Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Seth Godin

#1 in a small market…

The trick is how to defeat Mass ennui: focused passion is the answer every time.

By Seth Godin

#1 in a small market is way more interesting, more fruitful and more fun than being number three in a larger market.

When you’re the market leader, you set the agenda, you attract the leading customers and you are the one who gets targeted, picked on and singled out. The stakes are higher and so is your impact.

The easiest way to become #1 is to redefine your focus and the way you serve your customers sufficiently that you redefine the market.

Harley Davidson isn’t #1 in the market for motorcycles, but they are certainly #1 in the market for the kind of motorcycle that they sell. The other bikes may have two wheels, but they’re for different customers with different needs.

Mass ennui is defeated by focused passion every time.

Tattoo thinking

A tattoo is basically forever.

You should think pretty hard before you get one, because it’s largely an irreversible decision.

Just about every choice you make with your project and your career, though, doesn’t last forever.

And the benefit of taking a risk is significantly higher than it is with a tattoo. A landing page, a pricing move, a bit of copy–they don’t last much more than a day, never mind a lifetime. Higher benefits, lower risk, what are you waiting for?

So go ahead and act as if your decisions are temporary. Because they are.

Be bold, make mistakes, learn a lesson and fix what doesn’t work. No sweat, no need to hyperventilate.

Advertisements

How to listen. Can you get the Joke

One guy in the back of the club isn’t laughing.

And the fabled comedian is killing it at a club that seats 400.

Miles Davis was shunned by a few people in the audience, even at his coolest.

And the message from the creator of the work is clear: “It’s not for you.”

The theater critic at the Times might not like this play, the one that made people cry and sold tickets for years.

And just about every blog post and book listing collects a trolling comment from someone who didn’t like it, didn’t read it or didn’t agree with it (or all three) and isn’t shy about speaking up with a sharp tongue.

Unanimity is impossible unless you are willing to be invisible.

We can be unanimous in our lack of feedback for the invisible one.

For everyone else, though, the ability to say, “It’s not for you,” is the foundation for creating something brave and important.

You can’t do your best work if you’re always trying to touch the untouchable, or entertain those that refuse to be entertained.

“It’s not for you.”

This is easy to say and incredibly difficult to do. You don’t have much choice, not if you want your work to matter.

How to listen

Live interaction still matters. Teachers, meetings, presentations, one on one brainstorms–they can lead to real change.

The listener has nearly as big a responsibility as the speaker does.

And yet, Google reports 4 times as many matches for “how to speak” as “how to listen.”

It’s not a passive act, not if you want to do it right.

If listening better leads to better speaking, then it becomes a competitive advantage.

Ask an entrepreneur leaving the office of a great VC like Fred Wilson. She’ll tell you that she gave the best pitch of her career–largely because of the audience.

The hardest step in better listening is the first one: do it on purpose.

Make the effort to actually be good at listening (it’s a matter of learning and it is hard to focus if the talker is Not telling you an interesting story).

Don’t worry so much about taking notes. Notes can be summarized in a memo (or a book) later.

Pay back the person who’s speaking with enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm shown by the expression on your face, in your posture, in your questions.

Play back what you hear but in your own words, using your own situation.

Don’t ask questions as much as make statements, building on what you just heard but making it your own.

Take what you heard and make it the foundation for what you are trying on as your next idea.

If you disagree, wait a few beats, let the thought finish, and then explain why.

Don’t challenge the speaker, challenge the idea.

The best way to honor someone who has said something smart and useful is to say something back that is smart and useful.

The other way to honor them is to go do something with what you learned.

Good listeners get what they deserve–better speakers.

(Sort of improving the speaker’s skills?)

A diet for your mind

It’s Groundhog Day: January is over, and diet book a la mode again.

It’s time to invest in something you can change: the way you think.

Here are a bunch of books, ebooks and recordings that can help with that: Diet books for the mind.

Controlling what you eat is an interesting challenge, but not nearly as important as controlling how you think.

Building your backlist (and living with it forever?)

Authors and musicians have one, certainly.

This is the book you wrote seven years ago or the album from early in your career. The book keeps selling, spreading the ideas and making a difference. The album gets played on the radio, earning you new fans.

“Backlist” is what publishers call the stuff that got published a while ago, but that’s still out there, selling.

The Wizard of Oz, Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits and Starsky and Hutch all live on the backlist.

Without a backlist, all book publishers would go out of business in no time.

The backlist pays dividends long after the work is over.

Advertisers didn’t used to have a backlist. You paid for that magazine or newspaper or TV ad, and within just one cycle, it was gone, forever.

Today, of course, the work you put on the internet has a good chance of staying there for a very long time. The internet doesn’t easily forget.

That TED talk, then is going to be around for your grandchildren to see.

The review of your new restaurant, or the generous connection you made on a social network–they’re going to last.

I almost hired someone a few years ago–until I googled her and discovered that the first two matches were pictures of her drinking beer from a funnel, and her listed hobby was, “binge drinking.” Backlist!

Two things are going to change as you develop a backlist:

–You’re going to become a lot more aware of the posterity of the work you do. It’s all on tape, all left behind.

Just as you’re less likely to litter in your own backyard, the person aware of his backlist becomes more careful and civic minded.

–You’re going to want people to pay attention to your backlist… in my case, the free videos, various ebooks and printed things I’ve done over the years.

In your case, maybe it’s your blog, or the projects you’ve built or the reputation you’ve earned.

Your history of work is as important as the work you’ll do tomorrow.

Posted by Seth Godin on March 21, 2013

Sometimes, more is not what you want: just enough news is better

“Fitting in more than anyone else” doesn’t work, even in high school.

Seeking to be the most average, the most non-descript and the most inoffensive doesn’t lead to growth.

“More informed” wears out too.

If you get more news, faster, via Twitter, say, you’re not going to have a significant advantage over someone who has just enough news.

Understanding what every single person is saying about everything, all the time, leaves you little opportunity to actually make something.

Having more on your to-do list probably isn’t the best idea either.

Successful organization? Is Good work easier to find than ever before?

Successful organizations have realized that they are no longer in the business of coining slogans, running catchy ads, and optimizing their supply chains to cut costs.

And freelancers and soloists have discovered that doing a good job for a fair price is no longer sufficient to guarantee success.

Good work is easier to find than ever before.

What matters now:

  • Trust
  • Permission
  • Remarkability
  • Leadership
  • Stories that spread
  • Humanity: connection, compassion, and humility

All six of these are the result of successful work by humans who refuse to follow industrial-age  rules.

These assets aren’t generated by external strategies and MBAs and positioning memos. These are the results of internal struggle, of brave decisions without a map and the willingness to allow others to live with dignity.

They are about standing out, not fitting in, about inventing, not duplicating.

TRUST AND PERMISSION: In a marketplace that’s open to just about anyone, the only people we hear are the people we choose to hear.

Media is cheap, sure, but attention is filtered, and it’s virtually impossible to be heard unless the consumer gives us the ability to be heard. The more valuable someone’s attention is, the harder it is to earn.

And who gets heard?

Why would someone listen to the prankster or the shyster or the huckster?

No, we choose to listen to those we trust. We do business with and donate to those who have earned our attention.

We seek out people who tell us stories that resonate, we listen to those stories, and we engage with those people or businesses that delight or reassure or surprise in a positive way.

And all of those behaviors are the acts of people, Not machines (Not robots emulating humanoids).

We embrace the humanity in those around us, particularly as the rest of the world appears to become less human and more cold.

Who will you miss? That is who you are listening to .

REMARKABILITY: The same bias toward humanity and connection exists in the way we choose which ideas we’ll share with our friends and colleagues. No one talks about the boring, the predictable, or the safe.

We don’t risk interactions in order to spread the word about something obvious or trite.

The remarkable is almost always new and untested, fresh and risky.

LEADERSHIP: Management is almost diametrically opposed to leadership. Management is about generating yesterday’s results, but a little faster or a little more cheaply.

We know how to manage the world—we relentlessly seek to cut costs and to limit variation, while we exalt obedience.

Leadership, though, is a whole other game. Leadership puts the leader on the line.

No manual, no rule book, no überleader to point the finger at when things go wrong. If you ask someone for the rule  book on how to lead, you’re secretly wishing to be a manager.

Leaders are vulnerable, not controlling, and they are racing to the top, taking us to a new place, not to the place of cheap, fast, compliant safety.

STORIES THAT SPREAD: The next asset that makes the new economy work is the story that spreads.

Before the revolution, in a world of limited choice, shelf space mattered a great deal.

You could buy your way onto the store shelf, or you could be the only one on the ballot, or you could use a connection to get your résumé in front of the hiring guy.

In a world of abundant choice, though, none of these tactics is effective. The chooser has too many alternatives, there’s too much clutter, and the scarce resources are attention and trust, not shelf space. This situation is tough for many, because attention and trust must be earned, not acquired.

More difficult still is the magic of the story that resonates. After trust is earned and your work is seen, only a fraction of it is magical enough to be worth spreading.

Again, this magic is the work of the human artist, not the corporate machine. We’re no longer interested in average stuff for average people.

HUMANITY: We don’t worship industrial the way we used to. We seek out human originality and caring instead.

When price and availability are no longer sufficient advantages (because everything is available and the price is no longer news), then what we are drawn to is the vulnerability and transparency that bring us together, that turn the “other” into one of us.

For a long time to come the masses will still clamor for cheap and obvious and reliable. But the people you seek to lead, the people who are helping to define the next thing and the interesting frontier, these people want your humanity, not your discounts.

All of these assets, rolled into one, provide the foundation for the change maker of the future.

And that individual (or the team that person leads) has no choice but to build these assets with novelty, with a fresh approach to an old problem, with a human touch that is worth talking about.

I can’t wait until we return to zero percent unemployment, to a time when people with something to contribute (everyone)  pick themselves instead of waiting for a bureaucrat’s permission to do important work.

Posted by Seth Godin on March 27, 2013

Toward zero unemployment

A dozen generations ago, there was no unemployment, largely because there were no real jobs to speak of.

Before the industrial revolution, the thought that you’d leave your home and go to an office or a factory was, of course, bizarre.

What happens now that the industrial age is ending?

As the final days of the industrial age roll around, we are seeing the core assets of the economy replaced by something new. Actually, it’s something old, something handmade, but this time, on a huge scale.

The industrial age was about scarcity.

Everything that built our culture, improved our productivity, and defined our lives involved the chasing of scarce items.

On the other hand, the connection economy, our economy, the economy of the foreseeable future, embraces abundance.

No, we don’t have an endless supply of the resources we used to trade and covet.

No, we certainly don’t have a surplus of time, either.

But we do have an abundance of choice, (except for third world citizens traveling to colonial State powers? Whose passports do Not require visas and denial of visas)

An abundance of connection, and an abundance of access to knowledge (without labs or practical training?)

We know more people, (meaning see more crowd?) have access to more resources, and can leverage our skills more quickly and at a higher level than ever before.

This abundance leads to two races.

The race to the bottom is the Internet-fueled challenge to lower prices, find cheaper labor, and deliver more for less.

The other race is the race to the top: the opportunity to be the one they can’t live without, to be the linchpin we would miss if he didn’t show up.

The race to the bottom is the Internet-fueled challenge to lower prices, find cheaper labor, and deliver more for less.

The other race is the race to the top: the opportunity to be the one they can’t live without, to be the linchpin we would miss if he didn’t show up.

The race to the top focuses on delivering more for more. It embraces the weird passions of those with the resources to make choices, (and create choices?)and it rewards originality, marketability, and art.

The connection economy continues to gain traction because connections scale, information begets more information, and influence accrues to those who create this abundance.

As connections scale, these connections paradoxically make it easier for others to connect as well, because anyone with talent or passion can leverage the networks created by connection to increase her impact.

The connection economy doesn’t create jobs where we get picked and then get paid; the connection economy builds opportunities for us to connect, and then demands that we pick ourselves.

Just as the phone network becomes more valuable when more phones are connected (scarcity is the enemy of value in a network), the connection economy becomes more valuable as we scale it.

Friends bring us more friends.

A reputation brings us a chance to build a better reputation.

Access to information encourages us to seek ever more information.

The connections in our life multiply and increase in value. Our stuff, on the other hand,  becomes less valuable over time.

… [this riff is inspired by my new book…]

Seth Godin, 2013

 

Create a vacuum, don’t fill it

On the path from awareness to a sale, the marketer has to create a vacuum.

The goal of that short film or that sales letter or that invitation to a seminar shouldn’t be to answer every question and completely describe what’s on offer.

No, effective marketing amplifies awareness of a problem or an opportunity, a problem the product or service solves or an opportunity it creates.

I know it’s tempting to sell with bullet points and an overwhelming amount of data. I

t gets you off the hook and requires little in the way of creativity or guts. Storytelling requires both.

“But what do people really think?”

You know, behind your back…

What do they think of your product or your sales pitch or your speech?

What do they think of your new sweater or your new friend?

Hint: You won’t find out by searching for yourself on Twitter or Facebook.

You won’t find out by eavesdropping in the lounge, either. Or by reading the reviews.

Sure, you’ll hear what people say when they have an audience, you’ll hear condensed, pointed, witty take-downs, but no, you won’t hear what they really think.

All you’ll do is bring yourself down and strengthen the resistance.

No, the only way to know what people think is to watch what they do, not what they say.

Do they come back for more? Do you cause them to change their behavior? Can you make them smile?

Howard Cosell was loud, but he was more entertaining than right.

The same is true for the armchair critics (amateur and professional) that have a megaphone they’re using to criticize you.

Posted by Seth Godin on March 29, 2013

Cost of Lemonade stand, Artificial Intelligence program,

Three decades ago, I audited an Artificial Intelligence programming course. The professor never programmed one, but it was the rage.

The prof. was candid and said: “The only way to learn these kinds of programming is by doing it.  The engine was there to logically arrange the “If this ,then do that” questions in order to answer a technical problem. Nothing to it.

I failed even to try a very simple program: I had a heavy workload and didn’t have the passion for any engineering project at the time.

I cannot say that I know Artificial Intelligence, regardless of the many fancy technical and theoretical books I read on the subject

Studying entrepreneurship without doing it is like studying the appreciation of music without listening to it.

(Actually, I did study so many subject matters, and the ones supposed to be of the practical ones, but failed to do or practice any skills. My intention was to stay away from theoretical subjects and ended up sticking to the theories. For example, I enrolled in Industrial Engineering, thinking it was mostly of the hand-on discipline. Wrong: it was mostly theoretical simply because the university lacked labs. and technical staff and machineries)

The cost of setting up a lemonade stand (or whatever metaphorical equivalent you dream up) is almost 100% internal. Until you confront the fear and discomfort of being in the world and saying, “here, I made this,” it’s impossible to understand anything at all about what it means to be a entrepreneur. Or an artist.

Never enough

There’s never enough time to be as patient as we need to be.

Not enough slack to focus on the long-term, too much urgency in the now to take the time and to plan ahead.

That urgent sign post just ahead demands all of our intention (and attention), and we decide to invest in, “down the road,” down the road.

It’s not only more urgent, but it’s easier to run to the urgent meeting than it is to sit down with a colleague and figure out the truth of what matters and the why of what’s before us.

And there’s never enough money to easily make the investments that matter.

Not enough surplus in the budget to take care of those that need our help, too much on our plate to be generous right now.

The short term bills make it easy to ignore the long-term opportunities.

Of course, the organizations that get around the universal and insurmountable problems of not enough time and not enough money are able to create innovations, find resources to be generous and prepare for a tomorrow that’s better than today. It’s not easy, not at all, but probably (okay, certainly) worth it.

We’re going to spend our entire future living in tomorrow—investing now, when it’s difficult, is the single best moment.

Posted by Seth Godin on March 11, 2013

 

 


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2019
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Blog Stats

  • 1,346,266 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 690 other followers

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: