Posts Tagged ‘Seth Godin’

WHEN FREE COLLIDES WITH POWERFUL

October 24, 2013

Really why write when Seth does it so much better. Easier just to copy and share. A must read below.

In case you didn’t know, Seth was our guest speaker at Aspen Live in 2004.  Over the last 17-years, we have also welcomed the likes of Malcolm Gladwell (Journalist Researcher), Michael Moore (Film maker), Al Ries (Marketer and first to use the word Branding), Sergio Zyman (first ever CMO, came up with the title while at Coke where one of his claims to fame was “New Coke”), Jon Spoelstra (one of the leading sports marketers and author of Marketing Outrageously), The Innocence Project (CEO + a man who served 17-years for a crime he didn’t commit), Tim Bronsan (VP, Business for Major League Baseball), Steve Martin (President, The Agency Group, NA), Marc Gobe (Leading Packaging expert and author of Emotional Branding), Michael Rapino (CEO, Live Nation), Ian Rogers (now CEO, Beats Music), Chris Sacca (Google, now tech investor), Nic Adler (Owner, The Roxy and CEO, Adler Integrated), Dede Gordon (Leading Trend Researcher), Irving Azoff (CEO, Azoff Music Management), Bob Lefsetz (The Lefsetz Letter), and the list goes on.

Don’t be left in the dark.  Aspen Live 2013 dates are December 12-15 at the St. Regis, Aspen.  Register today at http://www.aspenlive.com.  See you then…again, please read below.

When free collides with powerful

One of the lessons that Microsoft taught Apple and Google is that ubiquity can be incredibly profitable.

By changing file formats, Microsoft forces every person in an organization to upgrade Word to the current state, because one of the reasons to use Word is that everyone else uses it. This isn’t often true for products in the real world–cars and whiskey and apartment buildings inevitably gain variation, whereas software tools are pushed toward a common standard–a new form of monopoly.

The strategy at Microsoft was always to put in power user enhancements, though, so that the power user (the weird one, the one on the edge, the one choosing to care) would hear about the upgrade and insist that everyone else on her team would upgrade as well.

Free, though, turbocharges the movement toward ubiquity at the same time it sabotages the power user. When the ‘upgrade’ is free, when the new version requires everyone to upgrade and is free as well, that’s sort of irresistible. The problem is that free destroys markets even faster than monopoly does, because it’s incredibly difficult for competitors without the other income streams to find a reason to compete.

And so, the new version of Pages from Apple is widely reviled by those that want a powerful tool. And the new version of Keynote, a program I use eight hours a day, is on the same path. It has the same one-way path for data structure (the new version forces all old users to upgrade if they want to collaborate) but it abandons a focus on professionals. Features and the goal of building for a craftsman are exchanged for the cross-platform ease and gimcracks that will please a crowd happy enough with free.

There are few deadends in the software business. When a platform gets dumb, the power users push for someone else to come along and make a better one. And when the monopolist gets greedy (as every dominant word processor vendor has) then the people who care take a leap and move to another tool.

In the meantime, the users who made the platform work in the first place spend a lot of time cursing the darkness that used to be light. Too often, power tools in software turn into entertainment platforms instead. There’s more money in it.

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GODIN ON TECHNOLOGY AND LIFE

October 23, 2013

Here is another Seth Godin post you should share. Inspiring!

Our crystal palace

Thanks to technology, (relative) peace and historic levels of prosperity, we’ve turned our culture into a crystal palace, a gleaming edifice that needs to be perfected and polished more than it is appreciated.

We waste our days whining over slight imperfections (the nuts in first class aren’t warm, the subway isn’t cool enough, the vaccine leaves a bump on our arm for two hours) instead of seeing the modern miracles all around us. That last thing that went horribly wrong, that ruined everything, that led to a spat or tears or recriminations–if you put it on a t-shirt and wore it in public, how would it feel? “My iPhone died in the middle of the 8th inning because my wife didn’t charge it and I couldn’t take a picture of the home run from our box seats!”

Worse, we’re losing our ability to engage with situations that might not have outcomes shiny enough or risk-free enough to belong in the palace. By insulating ourselves from perceived risk, from people and places that might not like us, appreciate us or guarantee us a smooth ride, we spend our day in a prison we’ve built for ourself.

Shiny, but hardly nurturing.

So, we ban things from airplanes not because they are dangerous, but because they frighten us. We avoid writing, or sales calls, or inventing or performing or engaging not because we can’t do it, but because it might not work. We don’t interact with strange ideas, new cuisines or people who share different values because those interactions might make us uncomfortable…

Funny looking tomatoes, people who don’t look like us, interactions where we might not get a yes…

Growth is messy and dangerous. Life is messy and dangerous. When we insist on a guarantee, an ever-increasing standard in everything we measure and a Hollywood ending, we get none of those.

 

 

October 1, 2013

From time-to-time I like to share Seth Godin’s words of wisdom with you.  Whether you work in the “arts” or not, you will be inspired by what’s below.  Have a great week and please share this with friends.  http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/

Decoding “art”

Of course, it started with craft. The craft of making a bowl or a tool or anything that created function.

As humans became wealthier, we could seek out the artisan, the craftsperson who would add an element of panache and style to the tools we used.

It’s not much of a leap from the beautiful functional object to one that has no function other than to be beautiful.

Art was born.

When art collided with royalty, religion and wealth, a match was made. Those in power could use art as a way to display their resources and to insist that they also were deserving of respect for their taste and their patronage of the artistic class.

And that would be the end of it, except the camera and commercial printing changed the very nature of art on canvas (and mass production changed sculpture). When anyone could have a print, or a vase, or a photo, art’s position as a signifier and a cultural force was threatened.

Hence the beginning of our modern definition of art, one that so many people are resistant to. Art doesn’t mean painting, art doesn’t mean realistic and art doesn’t mean beautiful.

Marcel Duchamp created a ruckus with ‘Fountain’, which appeared in an art exhibit in 1917.  An upside-down urinal, Duchamp was saying quite a bit by displaying it. The second person to put a urinal into a museum, though, was merely a plumber.

About forty years later, Yves Klein created ‘Leap Into the Void.’ Long before Photoshop, he was playing with our expectations and our sense of reality.

Between Duchamp and Klein there were two generations of a redefinition of art. Art doesn’t mean craft. And art isn’t reserved for a few.

Art is the work of a human, an individual seeking to make a statement, to cause a reaction, to connect. Art is something new, every time, and art might not work, precisely because it’s new, because it’s human and because it seeks to connect.

Once art is freed from the canvas and the dealer and the gallery, it gains enormous power. Politicians and science fiction authors can do a sort of art. Anyone liberated from the assembly line and given a job where at least part of the time they decide, “what’s next,” has been given a charter to do art, to explore and discover and to create an impact.

When I write about making ‘art’, many people look at me quizzically. They don’t understand how to make the conceptual leap from a job where we are told what to do to a life where we decide what to do–and seek to do something that connects, that makes an impact, and that yes, might not work.

Five hundred years ago, no painter would talk to you about ideas, or even impact. Painters merely painted. Today, you don’t need a brush to be an artist, but you do need to want to make change.

 

 

YOUR SUMMER VACATION

August 16, 2013

I know I owe you original material and it is coming soon.  Until then, here is more from Seth Godin I just couldn’t help but share.  Read about Seth’s new project, get contacts of those working on it, listen to a great podcast, order a t-shirt for a good cause…and you don’t want to miss “Live @ Ford, The Bell Curve is Melting”.

What did you do on your summer vacation?

I was lucky enough to spend a fortnight with sixteen extraordinary people from around the world. I’ll be sharing some of what we built in a few weeks, but in the meantime, you can see a short video they made along with the list of talented folks and their contact info here:

Also worth sharing from the last two months: A podcast on branding and making a ruckus.

Stop Stealing Dreams is now available in Chinese.

A short video on my part in the lineage of style canoeing.

And live, at Ford. The bell curve is melting.

Also, before it gets cold outside, you can get the entire text (every word!) of Poke the Box on a t-shirt. They donate a worthy book  to charity for every shirt sold.

 

 

MORE GODIN

July 11, 2013

This is today’s post from Seth Godin.  Worth sharing for sure.  Please pass it on.  Marketers, this is for you.

But it only works sometimes

A glimpse is often more compelling than a certainty. For a minute or two, the drum solo on Monk’s Dream is totally and completely alive. It even makes the neighbor’s dog turn his head and stare at the speakers.

If all recorded music sounded this good all the time, it would lose its magic for me. I certainly wouldn’t spend hours trying to get my stereo just right (one more time).

Word of mouth comes from intermittent delight. Things that work all the time are harder to talk about.

Random reinforcement drives people to focus their attention and effort, because it’s worth sifting through many to find the one that’s worth it.

Sure, there are places where six sigma reliability is essential (like pacemakers). But in most markets, your audience is likely to talk about your flashes of brilliance.

Sometimes, we’re so focused on being consistent that we also lower the bar on amazing. After all, the thinking goes, if we can’t be amazing all the time, better to reset the expectation to merely good. Which robs us of the ability to (sometimes) be amazing.

But amazing is what spreads.

In markets where some people expend unreasonable energy, we get uneven results, and those results are things we seek out, again and again.

STEALING IDEAS

June 4, 2013

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 http://www.sethgodin.com, 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.

SETH GODIN ON DOING IT LIVE…A MUST READ!

March 25, 2013

When reading Seth’s words below (it is from last month…just catching up) , please remember that he isn’t in the music business but does produce and promote his own live events.  Once you read below, sign-up to receive his daily emails by clicking on this link http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?AddNewUserDirect. You will learn so much…a lot more than you would think…and will be amazed that Seth never misses a day to share some wisdom.  He believes we all should be artists!

Will you choose to do it live?

The answer isn’t obvious, and it’s certainly not for every career or every brand. I spend a lot of time wrestling with this very question.

Let’s start with live music, the most familiar example of ‘live’:

  • The live performance isn’t guaranteed: it might not work, the performance might be sub-par
  • It costs more, often a lot more, to attend
  • It only happens when the creator decides to make it available
  • The audience is part of the process, in many ways co-creating the work
  • Amplified live music always lower fidelity than the album

Pre-recorded music is perhaps 500 times more popular than live music, for these and other reasons. Five hundred!

The Grateful Dead made live music. Steely Dan didn’t. The Beatles started very much with live but ended up exclusively with polished, packaged perfection.

Of course, live music is more likely to create something that we talk about, years later. Because it’s scarce and risky.

The questions that are asked and the decisions you make to produce a fabulous live interaction have very little to do with the quality concerns and allocations you’ll make to produce something that scales and lasts. Confusing the two just frustrates all involved.

When you buy an HP printer, you’re buying a product, an industrialized artifact. Visit the Apple Store, and suddenly there’s a live element—one bad genius can ruin your entire experience. Zappos figured out how to turn online shoe-buying into a live performance by encouraging people to call and interact. Twitter is live, an online PDF is not. Every day this blog flies without a net, typos and all.

Consultants do most of their best work live (asking questions, innovating answers) while novelists virtually never do their work live.

For the creator, live carries more than a whiff of danger. For the perfectionist, the luxury of editing and polishing is magical. And for the consumer, the reliability and sheen of the pre-tested product provides a solace that she just can’t get from the dangerous, risky business of consuming it live.

Some non-profits spend their time seeking out the tested, perfect scalable solution–not live. Others do their work in the moment, in the field, live.

The fork in the road is right here. Taking your work live is energizing, invigorating and insanely risky. You give up the legacy of the backlist, the scalability of inventory and the assurance of editing. It’s an entirely different way of being in the world. Scale and impact can certainly come from creating your best work and sharing it in a reliable way. On the other hand, if you’re going to be live, then yes, do it live.