Seth Godin on Tribes: Part 3

tribes
On The Bigg Success Show, we’ve been talking with Seth Godin about his incredible new book, Tribes. So far we’ve discussed:

Part I: what a tribe is, what the leader does, and why quality trumps quantity

Part II: why Seth became a leader, the power of one, and the importance of leverage
 
Today we wrap up our conversation. Let’s get to it!

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Change and chaos creates opportunity

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georgeSeth, one of the constants we see in your new book is change. I teach Entrepreneurial Finance at our local university. One of the things we talk about is that entrepreneurship is the science of change. There’s a quote in your new book that I just love, “The rush from stability is a huge opportunity for you.” Change does create opportunity for all of us, especially small business people.

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seth_godinWe can look back, before the Industrial Revolution, to when there was a king so the politics never changed. There was a farm and a craftsman so technology and markets never changed. It was almost impossible to cause your station in life to adjust in your lifetime. When someone would come along, like Josiah Wedgwood, and go from being an itinerant potter to a multi-millionaire, that was a once in a lifetime experience per country. Now it happens weekly. Now we’re seeing that all of the change and chaos creates opportunity. There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re going to see newly minted millionaires all over the world because of this chaos. We’re going to see newly influential musicians because of the meltdown of the music industry. If the music industry had stayed the way it was, the only way that you were going to become popular was by running into Neil Young’s A&R guy and hope he liked you. Now someone like Jen Chapin can come along, become popular, and have a following just because she deserves it, not because of someone she knows.

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You know it don’t come easy

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marylynnIt’s very empowering. When the status quo doesn’t work anymore, it forces you to be innovative. Innovation is exciting and that creates that passion that you talk about that creates that tribe that wants to follow you and talk about you.

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seth_godinThat’s it, but I’m nervous about one thing. We may be fooling people into thinking that this is easy. Just because it’s happening a lot, just because it’s powerful, doesn’t mean it’s easy. Most people who want to make change are fine with that. They’re fine with the fact that’s it going to take time, effort, dedication and risk in order to make this stuff happen. They just want to know it’s possible. And it is possible if you’re willing to do the work. My blog was not popular for years and years and years. As an entrepreneur, I have failed literally dozens of times before I had success. But I knew it was possible. Once I knew it was possible, then it was worth all the effort.

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How Seth picked himself up from failure

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marylynnSee now that’s interesting because you talk about how it failed. How did you pick yourself up from that and not give up?

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seth_godin
I think there are a couple of ways. One is to remind yourself how horrible it is to be a bank teller.

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marylynn
Now wait a minute, there are some bank tellers out there who enjoy what they do.

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seth_godinI think that’s true. But most of them don’t want to be entrepreneurs. If you want to be an entrepreneur – if you want to run your own decision base – then the thought of the alternative helps you focus. But the other thing is, my friend Zig Ziglar has this phrase which is, if he’s only going to succeed one out of ten times, that means every “No” gets him one “No” closer to nine. Nine “No’s” is great because the tenth one is going to be a “Yes.” I felt like, as long as I kept surviving, that was success. Entrepreneurs who survive long enough, sooner or later, are successful.

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george
But also, read The Dip, so you know whether to get out, right?

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seth_godinWhat The Dip would say is you should abandon tactics all the time. A tactic that’s a dead end, that isn’t working and that isn’t helping you be the best in the world, should be abandoned. I would include in that a career choice – like sticking with a particular radio station. That’s a tactic. But a strategy – a strategy that says I’m going to be a successful solo entrepreneur or I am going to make it as a musician – isn’t so easily abandoned. That’s what keeps you pushing through the dip.

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Please stand up

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marylynnBefore we let you go, we have to ask about one more thing. Toward the end of Tribes, you talk about how some people are going to rip on you about the style of this book and the way you’ve written it. George and I absolutely loved it. It’s such an easy read; it flows so nicely. What’s the problem with it?

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seth_godinFirst of all, thank you. That was very nice. The problem with it is I don’t tell you what to do tomorrow. I don’t say, “If you’re a dummy, here are the twelve steps.” I don’t give you a checklist. I don’t give you a list of tactics or tools or copy you can lift and use as your own. Part of the essence of being a leader is that you’re going to have to lead differently than the guy before you. Part of the essence of being a leader is that every tribe demands its own style of leader. No one else can do that. You have to figure it out. That’s frustrating for some people.

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georgeThat’s interesting, Seth, because with my class, I purposefully leave it a little more unstructured than the students would like. The reason I do that is because then they put that structure in place. By doing that, they learn how to be an entrepreneur. It’s helpful I think. With your book, you read it and create those checklists yourself.

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seth_godinI think that’s a great way to look at it. This summer, I had some interns. The way that I ran the application process is that I invited the 160 people who applied to join a Facebook group. Then I didn’t tell them what to do; I just watched. It was really interesting because, of the 160, twenty immediately took charge – planning activities, posting interesting notes, and starting conversations. The remaining 140 waited to be told what to do. And I imagine you can guess who I considered hiring.

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marylynn
The leaders stood up and stood out.

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Thanks so much Seth! It was fantastic talking with you. We wish you bigg success with this great book.

Seth is also the founder of Squidoo, where you can find a special page about Tribes. It’s full of great freebies like podcasts, excerpts and more! We highly recommend Tribes to you!

Next time, we say the less money you have, the better. 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 2

4 replies
  1. @ZaggedEdge
    @ZaggedEdge says:

    I went to Seth’s NYC event to launch Tribes and it was pretty amazing. He’s got his tribe and he wanted people to have to jump through hoops to be able to get there; he only wanted his most dedicated followers to get there. There are several cool ways he has promoted his “message”. He’s really promoting a “message” and not his book; as he has made it clear he’s not in it for the book sales.

    Reply

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