Take yourself back to the Pollstar Conference in February.  You’re walking to see one of your favorite people speak.  Someone you know on the peripheral… from meeting once and through the web…someone you would love to have as your best friend as you believe he or she is a genius… then you run right into them.  That’s what happened to me in LA with Seth Godin.

We only had a few minutes to catch-up as he was literally walking into the ballroom to start his talk.  So we touched on Aspen (where we met as he spoke at Aspen Live in 2004), staying up on the music business through Lefsetz, and stealing ideas.

You see I told Seth that I’m constantly stealing his ideas, but always gave him credit.  His comment back, “go ahead and steal them…take credit for them”…and he meant it.

Without knowing for sure, I believe the most important thing for Seth is that his ideas continue to spread.  He genuinely wants you to succeed. You, yes you, not him.  He writes a blog every day, religiously (which is incredible in itself), which is free for you to read.  Seth gives away his books online, not all of them, but I bet if you asked, he would send you a free copy of any of them.  Why?  Because his mission is about change, not making money.  The money comes because of the caring…and sharing.

I will continue to steal from Seth Godin, Bill Graham, Abraham Lincoln, P.T Barnum, Steve Jobs, my friends, TV Shows, movies, every book, article, tweet and blog that I read…but will always give credit where credit is due.

While catching up on my Seth Godin blogs tonight, I came across the gem below.  Please share it…sign-up for Seth’s daily blog at, buy a few of his books (I can say with much bias that they are all great but you may want to start with Purple Cow, Tribes, Spreading the Idea Virusand of course the one that got us all hooked, Permission Marketing) and it’s ok to share them, Seth gave you permission.  

Learning by analogy

The story of Hansel and Gretel is not actually about Hansel or Gretel.

You are surrounded by examples and lessons and case studies that clearly aren’t exactly about your project. There’s never been a book written precisely about the situation you are facing right now, either. Perhaps one day they will publish, “Marketing Low-Cost Coaching Services to Small Businesses Specializing in _Graphic Design in the Upper Peninsula for Dummies” but don’t hold your breath.

Marketing, like all forms of art, requires us to learn to see. To see what’s working and to transplant it, change it and amplify it.

We don’t teach this, but we should. We don’t push people to practice the act of learning by analogy, because it’s way easier to just give them a manual and help them avoid thinking for themselves.

The opportunity is to find the similarities and get ever better at letting others go first–not with what you’ve got, but with something you can learn from.

And the opposite is even more true. We over-rely on things where the specifics seem to match, but the lesson is obscured by the trivial. Sometimes when we see something happen that we can learn a conceptual lesson from, we instead jump to conclusions that the specifics are the important part.

Remember that the next time you have to take your shoes off before you get on an airplane.


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