Seth Godin Insights :: August 26, 2010

I had the pleasure of seeing Seth Godin speak on August 26, 2010 at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Even though the event took place over a week ago, I've done my best to encapsulate what I consider to be the five most important insights Seth shared during the morning session. Better late than never, right? Seth is an inspiring, dynamic and passionate person who encourages people to think differently. To initiate change. To create art and ship it. To do. If you get a chance to see him speak, I highly recommend it.

The Race to the Bottom

Organizations are always trying to make everything faster and cheaper. Seth attributed this concept to one of the main reasons we're in a recession. He cautioned the audience that this philosophy would lead to more recessions if we don't change our behavior. We no longer need "perpetual motion machines for commerce" such as McDonald's and need to focus on making a true difference as marketers and business people.

The Internet is a Connection Machine

"We did not invent the Internet to make better TV." I couldn't agree more. But, if you think about it, most marketers treat it as such. Seth went on to talk about how the true purpose of the Internet is to connect people, not to facilitate commerce or promote products and services. Social media has exposed this like never before and helps remind us of original intention of the Internet as Seth mentioned. Check it out, Wikipedia even says so. Ever since the 1960's.

Solve Interesting Problems

It's simple. You win when you solve interesting problems other people can't.

Storytelling and Getting People to Talk

In today's advertising world, marketers are yelling louder than ever before. In supermarkets (average store has over 30,000 SKUs), televisions in elevators and self-promoting tweets. Rather than yell, marketers should focus on creating engaging experiences through anticipation, personalization and relevancy. Marketers need to seek the insight that allows them to create experiences people want to share with each other. Storytelling through the lens of your customers' world view will naturally lead to people talking to each other and sharing their experiences with one another.

Defining, Creating and Shipping Art

There are many different ways to define art. Seth describes art as "the act of solving problems and having a positive impact on other humans." Everybody has the ability to create art, but not everyone has the ability to uncover their unique artisan skill and overcome the lizard brain. When creating and shipping art, Seth encourages people to be generous and leave "bread crumbs" along the way to let other people know what kind of artist they are (e.g., blog posts, tweets, or letters of recommendation). Seth argues bread crumbs are a true indicator of an artists credibility. In fact, Seth argues people shouldn't have resumes at all.

As you've probably gathered by this point, Seth takes complex topics and makes them seem extremely simple. That's what brilliant people do. There's nothing straight forward about anything any of us do. However, if we take a step back and think about the philosophies Seth consistently talks about, we all benefit. And we all have a better chance of exuding brilliance.