It’s been almost ten years to the day that Seth Godin has started his blog (the first post is from January 31, 2002). So it’s only fitting (as well as delusional) to try and make a Top 10 list of his best posts.
Although I’ve been privileged to sit down for an interview with Godin several years ago, I do not presume to know his work better than others. The list you’ll find below is completely subjective. And I haven’t gone back to research all of his posts – instead, I’ve used three criteria:
1. The post influenced my thinking or my work
2. I frequently find myself coming back to the post
3. I quote it or cite it to convince clients 🙂
So, without further ado, here are my Top 10 Seth, with some comments. Would love to get replies with your favorite Seth posts!
Yes, the first one is actually not written by Seth, but by venerable VC-investor Fred Wilson. This might seem an odd choice unless you read the post and then read the first comment – a comment by none other than Godin himself. His comment succinctly sums up, in non-academic layman’s terms, what marketing is. And sheds a light on the fact that people, even extremely smart ones, tend to confuse advertising with marketing.
Marketing 101. Every person who’s interested in or works in marketing should read this.
Strong brands (should) use at least one of those levers. Apple, the strongest brand in the world, inspires all three.
Business 101. It’s really tough to have answers for those 4 questions. Those answers often require making real choices, otherwise the discussion is abstract and useless. The innovator’s dilemma often results in failure to make those choices (or to make the right choices), as the music business has learned. And no, you can’t always test those choices. You need guts.
Customer service 101. It’s tough to choose among Seth’s musings on the subject, so this choice was somewhat random. These two are great as well: “…but what really blew me away” and Winning on the uphills.
Naming 101. Also this. Both make the point, by the way, that people tend to overestimate the importance of a short URL (or, relatedly, owning the exactly-spelled domain). The unimaginable number of people searching for “Facebook” on Google is the ultimate proof.
This is about our current culture of instant gratification. But it’s also a beautiful insight about value. From the consumer’s point of view, it’s the road from “What have you done for me lately?” to “What’s in it for me, right now?”.
10. Which are you
The default is not competent. It’s mediocre. It’s average. Which encapsulates the previous nine.