Seth Godin and Tom Peters On Social Media

Three great videos from Seth Godin and Tom Peters.

Seth Godin 

“… It doesn’t matter if no one reads your blog. What matters is the humility that comes from writing it”.

“…How do you force yourself to describe in three paragraphs, why you did something? How do you respond out loud?”. If you are good at it, some people are going to read it. If you are not good at it, stick with it, you will get good at it”.

“…You are doing it for yourself, to force yourself to become part of the conversation”.

Tom Peters

"I will simply say, my first post was in August of 2004. No single thing in the last 15 years professionally has been more important to my life than blogging. It has changed my life, it has changed my perspective, it has changed my intellectual outlook. It has changed my emotional outlook, parenthesis and it is the best damn marketing tool by an order of magnitude, that I have ever had and it’s free”.

 

Seth Godin

"Networking is always important when it is real, and its always a useless distraction
when its fake. What the Internet has allowed, it an enormous amount of fake networking".

Ted Talk: Seth Godin On Tribes We Lead

Last year I reviewed Seth Godin’s latest book called Tribes. I enjoyed this book and  Seth’s talk at TED is a great synopsis of the book. In a “Twitter world” where we follow others, Tribes empower individuals. The book serves as a good reminder that by starting a movement, it is possible to change the world.

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Seth Godin’s Tribes – A Book Review

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Tribes is the newest addition to Seth Godin’s ongoing work of easily readable ideas on "Changing The World". Godin uses a number of real world examples and a number of short stories to underpin the ideas within Tribes.  There is nothing in the book, that many of us don’t already know, at least on a subconscious level.  In certain situations, we must find the initiative to lead. Many of us lead tribes, even if we don’t always see it that way.

The book begs the reader into thinking about how we can all challenge the status quo. Both, in our everyday personal and professional lives by taking the lead. Godin is a master at dusting off conventional concepts and presenting them in an enlightening and refreshing new way. He demonstrates the importance of not only leading a tribe of followers, but also nurturing the relationships within it. One of the most powerful aspects of the book is how it is written to speak directly to the reader.

Tribes, is not written as a conventional book with chapters. The book is written more in the style of a conversation, resulting from ideas and conversations from Godin’s blog. The book is a essentially a collection of those thoughts, presented beautifully in print. The book is a quick read and does inspire the reader to look at ways where he/she can make a real difference and empower groups of people.

Controversially, Godin describes most people within organisations as "sheepwalkers," those who "have been raised to be obedient" and those that are comfortable "with brain-dead jobs and enough fear to keep in line." For at least a few, leadership brings empowerment and brings opportunities to challenge traditional ways of doing things for the better.

There is a feeling that Godin is in fear. Fear of a world without "everyday" leaders who continue to change things for the better. These everyday leaders are not big CEO’s, but rather people like you and me. The book is indeed a call to action.
Godin cites five different reasons as to why people should look for everyday opportunities to lead:

1. "Everyone in an organisation, not just the boss is expected to lead".
2. [Today] "it’s easier than ever before to change things [and] individuals have more leverage than ever before". Especially, with tools such as Facebook and Twitter
3. Individuals, and their organisations that "change things and create remarkable products and services" are rewarded in the marketplace.
4. Change is a catalyst and can empower each of us to do something truly remarkable. It is "engaging, thrilling, profitable and fun,".
5. Finally, there is a "tribe" of other people waiting for a leader, "to connect them to one another and lead them where they want to go."

Godin states that, great leaders "create movements by empowering the tribe to communicate". They establish the foundation for people to make connections, as opposed to commanding people to follow."  Powerful leaders connect members of a tribe by a common interest (e.g. by sharing a passionate goal), and a determination to create things that did not exist before.

Don’t be fooled into thinking, Tribes is a technical manual, or a practical step-by-step guide. Because while it encourages you to "lead", it doesn’t go into specifics, (which is a good thing). Godin challenges the reader to accept full responsibility for becoming a tribal leader.

"No one gives you permission or approval or a permit to lead, You can just do it. The only one who can say no is you."

Critics may argues that the book lacks "concrete data". However, long time Seth Godin readers will understand that his books are a presentation of ideas. Ideas that spread and win. Tribes is no different. The book could also be criticised for being too short. However,  it is extremely well written and in my opinion the right size for the material it covers.

After reading the book, I was left thinking that Tribes was Volume 1. Certainly, another book could soon be followed up. For example, what effects are realised, when tribes collaborate with other tribes forming a "Super Tribe"?  Or, what does the leader do when his role is challenged within the tribe?

It’s hard to escape the religious metaphors in the book. References to "heretics" and "fundamentalists" echo throughout. In centuries passed, heretics were burned for their religious views. However, in Godin’s 21st Century world, heretics may just be the ones that save us from an unremarkable world.

Overall, Tribes is an inspiring read and well worth adding to your Seth Godin collection!  Get your copy of Tribes from Amazon

[UPDATE]

Seth was kind enough to answer my three quick questions below:

Q.  What inspired you to write Tribes?

A. I see a world where just about everyone is pushed to conform, to fit in, to do what we’re told. A workforce filled with sheepwalkers… at the same time, I see people desperately in search of leadership, eager to be connected and to matter. I was hoping to point those two things out and encourage people to take a breath and lead.

Q.  How does Seth Godin spend his day?

A. I write, answer email, bother people, notice things, and run my company, Squidoo.com and my closed online site, triiiibes.

Q.  For readers who haven’t read Tribes, can you explain the general themes of the book and why you think everyone should buy it?

A. The best thing to do is visit www.squidoo.com/tribesbook and see what other people had to say!

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Godin’s 9 Steps to Presentation Nirvana

 

In my opinion PowerPoint has an unfair reputation as a bad presentation tool. We have all heard comments over the years such as, “death by PowerPoint”. However, it is not the tool which is the problem, it’s often the presenter. My two favourite books on presenting, help to improve the style of your slides. The books also offer sound advice on limiting the amount of text on your screen.  Often, people respond more favourably to stories. Seth Godin, makes this point in his post below.

  1. Don’t use PowerPoint at all. Most of the time, it’s not necessary. It’s underkill. Powerpoint distracts you from what you really need to do… look people in the eye, tell a story, tell the truth. Do it in your own words, without artifice and with clarity. There are times Powerpoint is helpful, but choose them carefully.
  2. Use your own font. Go visit Smashing Magazine and buy a font from one of their sponsors or get one of the free ones they offer. Have your tech guy teach you how to install it and then use it instead of the basic fonts built in to your computer. This is like dressing better or having a nicer business card. It’s subtle, but it works.
  3. Tell the truth. By this I don’t mean, "don’t lie," (that’s a given), I mean "don’t hide." Be extremely direct in why you are here, what you’re going to sell me (you’re here to sell me something, right? If not, please don’t waste your time or mine). It might be an idea, or a budget, but it’s still selling. If, at the end, I don’t know what you’re selling, you’ve failed.
  4. Pay by the word. Here’s the deal: You should have to put $5 into the coffee fund for every single word on the wordiest slide in your deck. 400 words costs $2000. If that were true, would you use fewer words? A lot fewer? I’ve said this before, but I need to try again: words belong in memos. Powerpoint is for ideas. If you have bullets, please, please, please only use one word in each bullet. Two if you have to. Three never.
  5. Get a remote. I always use one. Mine went missing a couple of weeks ago, so I had to present without it. I saw myself on video and hated the fact that I lost all that eye contact. It’s money well spent.
  6. Use a microphone. If you are presenting to more than twenty people, a clip on microphone changes your posture and your impact. And if you’re presenting to more than 300 people, use iMag. This puts your face on the screen. You should have a second screen for your slides–the switching back and forth is an incompetent producer’s hack that saves a few bucks but is completely and totally not worth it. If 400 people are willing to spend an hour listening to you, someone ought to be willing to spend a few dollars to make the presentation work properly.
  7. Check to make sure you brought your big idea with you. It’s not worth doing a presentation for a small idea, or for a budget, or to give a quarterly update. That’s what memos are for. Presentations involve putting on a show, standing up and performing. So, what’s your big idea? Is it big enough? Really?
  8. Too breathtaking to take notes. If people are liveblogging, twittering or writing down what you’re saying, I wonder if your presentation is everything it could be. After all, you could have saved everyone the trouble and just blogged it/note-taken it for them, right? We’ve been trained since youth to replace paying attention with taking notes. That’s a shame. Your actions should demand attention (hint: bullets demand note-taking. The minute you put bullets on the screen, you are announcing, "write this down, but don’t really pay attention now.") People don’t take notes when they go to the opera.
  9. Short! Do you really need an hour for the presentation? Twenty minutes? Most of the time, the right answer is, "ten." Ten minutes of breathtaking big ideas with big pictures and big type and few words and scary thoughts and startling insights. And then, and then, spend the rest of your time just talking to me. Interacting. Answering questions. Leading a discussion.

Most presentations (and I’ve seen a lot) are absolutely horrible. They’re not horrible because they weren’t designed by a professional, they’re horrible because they are delivered by someone who is hiding what they came to say. The new trend of tweaking your slides with expensive graphic design doesn’t solve this problem, it makes it worse. Give me an earnest amateur any day, please.

I would add a further point.

10.   Watch other presenters.  YouTube and TED, carry great videos of experts presenters. My advice is to  study, watch and learn from them. Watching other presenters is a great way of improving your own technique.

Meatball Sundae – But will it blend?

Fantastic video “blending” two personal favourites, Blendtec and Seth Godin. The end result is a fantastic promo video for Seth’s new book. Genius!

A Call for all "Digital Coaches"…

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Hat Tip to Jan Wilkening!

 

Seth Godin, hammers the nail firmly on the head with his post on digital coaches.  Seth notes the following:

1. Digital technology, especially computers and cell phones, can dramatically increase productivity.
2. More and more users of digital technology are small firms or individuals.
3. The vast majority of users of digital technology are totally lame in getting the most out of the investment of their time and money.

Typical responses…..

“Oh, I didn’t know I could do that.”

“You mean I don’t have to manually type my address book in by hand?”

“There are graphs in Excel?”

“Gmail is free?”

Seth makes the point that we need need more “digital coaches”. Not techies but driven, motivated and switched on enthusiasts. These people are are “Gifted Amateurs”

Gifted amateurs use technologies such as blogs to easily communicate with loyal customers. They also use sites such as Technorati to actively “listen” to conversations surrounding their own businesses on the web.

Are you a gifted amateur or digital coach?. Show yourself on Seth showcase for digital coaches…

Books for January 2008 – Seth Godin & Nick Carr

I’m looking forward to reading Seth Godin’s new book, “Meatball Sundae – How New Marketing Is Transforming The Business World”.

Synopsis:
What is a meatball sundae? It’s something messy, disgusting and ineffective, the result of combining two perfectly good things that don’t go together. Meatballs are the basic staples, the things people need, the stuff that used to be marketed quite well with TV and other mass market techniques. The topping is new marketing: MySpace, websites, YouTube, and all of the magic that CEOs wish would shine atop their companies.

The problem? New marketing is lousy at selling meatballs.When confronted with the myriad opportunities presented by new marketing, people usually ask ‘How can we make this stuff work for us?’ This, as Seth Godin explains in his remarkable new book, is exactly the wrong question. Mapping out 14 trends that are completely remaking what it means to be a marketer – and by extension transforming what we make and how we make it – Godin shows how the question for any thriving 21st century business must be: ‘How can we alter our business to become an organization that thrives on new marketing?’ Meatball Sundae is an essential guide to the fundamental shift taking place in the marketing and business world, and shows you how to align your business to it.

Hugh has posted a great interview with Seth regarding the new book

The other book I’m really looking forward to is, “The Big Switch – Our New Digital Destiny”  by Nick Carr

Synopsis:
In this eye-opening look at the new computer revolution and its consequences, Nicholas Carr explains why computing is changing and what this means for all of us.A hundred years ago, companies stopped producing their own power and plugged into the newly built electric grid. The cheap power pumped out by electricity providers not only changed how businesses operated but also brought the modern world into existence.

Today a similar revolution is under way as companies dismantle their private computer systems and tap into rich services delivered over the Internet. Computing is turning into a utility. The shift is remaking the computer industry, bringing competitors like Google to the fore and threatening traditional stalwarts like Microsoft. The effects will reach further as cheap computing changes society as profoundly as cheap electricity did. In this lucid and compelling book Carr weaves together history, economics and technology to explain the “big switch”.

Get your pre-orders in.

Seth, Our Small Business Saviour

Web Smoothie, Seth Godin, has written a nice post on his blog regarding how small businesses (doctors, plumbers, etc.) can set up a presence on the web, for just $60 and a few hours of investment.

It is important to remember that Squidoo is his own product, so there is a little bit of shamless plugging going on. However, the advice is very useful. His article follows below.

Memo to the very small

What should my local chiropractor do? Or the acupuncturist? Or the pet store? What about that small church or mosque?

The web has changed the game for a lot of organizations, but for the local business, it’s more of a threat and a quandary than an asset. My doctor went to a seminar yesterday ($100+) where the ‘expert’ was busy selling her on buying a domain name, hiring a designer, using web development software, understanding site maps and navigation and keywords and metatags and servers…

These are businesses that have trouble dealing with the Yellow Pages. Too much trouble, too much time, way too expensive. So, should local micro-businesses just ignore the web? Or should they become experts in the art of building and maintaining a website?

We’re talking about people who don’t like to tweak. About local businesses that are struggling to be found by people a block or a mile or five miles away. Entrepreneurs who can’t be bothered to understand typography or HTML. Why does my dog’s vet have such a lame website? Why do basement waterproofing sites sit moribund? Do they all have to become experts and spend the money–or sit it out and lose out?

I think there’s a third way, one that gets them just about everything they need, takes an hour or two a month and costs about $60 a year. Here goes:

Step one: head on over to Typepad and sign up for their cheapest service. It’s about $5 a month. Pick a ‘quiet’ and professional blog layout. Your first post should include the name of your business, your address, your specialty and your hours and phone number. Click the button that says “Feature this post.” From now on, this post will be at the top of your blog (which is really your ‘website’, so first time visitors
will see it front and center. When you go on vacation or stock a new line of products or have a story to tell, just blog it.

The beauty of this first step is that for $5 you have a web server, a professional layout, no worries about design, a site you can edit yourself in no time and no hassles with weird domain names.

Next step: build a Squidoo lens about your business. List your hours and stuff. Then insert a google map of where you’re located. Put in a list of books if you think your potential (or current) customers will benefit from an understanding of what you do. Insert a guestbook so your favorite customers can give you testimonials. Put in an RSS feed from your blog, so every time you update it, it will show up here, too. If this is too tricky, have your smart next-door-neighbor do it for you. You won’t have to do it again.

Next step: Get a sign featuring your name and phone number. Something 1 foot by 2 foot or so. Printed on cardboard. Now, take your digital camera and start taking pictures. Pictures of your offices. Of your staff. Of your satisfied customers. Each picture should include the sign! Now, go post those pictures on Flickr. (And then put the pictures into a set and pull that set into your Squidoo lens, and post the best pictures on your blog too).

Last step: Ask your best customers to build Squidoo lenses about your business. Ask the ones who blog to mention you in their blogs. Ask the happiest of all to pose for a picture holding your sign, or to give you a testimonial for your blog.

So, you’ve probably invested a few hours by now. You’ve spent a few dollars, read a book or two on blogging. But you haven’t become an expert, not by a longshot, in any technologies. You haven’t tweaked a font or focused on a sitemap. Instead, you’ve been running your dry cleaner or writing your sermons.

Even better, no one is judging you on whether or not you’re an expert at building websites. No one is choosing not to do business with you because your website looks like your cat designed it. And you’re not spending big money tweaking tweaking tweaking just to get the last ounce of blood out of your site.

A month later, if someone types, migraine acupuncture des moines, into Google, they ought to find you. Or pet store 10706. The beauty of your situation is this: if only 5 or 10 new people a week find you via this ring of links and google searches, you’re going to have a shot at doubling your customer base within a year. For $60.