Seth's Blog

Seth Godin's Blog on marketing, tribes and respect

Latest articles

What’s your story?

If you care about it, it’s probably a story. Whether you did well on the job interview. The results of your work to find resources to feed the hungry. Your efforts to engage with your teenagers… We remember Bastille Day, not because we were there, but because the story resonates with us. We vote for candidates because of their stories, and shop...

Undoing the toxic myth of exclusion and scarcity

It’s easy to believe that excluding a group increases the benefits for those that are doing the excluding. That division and barriers somehow benefit the people who divide and hoard. That’s true when we’re talking about allocating a truly scarce resource. If you’re on a spaceship that’s headed for Mars, the oxygen you’ve got is all you’ve got. (Unless...

None of the above

That’s a comfortable thing to say for some. It lets you off the hook. There are definitely people in every group who prefer “none of the above,” regardless of what’s on offer. Because none of the above is also a choice, something that’s offered without being offered. Being against might feel easier than being for.

Systems design and the front line

If you experience lousy service or poor quality, it’s probably not solely the fault of the person who talked to you on the phone, dealt with you at the counter or assembled your product. It’s the boss. The boss didn’t design the system properly, didn’t align incentives, didn’t invest in training. The boss isn’t thinking hard about hiring the right...

Sixty orbits

Birthdays are contagious. No one actually remembers the day they were born, other people remember it for you. And the way we celebrate them is cultural, a shared process that keeps changing. People keep track of birthdays, and today used to be mine. Sixty of them. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that many. Time flies when you’re busy. Lots and...

Take good notes

Everyone is entitled to their own experience. In fact, that’s all we ever get. Our own take on the world around us, informed by where we’ve been and where we seek to go. Sometimes, we get the chance to hear about someone else’s experience. In those moments, it’s tempting to use the opportunity to explain a situation, to excuse or even to persuade....

The magic of the countdown

Thea von Harbou invented the countdown. 10, 9, 8… It works. It focuses the attention of everyone involved and ensures that we’re truly alert for what’s going to happen next. It helps that the numbers go down, not up (because up might never end). And it helps that as we get closer to lift-off, tension goes up, not down. But what really matters...

The 100 hour asset

We’re all so busy doing our work that sometimes we fail to build a skill worth owning. If you invest 100 hours in a rare skill, you’re likely to acquire it. If you could learn to sharpen a tool better than your peers, organize a high-performance database, see the nuances in some sector of cryptography, know how to build a pretty-good WordPress site...

The difference between patina and cruft

Cruft is obsolete. Cruft is broken, discarded, non-functioning refuse that should be hauled away. Patina is the wabi-sabi of positive use. A bookshelf of well-worn encyclopedias (now replaced by Wikipedia) has a patina to it. Simply seeing it reminds us of the possibility of discovery. Patina makes it easier to go forward. Cruft gets in our way.

“It might not be for you”

If you walk into a noisy bar and ask why they don’t have Chopin on the jukebox, they’re unlikely to accommodate you. The same is true if you go to a BBQ joint and insist on sushi. Most of the brands we truly care about stand for something. And the thing they stand for is unlikely to be, “whatever you want, we have it.” It’s also unlikely to be,...

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