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Why Do We Trust Seth Godin?

By October 2, 2013June 29th, 2015In The News
Why Do We Trust Seth Godin?

Don’t misunderstand, I’m not questioning his credibility. Hearing Seth Godin, author of numerous business bestsellers, speak last week about “Thriving in a Post Sandy Business World,” I was impressed.

I’m asking: What makes him so effective? He didn’t say much I haven’t heard before. We’re in a new economy, the industrial economy is over, competition is fierce, you must stand out to succeed, get past your fear, “fly closer to the sun.”

Godin presents his ideas so compellingly that he convinces. He says what we may not want to hear. He advised business owners ravaged by Superstorm Sandy to forget about “getting back to normal” and instead, “reinvent yourself.”

“I don’t have a map for you,” he said.

“There are no more good jobs where they tell you what to do and pay you more than you’re worth,” he said.

Ouch. He articulates truths we may already suspect, but we resist or simply lose sight of them. Like other talented speakers, preachers and teachers, he tells us what we may already know or fear is true, but in a way that’s irresistible. They make us laugh, they entertain, persuade, provoke and compel us to take action.

Smart marketing needs to do all that too. Be not just informational, but transformative–changing attitudes and behaviors.

Smart marketing can change a no into a yes.

An official from the NJ Small Business Development Center at Brookdale Community College, the sponsor of the event, asked Godin what to tell entrepreneurs who frequently ask: “How do I come up with new ideas for my business?”

You already know how to come up with ideas, he answered, but you let your fear of failure get in the way. When you’re under pressure, you choke and play it safe. He suggested spending time every week just brainstorming on paper.

On his blog and to the audience, Godin makes a crucial distinction between three viable business models:

  1. Geography
  2. Commodity
  3. Community

Community’s the most stable yet the hardest to develop. Building trust takes time.

Connecting is the hard part, Godin says, but it beats being in a race to the bottom with a commodity business.

Create a community people want to join, he urges. Information, the currency of communities, is worth more to customers than the commodity itself. People want to be in sync. We’re all smarter together.

The larger point I realized about Seth is he models what he’s suggesting, and thus elicits trust and credibility. He says don’t be afraid to fail, and lists his failures. He advises generosity, and hands out his expertise freely. People read his books and attend his talks, and beg him to take “selfies” with them in front of a crowded conference room.

Are you a Seth fan and why? Have you seen him speak in public? More importantly, is it still called a selfie if someone else is in it?

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Catrina says:

    I love Seth because he can tell a story in a very simple way and it makes a lot of sense. Not very many people can do that. I read his blog, receive his emails and attended a handful of webinars. His messages are simple but to those afraid of taking the next step and afraid of failure, his messages have a simple complexity that resonates with you. After reading his blogs and listening to what he has to say, I feel empowered. There are a ton of bloggers and speakers out there sharing a ton of valuable information which I love to learn from but when your done, you just have more information. Seth’s messages inspire and empower you and not many bloggers and speakers can do that.

    Additionally, his posts are so short and succinct, a perfect daily read to be inspired by. Seth makes sense! It also might be awe and envy that draws us marketers to Seth. He flawlessly connects with his audience which is what we all aspire to do.

    • linda rastelli says:

      Thanks for your input, Catrina. “Flawlessly connects” just about sums it up!
      He shows us how to do it succinctly, as you say, which is something I especially appreciate.

  • Catrina says:

    The “selfie” question is very thought provoking! I’m not sure if that is still considered a selfie or just a selfie pose? ha

  • BJoKellum says:

    I am a huge fan of Seth Godin. As an entrepreneur and out-of-the-box thinker, his concepts are exciting and provocative.

    ideas push us to live more fully in that place that feels a bit scary,
    naked, vulnerable, and totally alive. Seth godes us on to make a ruckus.
    Be remarkable. Stand out. His motto, “Make stuff happen. Go.”

    If I have learned anything so far in this life, it is that
    extraordinary outcomes rarely come from ordinary choices. If you want
    something extraordinary in your life, in your relationships, in your
    work — you must be willing to put in something extraordinary.
    Extraordinary takes courage. It takes a willingness to fail. And fail we
    do but the goal is not to get it right, but to give it our all.

    • linda rastelli says:

      I agree completely that nothing comes out of playing it safe. Seth tells us why it’s okay to fall on our faces, which is hard to believe, but true. Thanks for your take.

  • Melanie Kissell says:

    Hi Linda — nice to discover you here at Web Search Social, one of my all-time favorite blogs. 🙂

    I subscribe to Seth’s posts and they’re undeniably worthwhile reads. Plus they’re always concise, which is my personal writing style, as well.

    On the one hand, I’m a big fan. On the other, he somewhat baffles me. Who knows? Maybe that’s the attraction; the appeal. Let’s just deem it “appealing sensibility”. What he teaches and preaches isn’t really anything surprising, is it? And yet his story-telling prowess draws me in. That’s the hook! Seth has an uncanny way of telling it like it is. 🙂

    Thank you for a great read!

    • linda rastelli says:

      Nice to see you here, too! I love a good story and he knows how to tell one, as you note.

  • Hi Linda,
    I confess it took me a while to warm up to Seth Godin because when I first started hearing about him, I thought “same ole song and dance.” After a while, however, I realized that while he uses some ideas that we’ve all heard before — he tells it in a way that sticks with you. If nothing else, he makes you stop and think.

    • linda rastelli says:

      I had the same experience, George. But listening to him speak, I felt as if he were speaking to me directly, as if his message were tailored for me, in a way. It’s tapping into the universal that we all respond to that’s his talent, IMHO.

  • Hey Linda,

    I haven’t seen him speak, but I have certainly read his blog posts 😀

    Like others mentioned here, his blog posts are simple, concise and yet powerful. He has that way of speaking (through writing). It is all about how we present content right? Sure, most of the ideas shared by the Pros (like Seth) are all ideas we are familiar with. But, these guys have a way of writing, speaking to us. And that makes all the difference 😉

    I am planning to launch my new blog (Soon!). So, I am working on developing a different voice, planning to experiment with the way I present content.

    • linda rastelli says:

      I wish you success in your experiments, which I think is exactly what Seth would advise you to do–take risks and don’t be afraid to be original. And thanks for your input.