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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!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00255-103108.mp3

Related posts

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part I

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part 2

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!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00254-103008.mp3

Related posts

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part I

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part 3

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!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00253-102908.mp3

Related posts

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part 2

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part 3