Seth Godin's Blog on marketing, tribes and respect - RSS Feed

Seth Godin's riffs on marketing, respect, and the ways ideas spread.

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The programmatic ask

Favors are part of the glue of our culture. It’s not easy to ask for a favor, it’s not always easy to say yes, but when the two people engaged in this dance find a connection, it means something. Alas, the modern hustle, amplified by databases and computers, has turned this equation upside down. “It doesn’t hurt to ask,” the hustling...

The simple market

If you want something that makes your life better, you can buy it. If you want to get the money to buy something, you can make something or do something that makes someone’s life better. It stops being simple when externalities, market failures and greed show up.

Copy design

Copywriting turns words into action. But which words? And which action? Often, copywriters take a strategy for granted. They don’t take the time to think about what this sentence or that paragraph might be for. They hesitate to describe the foundations of their method, and instead resort to time-tested tricks and phrases. ...

Appropriate risk

We talk about risk like it’s a bad thing. But all forward motion involves risk. You can’t find a risk-free way to accomplish much of anything. Appropriate risk has two elements: The odds of it working out are commensurate with the benefits.The consequences of being wrong don’t eliminate your chance to try a different...

Respecting their time

When we go around the room and have each person introduce themselves, we’re burning time, attention and trust. 40 people: 45 minutes, gone. Worse—the person who goes first spends 43 minutes daydreaming, and the person who goes last spends 44 minutes worrying about what to say. When we read our powerpoint slides to the audience, we’re sabotaging...

Assume that both are true

Syncretism is the act of integrating new cultural ideas into the ones that already exist. It’s very common in the evolution of religious practice. Instead of ‘this’ or ‘that’, the answer might be ‘both’. Sometimes, we’re so eager to fight off a new idea (to protect an old one) that we miss an opportunity to imagine how our world could go forward...

We are not astronomers

Unlike most of the sciences, astronomy is always done at a distance. You can see the stars, but you can’t do anything about them. Sometimes the media would like us to believe that we’re all astronomers, simply passive witnesses in a world out of our control. But the world is never out of our influence. Remembrance, connection,...

Fuzzy type

Digital typography always looks crisp. The words on our screen seem official, because they’re not the victim of sloppy or rushed handwriting. But sometimes, we might be better off with a little less crispness. Malka Older points out that polling data and predictions would probably be better understood if the graphs and charts were intentionally...

Speculation is the new luxury good

A luxury good is one where the price paid is much higher than the apparent utility it offers. We pay extra precisely because it’s not a good value. The utility lies in how we and our peers think about it. The scarcity and bling of a luxury good are used to increase our status (in our own eyes and those in our cohort). And so, a top-end Mercedes...

The modern curriculum

We’ve spent 130 years indoctrinating kids with the same structure. Now, as some of us enter a post-lockdown world, I’d like to propose a useful (though some might say radical) way to reimagine the curriculum. It’s been a century of biology, chemistry, arithmetic, social studies and the rest. So long that the foundational building blocks are...

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