Seth Godin on How to Think Small to Go Big

Tim Ferriss is not associated or affiliated with PodcastNotes in any way. All notes are independently created by PodcastNotes and do not imply any sponsorship or endorsement by, or affiliation with, Mr. Ferriss.


Seth Godin is the author of 17 bestselling books that have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the way ideas spread, marketing, strategic quitting, leadership, and — most of all — challenging the status quo in all areas. His books include Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip, Purple Cow, and What to Do When it’s Your Turn (and it’s Always Your Turn).

What’s the one thing that most marketers do wrong?

  • Marketers are selfish and narcissists.
  • They have a desire for attention that trumps every one of their values.
  • Successful marketers aren’t like that.
    • They don’t deceive; they just have a good product to sell.

How to build a tribe from scratch?

  • We don’t have to invent a new tribe.
    • Nike didn’t invent runners.
  • Just find people that are already connected and lead them or service them.

What limiting self-belief did you change in order to become successful and how do you change them?

  • Change your “sour mindset”.
    • Where we feel like we’re not getting what we deserve.
    • Don’t say the world’s unfair.
  • Don’t keep track of your errors and failures.
    • Is this making you a better person?
    • We should keep track of the positive experiences.
    • The narration of your life is something only you can choose.

What is your opinion on quality versus quantity in online marketing and can you win without being everywhere?

  • You can win without being everywhere.
  • Trends and “likes” are traps.
    • It will not cause you success.
  • We should try to leave the tiniest online footprint we can.
    • Small is achievable but seems risky, whereas big gives us a sense of false security.
    • Be on only one media.
    • Focus your energy on one tribe or group.

The “long cut”

  • It’s the opposite of the short cut.
  • It is the most direct route to get where you want to go.
    • The road to success isn’t supposed to be easy.

How do you approach a Mastermind Group?

  • Public schools were invented by our industrious age to form factory workers.
  • This model is fading.
    • It’s getting replaced by people who know how to solve interesting problems and lead, also known as Masterminds.
    • We need to teach those things at school.
    • Lessons we remember the most are learned the hard way.
    • Kids need to explore and experiment with things they failed at.
  • Kids should be exited about going to school.
    • Not because it’s required but because they want to learn.
    • Coursera is a good example.
    • We need to create an environment where kids would miss school.

Do you ever have fear and if so, how do you deal with it? If not, when did it stop?

  • Fear is hardwired into us.
  • We are to one’s who process fear incorrectly.
    • There is no danger, but we are still scared.
    • We need to dance with fear.
  • Fear can be used to indicate a work of value and importance.

If you didn’t have your network, blog or e-mail list, how would you build a tribe today, starting from zero? Could you go back to your current level of prominence and impact?

  • His level of impact is mainly based on luck.
  • Not everything he tried worked.
  • Pick the smallest market possible and ask yourself if you could change the life of 3, 5 or even 10 people.
    • If you can’t make it in a small tribe, chances are it’s not going to work on a larger scale.
    • It’s not easier with short cuts or with a bigger market.
    • Find a market where someone needs what you have
  • The trick is to find clients who trust you, deliver valuable work and making enough money to do it again.

What is your brand?

  • Your brand is what people expect from you.
  • It is your promise.
  • Everybody has a brand.
    • It can be negative or positive.
    • You should always be working on improving it.
    • Everything brands you: your appearance, handshake, work, pricing, etc.
    • The way people see you can be unfair, but no one knows yourself like you do.
  • Be flexible and commit to the market place you want to be in.

How do you decide what is essential and what is useless?

  • If you want to make a specific change, it’s easy to find what is essential.
  • Stand for something and make a promise to shape your brand accordingly.
  • Set boundaries for what you will and will not stand for.

 How will marketing change as people leave for the gig economy? How can we stand in a crowded field?

  • Today’s industry runs on neophilia, which is the love people have for new things.
    • This market’s constantly living on the edge.
  • You don’t have to go in that direction.
    • Find people who are in the center of the market.
    • You can offer pricier gigs if you understand people better and if you go the extra mile.
    • Make your work human.

How do you choose your projects? What scale do you want your projects to be? How do you keep from getting distracted in the middle of a project?

  • You need to decide those things:
    • Who you are.
    • What your brand is.
    • On which scale do you want to accomplish things.
  • Once you choose, you have to stick with it and every other subsequent decision has to help make your brand better.

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