Notes from a Seth Godin Webinar

I was invited to participate in a Seth Godin webinar today, sponsored by Search Engine Strategies Chicago. Seth discussed his new book, and then answered some questions. I took some notes:

  • Rhetorical questions: How come when we go to find stuff online, we don’t visit How did they fail? Why doesn’t Sotheby’s own the online auction space? Why don’t we have TV Guide videos instead of YouTube videos? Why don’t I complain about having to update my status on AOLBook?
  • His book is an articulation of a contemporary industrial revolution.
  • A meatball sundae is a combination of two things:
  • Meatballs are commodities sold to everyone.
  • The toppings are the tactics of the new Internet.
  • The toppings work best when put on companies that know how to use them.

14 Trends of Today’s Web

  1. Direct communication between producers and consumers. Companies usually put up enormous barriers between these groups. The Internet has opened up these channels of communication–compare Sotheby’s to eBay. “Given the choice, people want to be heard”.
  2. Amplifying individual voices. Everyone’s a critic, and has a much louder, more persistent voice. Organizations need to embrace feedback.
  3. Have an authentic story. Be consistent.
  4. Our attention spans are approaching zero. No more one-minute commercials. Animated banners are too slow. This is a coping mechanism for figuring out how we want to spend our time.
  5. Chris Anderson’s long tail. Very few organizations actually embrace the concept. Consumers want choice. Make the menu as long as you want–NBC can have 1000 channels instead of one.
  6. Micro-outsourcing. Outsource extremely small tasks like making dinner reservations. If you can write a manual for a job, it’s going to get done by somebody cheaper.
  7. Google atomizes the world. People don’t visit websites via the front door, and bundled products don’t work.
  8. Infinite channels of communication. A million radio stations, millions of videos–elimination of the bottleneck. Every politician should have their own TV channel. You can build your own channel.
  9. Consumers can talk directly to consumers. Your business customers can build a cartel to make you lower your prices. See also eBay.
  10. Shifts in scarcity and abundance. Stuff that used to be scarce is now abundant. Stuff that used to be abundant is now scarce–the ability to pollute or spare time.
  11. The cost of getting successful is to have a truly big idea. See also the iPhone.
  12. The shift from how many to who. Marketers are obsessed with amounts. Being on The Today Show is no longer more powerful than being on Boing Boing.
  13. Democratization of the wealthy. See book Trading Up. The number of rich people is going up, and they’re just like everybody else. It’s hard to predict who wants to buy your Prada purses.
  14. New gatekeepers and no gatekeepers. We no longer have the power to decide how hears what. Scoble and Arrington are new gatekeepers, but have less control than the old ones.
  • How do you change your marketing–what you do–so that it’s in synch with what the market demands?People buy TV advertising because their boss did. You can’t get fired for spending more money on it. Most importantly, it’s unmeasurable. The Internet offers measurable media, which scared the heck out of marketers.
  • Google and Overture’s brilliant move was selling ads for a nickel. The price has been increasing ever since. SEM is ‘spending a nickel to earn a dime’.
  • A shift to SEM is happening, but it’s going to take a while.
  • The technology adoption curve goes to infinity at both ends. At the front end, it’s possible to be too focussed on the bleeding edge. Disruptors can get too far ahead, and the masses never catch up.
  • Facebook is largely a permission marketing tool. “I give you permission to contact me in a spam-free way.” Hence, there’s a land rush of people trying to build a massive amount of people they can ping inside Facebook.


  1. Thanks for the notes Darren. I love Seth Godin’s ideas — very interesting, the initial questions especially… makes you think “what if…”

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