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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:




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!”



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.


What is a tribe?


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?



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.



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



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.


Engagement comes from quality, not quantity


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



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.



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.



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.


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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70,000 dollars feeds 5,000 families

How $70,000 Delivered 5,000 Families from Drought and Hunger

70,000 dollars feeds 5,000 families

Bloggers from all over the world wide web are discussing poverty today in the hopes that conversation for a cause will lead to a cure. We’ll share how $70,000 had an impact on drought and hunger.


marylynnWe chose to participate because we believe in the cause and we believe in the power of people working together with a purpose.


georgeWe remembered an inspiring Wall Street Journal article [pdf] written by Roger Thurow. It highlights how seemingly small things can make a bigg difference in the developing world. We love success stories and this one is awesome!


$70,000 feeds 5,000 families

A group of farmers in Ohio raised $70,000 and sent it to another group of farmers in Kenya. The project is part of the Foods Resource Bank, an organization that fights hunger by connecting churches here with groups in need around the world.

The Ohio farmers decided to send money, rather than food, so the farmers in Kenya could decide how to use it best. They spent the money to build a number of small dams and retention ponds to catch water in the rainy season so they would have water year-round. With that water, five thousand families have been delivered from hunger.

Everybody wins

Here’s an example of the impact made by just one project. The farmers in Ohio sent $3,000 to the farmers in Kenya, who hired an engineer. With the plan in hand, the Kenyan farmers built the dam with their own labor and materials.

Now their village has water – for themselves, for their cattle, and for growing crops. The women of the village used to walk about ten miles to get water. Now their time is being used much more productively.

With the water problem solved, the village switched its focus to better roads. These roads are the link to nearby markets where the farmers can sell their surplus produce. But they had deep ruts which made them nearly impassable.

It used to take two hours to get to the market by bike, which is the main form of transportation there. Bikes cost $6 to rent. With the improved roads, it only takes a half-an-hour now to get into town and bike rents have fallen to $3.

Talk about win / win! The farmers are paying 50% less to rent a bike. But the person who rents the bikes is making 100% more, because the bikes get returned so quickly. Everybody wins!

Farmer increases income over 400%

The article also highlights one Kenyan farmer. With the water nearby thanks to the dam, he was able to dig his own water retention pond, which he uses to irrigate his crops. His income has grown from less than $100 a year to $500 per year!

That’s an increase of over 400%!

Now he’s plowing his extra profits back into his business. He bought a generator and mechanical pump to double his cultivated land. He also planted 400 mango trees.

Entrepreneurship at its finest!

How it started

All of these wonderful things started with the vision of one man – the pastor in the village. Originally, he reached out for food from the large international agencies. But he feared that his people would become dependent.

So he formed a development group that created a list of needs – water was number one on the list. He sent that list to a number of organizations, including the Foods Resource Bank. They got the farmers in Ohio involved.


We found this story so inspiring because it shows that a small amount of money with a large amount of focus can accomplish bigg things.

We liked how farmers here supported farmers there. We can all use our passion, knowledge, and skills to help people like us in other parts of the world.

It also shows the resourcefulness of people. Get resources to people on the scene. They will find a way to overcome their biggest obstacles with their ingenuity and industriousness. The accomplishments can be phenomenal!

You, too, can make a difference. Donate money or make microloans to people in need with good ideas. Reach out to organizations that have the infrastructure in place to help people in need.

It only takes one person.
Each of us can make a bigg difference in helping other people around the world be a bigg success.

Next time, we’ll talk with a man who left a high-paying job with a prestigious law firm to do his own thing. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!


how $70,000 saved 5,000 families|Blog Action Day 2008

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Finding Your Self-Confidence Worksheet

By Bigg Success Staff

Life Skills


Improve your self-confidence by identifying your abilities and positive attributes. Complete the following statements to highlight your unique talents.


What do I do well?

What do I do even better?

What can I do now that I couldn’t do last year?

What have I already accomplished?

What is my greatest professional strength?

What is my greatest individual strength?

Of what am I most proud?

How can I help my colleagues?

How can I help my family and friends?

How can I help my community?

I have the power to

I am not afraid to

I have decided to

I need strength to


Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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Knowledge is Worthless

By Bigg Success Staff

Life Changes


We found a great post over at Achievement Radio by Dr. Zonnya. She says that knowledge isn’t power anymore. Instead, it is knowledge applied that makes the difference.

It’s a distinction we all instinctively understand, but sometimes forget. Learning how to do something is only part of the process. We have to continue on and put into practice what we’ve learned or the knowledge is worthless.

If you can take away just one idea from every encounter – be that a speech, a conference, a web site, a conversation – and then actually use it, you’ll be ahead of the game.

So don’t worry about learning everything. Focus on applying one thing you’ve learned!

Hear today’s lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show

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Before Going into Business with Friends, Consider These 8 Scenerios

One thing people often don't think about when going into business with a friend is the relationship itself. You’re going into business as friends. You want to remain friends.

Business is full of surprises. Discuss the possible surprises upfront, before you mix friendship and business, so you can keep your relationship strong while you’re in business.

You may think your friendship is really strong … and you’re probably right. But when you go into business together, your friendship will be tested more than it ever has been before. It’s wise to prepare for it beforehand, so you already have a lot of the answers when you’re in the middle of a tough situation.

Look at it this way – a business partnership is like a marriage. You need a pre-nuptial agreement! So find a good attorney to draw up an agreement for you.

8 “What if …” scenarios to discuss with your attorney

#1 – What if the business fails?
According to statistics, if the business fails, it’s most likely that no one will be owed any money. But what if that’s not the case – what if the business does owe money? How will you resolve that?

#2 – What if it succeeds wildly?
That may not sound like a problem, but you’d be surprised. Sometimes when a business succeeds at this level, greed enters in. Then comes the power struggles. Discuss the dream scenario upfront to avoid a nightmare.

#3 – What if one of you is incapacitated?
What if one partner is no longer able to do his or her part? How will the others handle this? Will this person get bought out? Is there formula for the price? There’s a lot to think about if this unfortunate situation happens.

#4 – What if one of you dies?
Obviously this is even more extreme than the last scenario. There’s the human side – your friend has passed and you’re grieving. But you also have business to attend to; work still needs to get done.

Many of the same questions from Scenario #3 apply here. But there’s more. For example, does the deceased partner’s family now have an ownership stake? Or do you buy them out?

#5 – What happens when one of you gets married?
Or you may already be married. What say does the spouse have in the business? Can the partner’s interest be jointly owned with a spouse or do you want to restrict ownership to your original group?

#6 – What if one of you gets divorced?
The business interest may be a significant asset. You probably don’t want a former spouse having a say in your business – even as a minority stakeholder. It can really muddy the waters, as the saying goes. What restrictions will you place on ownership?

#7 – What if one of you wants out?
How will you determine a price? What kind of notice will you require? What is the process?

#8 – What if one of isn’t pulling his or her weight?
How will you determine that this is case? What can, and will, you do about it?

These aren’t pleasant things to think about, let alone talk about. However, you’re more likely to find good solutions now when you’re thinking logically than to try to work them out in the heat of the moment.

We can’t stress this enough – get a good business attorney.
Then sit down with your partners and your attorney and work through these issues. Your attorney will probably have even more situations to discuss. Work through these issues before you start – for the sake of your friendship … and your business.


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