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Seth Godin on Tribes: Part I

tribes Seth Godin joined us on The Bigg Success Show today for the first of a three-part series to discuss his fantastic new book, Tribes. Seth is well-known to most of us, but here are some of the details: He is known as the most popular business blogger on the web. He also has written 10 best-selling books, including three of our favorites: Permission Marketing, Purple Cow, and The Dip. Here’s a recap of the first part of our conversation:

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marylynnI have to tell you, Seth, that your book The Dip was very influential in my decision to leave radio to build my own brand. You talked about how the industry forgot they were in the relationship business, not just the radio business. That really helped take me over the top and I said, “Yes, I’m going to start Bigg Success!”

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seth_godinI’m so glad to hear that and Tribes is going to help you even more because I talk a lot about the difference between having faith in a vision, faith in the future, or faith in the content about what you do and abandoning the rules or the religion of the status quo.

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What is a tribe?

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georgeWe love this book, Seth. We see some of the themes from your previous books and you pull it all together, which is fantastic. Why don’t you start by telling us what a “tribe” is?

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seth_godinA tribe is a group of people that are connected by a common goal, a common language, and common rituals. Usually they have a leader and a movement – they’re trying to make something happen. A tribe is very different than a crowd. A crowd is just a bunch of people. A crowd is people coming to your Grand Opening Sale, people clicking through to your web site, or people looking at your ads on TV. Marketers love crowds, but they have to earn a tribe, which is a totally different thing.

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marylynn
Because a tribe interacts with each other and that’s what starts creating the movement.

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seth_godinThat’s exactly right. Tribes are always bigger than the leader himself. We can look at some famous ones, like Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. Clearly it was the movement and the tribe that made the difference, not the person at the front of the room. We see tribes in everything from marathon runners or triathletes all the way to the Red Hat Ladies, the fifty- or sixty-year old women you’ll see around the world at cafes or the women who have now taken up roller derby and do it in the evenings instead of watching TV.

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Engagement comes from quality, not quantity

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georgeOne of the things in your new book goes back to the crowd theme. It’s the quality, not the quantity, that matters.

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seth_godinExactly. What we’re seeing is there’s a guy named Gary Vaynerchuk, who has his own TV show about wine. Gary has a tribe. It’s only a couple of hundred thousand strong, so it’s tiny compared to what any TV network would want. But Gary has benefited enormously, both in terms of revenue and public appearances but also in terms of his impact on society and the people he wants to reach. It’s far more effective than if he had a spot on The Today Show.

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marylynnIn your book, you point out something about Gary that I thought was very interesting. What he does is narrate his tribe’s passion. He doesn’t push it on them; he just leads the passion.

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seth_godinThat’s right. Almost every tribe was there before you got there to lead it. Almost all the things that human beings want to do, they’ve already figured out. What they’ve been waiting for is someone to connect them and give them a voice. My friend, Jacqueline Novogratz, runs the Acumen Fund, a very important philanthropic venture out of New York. She has trouble finding people who all along believed there was a better solution to the developing world. Once she finds them, all she has to do is point them in the right direction and they’re eager to get on board. It’s not about persuading the undecided; it’s about connecting the committed.

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

Next time, we’ll continue our conversation with Seth. We’ll learn what pushed Seth to become a tribe leader. He’ll also tell us about the power of one. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Related posts

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part 2

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part 3

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From Merchant to Mogul

By Bigg Success Staff
09-04-08

Success Stories

wine_library 

Gary Vaynerchuk is one of the best examples of personal branding we’ve ever witnessed. He “brings the thunder” to his online video show, Wine Library TV. He also hosts a show about personal development.

He took over the family business when he was 19 – a single liquor store – with annual sales around $5 million. He taught himself everything he could about wines and then turned the family business into a wine store. Then he gambled bigg with a full-page ad in The New York Times, bringing a flood of new customers to his store.

Now he’s doing over $45 million in business thanks in no small part to his show about wine. He’s become one of the world’s foremost authorities on wine, with a reported 60,000 people checking out his daily shows. He’s been given credit for helping the entire wine industry attract consumers that weren’t there before.

He’s also been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, GQ, and Time. He’s been on The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien where he got the late-night comedian to taste grass, a cigar, and more to help him “develop his palette.”

Now, he’s the only wine merchant in the country with his own Hollywood agent! He’s garnering bigg speaking fees. He’s living his brand.

We were fortunate to see him speak recently. He emphasized how important it is to know your own DNA – what makes you … you. He said he has succeeded bigg (okay, he didn’t say it that way, but we had to put our “bigg” spin on it!) because he has remained true to himself.

He says we’re in the “gold rush of personal branding.” Gary Vaynerchuk has found his mine … and it’s a bigg one!

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(Image from tv.winelibrary.com)