Seth Godin on Tribes: Part 2

tribes Today on The Bigg Success Show, we continued chatting with Seth Godin about his great new book Tribes. Last time, Seth told us what a tribe is, what the leader does, and why the quality of a tribe is more important than its quantity.

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Why Seth became a leader

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marylynnSeth, you said that a leader connects the tribe and gives them a voice. Obviously, you’re the leader of a tribe. What motivated you to be a leader?

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seth_godinWhen I see things that are broken or aren’t the way they should be, when I see wasted resources and talent, it bothers me. I want to do something about it. I want to talk about it. I want to point it out. I want to help people see that there’s a different path. What I discovered, mostly from my blog over the last six or seven years, is that there are other people like me who are itching to make a difference. All I do is tell people stuff they already knew. All I do is give names to things that are already out there. But by giving it a name, by talking about it, I’m allowing people to say, “That’s right. The emperor has no clothes.” I’m allowing people to go to their boss and talk about remarkable products in a clever way or go to their boss and talk about treating people with respect instead of spamming them. By giving people this ammunition, what I’ve discovered is that I thought they were doing something for me, by letting me influence the discussion. They’re actually doing something for themselves because they, even more than I, want to see these things fixed and improved so they reach their potential.

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The Power of One

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georgeWell Seth, you’re being very humble when you say that you’re just saying things that other people have said. I think you say them in a way that cuts through and clarifies so we all understand. One of the things you talk about in Tribes is the power of one.

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seth_godinHere’s the bad news – there’s all this leverage. There’s all this opportunity. If it doesn’t cost any money to find and lead and connect a tribe, if you can start your own online radio or TV show, if you can have your own blog, if you can use Meetup to connect people in 500 cities, if it’s all available and then you don’t do it, you can’t blame anybody else. That’s your choice. The punch line of the book is this is now an obligation. It’s an obligation – for anyone who cares, for anyone who wants to see change happen – for them to go make that change. One person is all that it takes to change the agenda, to keep people out of poverty, to change the way your school district works, or to get elected. One person is able to now leverage the work and enthusiasm and passion of hundreds or thousands of people.

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The future is about leverage

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georgeWe’ve gone through this recent financial crisis. Partly it’s a result of too much leverage. So in a financial sense, we can look at leverage as perhaps a bad thing. But you talk in your book about leverage and how leverage as a leader can help you impact change for the good.

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seth_godinWell, let’s be really clear though. Leverage isn’t good or bad. Leverage is the way tools work. If you have bad intent, if you have selfish intent, if you have non-transparent intent, you can do all sorts of horrible things with tribes. We’ve seen racism and all sorts of other things amplified by this sort of leverage. The problem in our financial community is not because of leverage. The problem in our financial community is that selfish individuals made short-term decisions in the dark without telling everyone what they were doing. Leverage is the only thing that’s going to get us out of this financial problem and it will. Our future is now all about leverage. Our future is about the fact that one person in Tucson can have a clever idea and have it designed by someone in India, built by someone in Guatemala, and sold by someone in Buenos Aires. That’s extraordinary because we can do that in two weeks instead of two years. If we have good intent, if we’re willing to stand behind what we’re doing, then I’m incredibly optimistic.

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marylynnHere’s another thing that’s really exciting about this day and age. As you say in the book, marketing used to be about advertising which is expensive. Now to get the word out about that product you created in two weeks, it’s about engaging your tribe. So that makes it less expensive and easier.

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seth_godinIf you look at the most popular blogs in the world, almost all of them did not come from the mainstream media. The people who had all the money, all the access, and all the power, they all failed. Nobody’s going to CBS, The Today Show, or NBC online to hear unique, honest voices. They’re visiting real people, or groups of people – like the “Huffington Posts” of the world – because great ideas win. Great ideas attract enthusiasm and passion. So corporate money doesn’t work the way it used to.

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Seth is also the founder of Squidoo, where you can find a special page about Tribes.

Next time, we’ll wrap up our conversation with Seth. He talks about how change and chaos are creating opportunities for all of us today. We’ll also learn what keeps Seth going. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Related posts

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part I

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part 3

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