Once you’ve have tasted this change, there will be no going back to your old ways (you will not want to anyway).
  2. Clarity – Seth will enlighten the path of remarkableness for yourself and your company.
  3. Quitting – (okay this isn’t a “C” but it does start with the same phonemic sound, does that count?) “What really sets superstars apart from everyone else is the ability to escape dead ends quickly, while staying focused and motivated when it really counts.”

Come and join us if you can. I promise that you will not be disappointed!

Must see Godin

If you have not seen the Seth Godin Video Brochure, I would highly recommend it as it contains a few Godin gems!

The über customer loyalty test

I blogged a while back about a post from Seth Godin about gauging the remarkableness of your customer’s experience by whether or not they wear your company’s t-shirt. Denise commented that “T-shirts are a great start. Then, once you’ve reached cult-like status, tattoos baby.”

Yesterday, I think I witnessed the uber-test of customer loyalty at the funeral of my wife’s grandma. She was buried with a can of Diet Coke. T-shirts may shrink and tatoos may fade, but the burial is the final life-defining act.

We’ll miss you Zenna!

Seth Godin’s vision of the web

Seth Godin has an awesome post about his vision of the web. He calls it Web4. What is Web4 you ask? Seth says it’s “about making connections, about serendipity and about the network taking initiative”. A few of my favorite ideas from Seth about how Web4 could be are:

I’m late for a dinner. My GPS phone knows this (because it has my calendar, my location, and the traffic status). So, it tells me, and then it alerts the people who are waiting for me.

My PDA knows I’m going to a convention. Based on my email logs, it recommends who I ought to see while I’m there–because my friends have opted in to our network and we’re in sync.

I’m about to buy something from a vendor (in a store with a smart card or online). At the last minute, Web4 jumps in and asks if I want it cheaper, or if I want it from a vendor with a better reputation. Not based on some gamed system, but based on what a small trusted circle believes.

Another idea I would add is:

Its Friday night. I am bored. My GPS phone knows that a few of my friends are available because it knows their schedules as well. My phone recommends a place to meet based on our GPS location, hang out wait times and our previous chat conversations, and sends out the invites to my friends. Once we decide where to go, my phone sends out a reservation alerting the club/restaurant/hang-out spot that we are coming.

What are your ideas for Web4?

Confessions from the dark side

cfl_small.jpgMy name is Bill and I use regular incandescent bulbs in my house. Whew!…I feel much better getting that off my chest.

Seth Godin has a great post about why only 6% of all U.S. households have tried a Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL). This post got me thinking, “why haven’t I (and maybe many others) switched to CFLs”? Let me tell you my take:

  1. Size. I used Compact Fluorescent Lights some time ago and they were not so compact as the name suggest and they did not fit into my lamps. I guess they are now smaller and fit everywhere the old light bulbs do.
  2. Color. The CFLs I have used seemed to emit a color that was “off”. Maybe this has changed as well.
  3. Cost Myopia. I wasn’t thinking long term cost savings, I only saw the higher initial sticker price.
  4. But really it all comes down to:

  5. Effort. The effort needed to buy a light bulb is like the effort needed to…well, buy a light bulb. When I tried the older bigger “compact” fluorescent lights and they did not fit, it was no big deal to go back to the usual. Because the effort is minimal, I only reserved the brainpower necessary to notice the immediate cost savings of the regular incandescent bulbs (I only awaken the part of my brain used to figure out long term cost analysis’ if I absolutely have to). Because the effort is minimal, I was unaware of the overwhelming evidence of the benefits of CFLs.

Now that I “get it”, I’ll make the change to the other side. I hope you’ll join me.

[UPDATE: I have now purchased CFLs for my home. Pretty painless I must say.]

Are you t-shirt worthy?

DMV T-ShirtSeth Godin has a great little post about being T-shirt worthy. If your company does not pass the test of someone buying your company T-shirt and wearing it proudly, why not? Is it because:

  1. Your product sucks
  2. Your frontline employees are rude
  3. You are boring

Fix your weak spots and become T-shirt worthy.