Does Seth Godin Get It?

After reading Seth Godin’s latest book What To Do When It’s Your Turn (and it’s always your turn), a friend and I talked about it. She questioned why there is such a disconnect between how most people live their lives and the possibilities Seth talked about in his book.

It was a really smart question, and it begs another.

Does Seth Godin get it?

The reality we experience tells us otherwise. In our reality…

  • The tallest blade of grass gets cut. So fly under the radar by keeping your head down.
  • Generosity doesn’t scale. You gotta get your own in this world.
  • Art doesn’t pay. Get a real job with guarantees and certainty.
  • Picking yourself is a fool’s errand. Your energy is better spent getting the attention of the powers-that-be and persuading them of your worthiness.
  • If you don’t know if it will work… don’t do it. It has to work or it isn’t worth the investment.

Seth’s book (as well as his long-lasting blog) tells us otherwise. His possibilities tell us…

  • You owe it to the world to pick up the microphone and say something meaningful.
  • It’s your turn to give a gift. Just because you can.
  • If you are open to uncertainty, you can be a pathfinder for the rest of us. There is art in that.
  • You have to TAKE your turn, because it’s rarely given to you.
  • This might not work, and that’s OK. Dance in the duality of work/not work. Don’t run away from the fear, but don’t ignore it either. The ability to live in that tension and discover what you can do in the midst of that… that is artistry.

Godin is definitely seeing something else. The world he paints isn’t the one most people see when they walk into their slate gray cubicle on Monday at 7:59 AM. It’s not the one we see in the eyes of the department store clerk… partly because he won’t make eye contact with us to begin with. This isn’t the reality presented to us by television, human resources, our colleagues at the water cooler or by bureaucracy.

So, does Seth Godin get it? If so, why is this so hard for us to see?

Good In A Room

Sometimes it’s harder to blog once a week than everyday. So, I’m going to start blogging as much as possible to get out of the funk I’ve been in. Should make things a bit more organic and not so planned.

Just read a Tom Peters “Cool Friends” interview from a few weeks ago with Stephanie Palmer, author of Good in a Room: How to Sell Yourself (and Your Ideas) and Win Over Any Audience.

Good In A Room book   Stephanie Palmer

Here are a few of my favorite nuggets from the interview: asks …

Stephanie, what’s the big idea here?

SP: “Good in a room” describes anyone who presents themselves and their ideas effectively. The phrase originated in Hollywood and it’s used by agents and producers to describe people who pitch ideas well. I teach people to use, in their own industry, the tactics that work in Hollywood.


Tom Peters has espoused the elevator pitch as one of the supporting columns of Wow Projects. The goal of the elevator pitch being, if you get into an elevator on the first floor with your boss and you’re trying to sell an idea, you want to sell it by the time you get to the 35th floor. You say the elevator pitch is a myth. Why is that?

SP: I think the term “elevator pitch” incorrectly implies that it’s appropriate to pitch in an elevator. Communicating quickly and concisely is important, but you should never pitch when you don’t have time to continue the conversation. A moment’s access with someone who doesn’t know you is not an opportunity. Your first interaction with someone sets the stage for the relationship to come. You shouldn’t start pitching your idea to someone before they know who you are enough to care about what you’re saying in the first place.

High-level buyers are pitched all the time. They know when they are hearing something that’s been repeated to dozens of other people. If you haven’t taken the time to build rapport and customize your pitch to that person’s specific needs, it’s a sign that you’re an amateur. Every buyer is unique, and your pitch should reflect that.


You also say that networking is a waste of time. Why?

SP: I think most people who think they’re successful as a result of using traditional networking techniques succeed in spite of those techniques, not because of them. Traditional networking is generally a quantity-based approach. The idea is that if you meet enough people, accumulate enough names, you will eventually find people who are a good fit. On the surface this makes sense; you’d need a large pipeline of people because statistically only a few of them would be a right fit for your business. It’s a bulk mail strategy, sending out a lot of letters and seeing what comes back. But bulk mail is expandable, whereas we are not. The bulk mail approach doesn’t work so well in establishing genuine relationships because we only have so much time.

Therefore, instead of spending small amounts of time with lots of people, I suggest spending more time with fewer, carefully chosen people. Use a quality based approach. Upgrade from bulk mail to a handwritten letter with a first class stamp.


But in as much as you don’t believe in the standard group theory of networking, you do still have a network. You categorize people a little differently than most people’s A, B, and C lists. Could you describe your system?

SP: I don’t like using the terminology of A, B, and C groups, simply because I know that I don’t want to be on anyone’s C list, and I don’t think that anyone else does, either. I start with Good People to Know, which is anybody who I think for any reason might be someone I would like to know in the future. It may be someone whom I’ve met at a conference or a barbecue. If I think that person is really interesting for whatever reason, business or personal, I’m going to include them in my Good People to Know.

If I meet someone, and I know that I have no interest in them, I’m not going to include them in my rolodex or keep tabs on them. Doing so is like being a relationship pack rat. I’m not looking to have the world’s largest network so that I can brag, “Oh, I have 10,000 people in my list.” I want to be more focused.

My next group I call the VIPs. Those are people whom I would like to have a business relationship with, but maybe I don’t know them. They’re my target list. Twenty people is the maximum that you should have on your VIP list.

My last group, and most important, is the Inner Circle. Those are the people that are closest to you, who support you professionally and personally. Those are the relationships that I spend the most time nurturing. Their support has been the most valuable for me, personally and professionally.


It looks like a worthwhile book, so I’m buying a copy. Might write my own review when I finish it.

You can see more about “Good In A Room” on Stephanie Palmer’s website.

Optimized Book Reading

I was working on a post for last week, but wanted it to be spend more time on it. (faulty ‘perfectionistic’ thinking on my part)  I’ll post it Friday.
To make up for it, here’s an article I found on optimizing your book reading experience:

How to Get the Most Out of Your Books

I read quite a few books.  I enjoy reading.  But at the end of many books, I feel like I could do more to retain and/or apply what I’ve read.

Maybe you have other pointers or ideas for the optimal book reading experience.  Feel free to share.

Book Reviews: Stickiness & Escape Artists

I’ve always been an avid reader, but lately I have come across some outstanding books that have changed the way I look at things forever. I’ll explain why I (might) highly recommend you pick these two books up today.

Made to Stick book

Made to Stick, Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Who should buy this book: Anyone who needs to sell ideas. In today’s idea economy, that’s pretty much everyone.

What this book changes: Even the best ideas die too young. Made to Stick changes the way you present ideas so they’re “stickier” and therefore more likely to live on.

What I liked: The Heath brothers did a great job of distilling a formula for packaging great ideas. They show how this formula is evident in today’s stickiest ideas as well as some that have lasted thousands of years.

What I didn’t like: I really enjoyed the book, so what I didn’t like is fairly superficial. I didn’t care for their choice in acrostic (S.U.C.C.E.S.S.). It works to communicate the message (the stickiest ideas are simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and stories) but it seems a bit generic, long, and duplicate letters (three s’s and two c’s). Ironically, I think it causes their acrostic to fail its own test by not being simple.
Rating: 5 out of 5 FingerprintsFingerprintFingerprintFingerprintFingerprintFingerprint

The Houdini Solution bookThe Houdini Solution by Ernie Schenck

Who should buy this book: Those seeking a higher level of creativity at work. Those who don’t think they’re creative. The hypercreative who are constantly shot down because their ideas are “too far out there.”

What this book changes: The Houdini Solution removes some of the mystique from creativity. It fights the notion that truly creative ideas are all OUTSIDE the box. It shows how accepting your boundaries actually can increase creativity and make it more effective.

What I liked: “The Houdini 50” – a list of 50 creative training techniques selected by Ernie are printed at the back of the book. This list by itself is worth the cost of buying the book. Also, the book is very approachable. Even though Ernie is an advertising expert, this book speaks to people with no ad experience at all. His precepts are applicable to almost any field.

What I didn’t like: The cover. It’s simply not compelling and I’m afraid many will pass over it because it doesn’t truly communicate the message within. The message focuses on thinking INSIDE the box… but there’s no box on the cover.

Rating: 5 out of 5 FingerprintsFingerprintFingerprintFingerprintFingerprintFingerprint

Under the magnifying lens:

Pop! by Sam Horn

Pop! Stand Out In Any Crowd by Sam Horn

An enjoyable and somewhat surprising read so far. I’ll be reviewing this book in the near future.


Overlooked Marketing Edge

Here are a few tidbits from my presentation yesterday. I spent most of my blog time (and more) preparing to speak at Entrepreneur’s Day, so this might be my only post this week.

The Marketing Proverb

The Well

If this is a marketing proverb, what is the moral?


or, some ad agencies prefer to

Send in the Clowns

…simply entertain.

Do you ask this question?

How did you hear about us?




Direct Mail



Hey car dealers… want to see some results?

TV Doesn't Influence Car Purchases


When you see 71% of car purchasing decisions are influenced by word of mouth…


You’re right, but you can…


Tipping Point

How do you influence word of mouth?


I’m not talking fashion trendsetters (unless you’re an apparel company). If you’re a technology company, these are the geeks. They’re the raving fans of your industry.

Do you make it easy for people to hand off your message to others?  More on this here.
Bad Baton

The coupon above might get one person to show up, but it doesn’t encourage them to hand off the baton.

A Better Baton: Drink Coupon

This coupon creates social currency. “You’ll like me more because I got us all free drinks.”

Create Community

Online (blogs/message boards) or offline (customer advisory boards/customer events).

Keep Your WordGodin on Keeping Your WordTypes of WOMBooks on WOM

So, maybe we add two lines to our marketing proverb:

Well 2

And the moral of our NEW proverb is…

Holler 2

A Conspiracy the Church Should Get In On

A Networked ConspiracyIf you’re strongly involved in a church, you might be wondering how this new world of Cluetrain, word-of-mouth, and Web 2.0 affects the church body.

Bill Kinnon has written (and recorded) an excellent book addressing this topic, A Networked Conspiracy: Social Networks, the Church, and the Power of Collective Intelligence. Bill was kind enough to send me an early draft of the book, but I’m ordering a copy of the finished product today.

At $9.95 for the audio recording AND booklet, it seems like a great bargain. I already know which two church leaders I’m loaning out to first.

Visit Bill’s blog Achievable Ends, where he offers the first six minutes of audio as a free download.

Bill has created a Networked Conspiracy blog.  Check out his latest “conspiracy theories.”