Posts Tagged ‘Seth Godin’

Our society tolerates gross unfairness every day. It tolerates misogyny, racism and the callous indifference to those born without privilege.

But we manage to find endless umbrage for petty slights and small-time favoritism.

When a teacher gives one student a far better grade than he deserves, and does it without shame, we’re outraged. When the flight attendant hands that last chicken meal to our seatmate, wow, that’s a slight worth seething over for hours.

When Bull Connor directed fire hoses and attack dogs on innocent kinds in Birmingham, it conflated the two, the collision of the large and the small. Viewers didn’t witness the centuries of implicit and explicit racism, they saw a small, vivid act, moving in its obvious unfairness. It was the small act that focused our attention on the larger injustice.

I think that most of us are programmed to process the little stories, the emotional ones, things that touch people we can connect to. When it requires charts and graphs and multi-year studies, it’s too easy to ignore.

We don’t change markets, or populations, we change people. One person at a time, at a human level. And often, that change comes from small acts that move us, not from grand pronouncements.

SETH GODIN

If we define anxiety as experiencing failure in advance, we can also understand its antonym, anticipation. 

When you work with anticipation, you will highlight the highs. You’ll double down on the things that will delight and push yourself even harder to be bold and to create your version of art. If this is going to work, might as well build something that’s going to be truly worth building.

If you work with anxiety, on the other hand, you’ll be covering the possible lost bets, you’ll be insuring against disaster and most of all, building deniability into everything you do. When you work under the cloud of anxiety, the best strategy is to play it safe, because if (when!) it fails, you’ll be blameless.

Not only is it more fun to work with anticipation, it’s often a self-fulfilling point of view.

 

Seth Godin.

Two very simple truths:

a. Don’t waste your time initiating relationships that aren’t going to thrive and benefit both sides.

b. Productive connection requires mutual trust. You can’t empathize with someone you don’t trust.

If you enter an engagement filled with wariness, alert for the scam, the inauthentic and the selfish, you’ll poison the relationship before it even starts. Those you deal with won’t be challenged to rise to your expectations of excitement and goodwill. Instead, they’ll struggle in the face of your skepticism.

Instead of seeking and amplifying the sharp edges, consider focusing on the dignity and goodwill of the people you’re working with.

Sure, there are people out there who will disappoint you. But expecting to be ripped off poisons all your interactions instead of saving you from a few dead ends.

An open mind and an open heart usually lead to precisely that in those that you are about to deal with. Perhaps we should give people a chance to live up to our trust instead of looking for the gotcha.

 

Seth Godin

@ThisIsSethsBlog

http://www.sethgodin.com

When there’s a change in your tribe or your organization or your trusted circle, you face two choices:

You can fight with the person creating the change, push back against them and defend the status quo.

Or you can fight for the person, double down on the cause, the tribe and the relationship, and refocus your efforts on making things work even better than they did before the change.

They’re similar emotions and efforts, but they lead to very different outcomes.

 

SETH GODIN

The downward spiral is all too familiar. A drinking problem leads to a job lost, which leads to more drinking. Poor customer service leads customers to choose other vendors, which of course leads to less investment in customer service, which continues the problem.

Your boss has a temper tantrum because he’s stressed about his leadership abilities. The tantrum undermines his relationship with his peers, which of course makes him more stressed and he becomes more likely to have another tantrum. An employee is disheartened because of negative feedback from a boss, which leads to less effort, which of course leads to more negative feedback.

Most things that go wrong, go wrong slowly.

The answer isn’t to look for the swift and certain solution to the long-term problem. The solution is to replace the down cycle with the up cycle.

The (too common, obvious, simple) plan is to live with the cycle that caused the problem instead (“When I get stressed, I freeze up, so I need to figure out how to avoid getting stressed”). The simple plan puts the onus on the outside world to stop contributing the input that always leads to the negative output. That’s just not going to work very well.

The more difficult but more effective alternative is to become aware of the down cycle. Once you find it, understand what triggers it and then learn to use that trigger to initiate a different cycle.

“This is my down cycle. What will it cost me to replace it with a different one? Who can help me? What do I need to learn? How do I change my habits and my instincts?”

This works for organizations as well as individuals. The fish restaurant that as sales go down, borrows money to buy ever fresher fish instead of cutting corners that will lead nowhere good. Or the ad agency the follows a client loss not with layoffs, but with hiring of even better creative staff.

Slowing sales might lead to more investment with customer service, not less. Decreased grades might lead to more time spent on enthusiastic studying, not less.

This is incredibly difficult. But identifying the down cycle and investing in replacing it with the up cycle is the one and only best strategy. The alternative, which is to rationalize and defend the cycle as a law of nature or permanent habit, is tragic.

 

Seth Godin

There are at least 200 working days a year. If you commit to doing a simple marketing item just once each day, at the end of the year you’ve built a mountain. Here are some things you might try (don’t do them all, just one of these once a day would change things for you):

  • Send a handwritten and personal thank you note to a customer
  • Write a blog post about how someone is using your product or service
  • Research and post a short article about how something in your industry works
  • Introduce one colleague to another in a significant way that benefits both of them
  • Read the first three chapters of a business or other how-to book
  • Record a video that teaches your customers how to do something
  • Teach at least one of your employees a new skill
  • Go for a ten minute walk and come back with at least five written ideas on how to improve what you offer the world
  • Change something on your website and record how it changes interactions
  • Help a non-profit in a signficant way (make a fundraising call, do outreach)
  • Write or substiantially edit a Wikipedia article
  • Find out something you didn’t know about one of your employees or customers or co-workers

Enough molehills is all you need to have a mountain.

 

Seth Godin

“I’m just going to wait until all the facts are in…”

All the facts are never in. We don’t have all the facts on the sinking of the Titanic, on the efficacy of social media or on whether dogs make good house pets. We don’t have all the facts on hybrid tomatoes, global warming or the demise of the industrial age, either.

The real question isn’t whether you have all the facts. The real question is, “do I know enough to make a useful decision?” (and no decision is still a decision).

If you don’t, then the follow up question is, “What would I need to know, what fact would I need to see, before I take action?”

If you can’t answer that, then you’re not actually waiting for all the facts to come in.

 

Seth Godin

Sometimes, your organization will be tempted (or forced) to offer some of your customers less than they’ve received in the past. Perhaps you need to close a local store so you can afford to open a better one a few miles away. Or reroute a bus line to serve more customers, while inconveniencing a few. Or maybe you want to replace a perfectly good free mapping application with a new, defective one so you can score points against your hometown rival in your bid for mobile domination.

A few things to keep in mind:

1. When possible, don’t downgrade. People are way more focused on what you take away than what you give them. Many times, particularly with software, it’s pretty easy to support old (apparently useless) features that a few rabid (equals profitable, loyal and loud) customers really depend on.

2. When it’s not possible to avoid a downgrade, provide a bridge or alternatives, and mark them clearly and discount them heavily. In the case of Apple maps on the new iphone, it would have been really easy to include links or even pre-installed apps for other mapping software. It’s sort of silly to make the Lightning adapter a profit center. When you cancel the all you can eat buffet, be generous with the gift cards given to your best customers.

3. If you can’t build a bridge, own up. Make it clear, and apologize. Not after an outcry, but before it even happens. The genius Francois at the Grand Central Apple store insisted that my hassles with the Music Match feature in iTunes were merely my “opinion,” and all the steps I had to go through to move the audio books I’m reviewing from one device to another were in fact good things. It’s silly to expect your customers to care about your corporate priorities or to enjoy your corporate-speak. If you’ve taken something away from them, point it out, admit it and try to earn a chance to delight them again tomorrow.

Apologizing to your best users is significantly more productive than blaming them for liking what you used to do.

Seth Godin

Wildeyeq

SETH GODIN: Overstimulated

Posted: September 27, 2012 in Summons
Tags: , , ,

Time to pay attention to the Weber-Fechner Law.

It’s easier to tell the difference between two bags of flour that are three ounces apart in weight when one weighs a pound, than it is to tell the difference between two bags that are three ounces apart when one weighs twenty pounds.

It’s easier to tell the difference between two flashlights that are 6 lumens apart when one is just 2 lumens bright than it is to tell them apart when one is 200 lumens.

The more stimulus you’re getting (light, sound, pressure, delight, sadness) the less easily you can notice a small change. That seems obvious, but it’s worth saying.

If you’re entering a market filled with loudness, it’s harder to be noticed, even if the incremental benefit you offer seems large to you. If you’re trying to delight existing customers, the more delighted they already are, the more new delight you need to offer to turn heads.

One more reason to seek out those that are both interested and underserved.

 

SETH GODIN

There’s no doubt that it’s easier to start an organization (or a project) around specific.

The more specific the better. When you have a handful of ideal potential clients and a solution that is customized and perfect for them, it’s far easier to get started than when you offer everything to everyone.

Not only that, but the specific makes it easier to be remarkable, to overdeliver and to create conversations, because you know precisely what will delight the user.

Once you master your specific, you can do the work to become general, because you have cash flow and reputation and experience.

The flipside of this is interesting: if you have somehow, against all odds, managed to succeed in the general, the move to specific is almost effortless. If you can change your reflex action that consistently pushes you to mass, the market you’ve chosen will embrace the fact that you, the general one, are now truly focused on them, the specifics.

Seth Godin

Wildeyeq