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Q&A: The Dip and knowing when to quit | Seth's Blog
elf, "is this something that will respond to guts, effort and investment?"
Seth_Godin 
february 2019 by jerryking
Tom Peters summarizes 17 books in six words -
May 31, 2018 | The Globe and Mail | HARVEY SCHACHTER.

“Hard is soft. Soft is hard.”
“Hard” stands for plans, data, a company’s organizational chart and other analytical tools. And while such rigorous quantitative work usually seems solid, Tom Peters warns on the Change This Manifesto site that they aren’t. “Plans are more often than not fantasies, numbers are readily manipulated,” he writes. “And org charts: In practice, they have little to do with how things actually get done.”

In the second sentence, he is referring to “the soft stuff” – people, relationships and organizational culture. It’s important. And it’s hard to get right.

So soft is hard – very hard.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Here are the speed traps to be aware of:

* Relationships take time.
* Recruiting allies to your cause takes time.
* Reading and studying to improve takes time.
* Waiting takes time – and yes, you should wait, since delay and pondering are essential elements of being human.
* Aggressive listening takes time.
* Practice and prep for anything takes time.
* Management-by-walking-around takes time.
* The slack you need in your schedule that comes from thinking about what not to do so you’re not overscheduled takes time.
* Thoughtful small gestures take time.
* The last one per cent of any task or project – the often critical part, the polishing part – takes time.
* Game-changing design takes time. Laurene Powell Jobs noted that her husband, Steve Jobs, and his chief designer, Jony Ive, “would discuss corners for hours.”
* Excellence takes time.
* “It is a hyper-fast-paced world. And the speed therein is madly increasing. Excellence, however, takes time; and some, or most, measures cannot be rushed,” he says.
* So remember hard is soft. Soft is hard. And don’t automatically get caught in the speed trap.

[jk....from Tony Schwartz...... Judgment is grounded in discernment, subtlety and nuance.... Good judgment grows out of reflection, and reflection requires the sort of quiet time that gets crowded out by the next demand].

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
THE VALUE OF PAIRED OPPOSITES
it’s not enough to merely explain what you believe. You also need to explain what you don’t believe. It is not enough to explain what you stand for. You need to explain what you stand against. That is critical with colleagues in the workplace; it helps to clarify. But it also works in Mr. Williams’ field, advertising. “Don’t just tell us what you are. Tell us what you are not,” he says.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
check email at 7 a.m., 11 a.m., 4 p.m., and 8 p.m., with some additional time to purge emails each day.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Seth Godin: Add energy to every conversation, ask why, find obsolete items on your task list and eliminate them, treat customers better than they expected, offer to help to co-workers before they ask, leave things more organized than you found them, cut costs, and find other great employees to join the team.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
two words that will build trust with customers, according to consultant Jeff Mowatt: “As promised.” Add them in to conversations after you deliver something on time or in detail, to emphasize it’s “as promised.”
Communicating_&_Connecting  e-mail  Harvey_Schachter  humour  Jonathan_Ive  Seth_Godin  soft_skills  speed  Tom_Peters  trustworthiness  dual-consciousness  pairs  clarity  thinking_deliberatively  on-time  opposing_actions  co-workers 
may 2018 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: Before you raise money (assets and expenses)
Here's the key thing you have to understand before you ask your mom or your friends or the local VC for an investment:

There's a huge difference between spending money on expenses and spending money to build an asset.

Ice at a picnic is an expense. Once it melts, it's gone. Your electric bill, rent--these are costs of doing business, and you should rarely if ever borrow money to pay them.

Assets, on the other hand, are things that sustain or grow in value, that you can use again and again, and that are ultimately worth more than they cost.

A college degree from the right institution is an asset. So is an earned list of 10,000 people who want to hear from you by email once a week. So is a reputation (which some people call a brand).

For entrepreneurs, then, the math is simple: any asset-building opportunity that will generate a long-term profit is worth considering and even worth borrowing money to acquire.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The reason for this money trap is that so many small-business owners confuse raising money for expenses with raising money to build an asset. This is worth understanding.

If you can say, "I will spend this money on X, and X will make Y happen, and Y will pay off handsomely," then a professional investor ought to be open to hearing that story.

But the things to spend money on are a significant real estate presence, machines, patents, a permanent, expensive brand. The entrepreneur who spends this money does it with enthusiasm, because she's buying things that are going to grow in value, fast.

This is the painting contractor who realizes that a high-powered industrial paint booth will make him the only guy in town who can do a certain kind of job. Or the fast food impresario who asserts that opening ten restaurants in one town in one year will give her the footprint to be more efficient and profitable.
funding  assets  Seth_Godin  expenses  financing 
may 2017 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: The map has been replaced by the compass
Posted by Seth Godin on February 21, 2012

The map keeps getting redrawn, because it's cheaper than ever to go offroad, to develop and innovate and remake what we thought was going to be next. Technology keeps changing the routes we take to get our projects from here to there. It doesn't pay to memorize the route, because it's going to change soon.

The compass, on the other hand, is more important then ever. If you don't know which direction you're going, how will you know when you're off course?
And yet...

And yet we spend most of our time learning (or teaching) the map, yesterday's map, while we're anxious and afraid to spend any time at all calibrating our compass.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
* Turn battleships by making directional commitments and staying the
course.
* Figure out what your North Star is.
mapping  Seth_Godin  North_Star 
april 2017 by jerryking
Let me see
Posted by Seth Godin on July 08, 2008.

Passive contributions of public behaviour information to traditionally-sorted data
data  ideas  information  inspiration  Seth_Godin  social_data  datasets  open_data  social_physics  massive_data_sets  wisdom_of_crowds  thick_data  public_behavior  sorting  value_creation 
january 2015 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: Changing the game
Posted by Seth Godin on November 01, 2007

Google announced an open interchange that allows users to take their social graph with them from one site to another. MySpace just joined in. This changes the rules for FaceBook, because now users have a choice of picking from dozens, soon to be hundreds of open sites... or just one closed one.

How can you change your game?

Consider the plight of Mike Huckabee and John Edwards. Both are making strong runs for the nominations of their parties, but both suffer because they're not seen as front runners. So why not change the game? Instead of waiting for a TV network to invite them to a debate, why not make your own TV show? Debate each other, in public, in Iowa. Broadcast the whole thing on YouTube. When you're done, challenge others in the opposite party to debate you, one on one. On your channel. What are they, chicken?

Consider the sandwich/burger shop/deli on a street crowded with choices. What to do? Why not get rid of all the meat and become a vegetarian/kosher sandwich/burger shop/deli? Now, it's five competitors and you. Anyone with a friend who eats carefully will bring her to your shop, the one and only one of its kind.

Usually, when you destroy the barriers in an existing industry, everyone loses... except you.
game_changers  entrepreneurship  risk-taking  barriers_to_entry  Seth_Godin  change_agents  thinking_big  scaling  constraints  vegetarian 
september 2012 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: States rights
posted by Seth Godin on November 02, 2007

Don't treat everyone the same. First time visitors want something different than repeaters. Loyal customers want to see something different from the masses.

Get your IT person to show you how to divide the world into states. Then start from scratch and make a different experience for everyone.
websites  market_segmentation  Seth_Godin  customer_loyalty  tips  customer_experience  IT  UX  first_time_visitors  repeat_visitors 
september 2012 by jerryking
What Did You Do During the 2000s?
May 31, 2003 | | Fast Company | By Seth Godin.
Seth_Godin  inspiration 
august 2012 by jerryking
A Little Like Francisco Franco: Brands versus branding
Posted by Seth Godin on November 14, 2004

Doc Searls and company would have us believe that markets are conversations. This is a great conversation-starter and a useful piece of agit-prop. But the reality is that many many brands are actually monologues, not dialogues.
branding  brands  Seth_Godin 
july 2012 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: define: Brand
define: Brand

Here's my definition: A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.

A brand's value is merely the sum total of how much extra people will pay, or how often they choose, the expectations, memories, stories and relationships of one brand over the alternatives.
Seth_Godin  brands  branding  brand_equity  emotional_connections 
july 2012 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: On making a ruckus in your industry
Seth Godin on April 07, 2012

* Bring forward a new idea or technology that disrupts and demands a response
* Change pricing dramatically
* Redefine a service as a product (or vice versa)
* Organize the disorganized, connect the disconnected
* Alter the speed to market radically
* Change the infrastructure, the rules or the flow of information
* Give away what used to be expensive and charge for something else
* Cater to the weird, bypassing the masses
* Take the lead on ethics

(Or you could just wait for someone to tell you what they want you to do)
Seth_Godin  blogs  disruption  pricing  information_flows  free  ethics  niches  change_agents  disorganization  ideas  new_businesses  idea_generation  disconnecting  Tabla  game_changers  Play_Bigger 
may 2012 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: Solving the problem isn't the problem
Seth Godin on May 08, 2012

The problem is finding a vector that pays for itself as you scale.

We see a problem and we think we've "solved" it, but if there isn't a scalable go-to-market business approach behind the solution, it's not going to work.

This is where engineers and other problem solvers so often get stuck. Industries and organizations and systems aren't broken because no one knows how to solve their problem. They're broken because the difficult part is finding a scalable, profitable way to market and sell the solution.
Seth_Godin  problem_solving  scaling  problems  OPMA  Michael_McDerment 
may 2012 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: Why ask why?
"Why?" is the most important question, not asked nearly enough.

Hint: "Because I said so," is not a valid answer.

Why does it work this way?
Why is that our goal?
Why did you say no?
Why are we treating people differently?
Why is this our policy?
Why don't we enter this market?
Why did you change your mind?
Why are we having this meeting?
Why not?
Seth_Godin  questions  say_"no"  change_your_mind  5_W’s 
may 2012 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: The TED imperatives
Posted by Seth Godin on January 13, 2012

Be interested.
Be generous.
Be interesting.
Connect.
Seth_Godin  TED  rules_of_the_game  conferences 
february 2012 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: The need to be right
Posted by Seth Godin on October 18, 2007
Seth_Godin 
october 2011 by jerryking
Cheap media, cheap ads
August 21, 2007 | Digital Signage News: | Posted by Bill Gerba
digital_signage  Seth_Godin 
august 2011 by jerryking
Unreasonable
November 16, 2010 / Seth's Blog / Posted by Seth Godin. The
paradox of an instant, worldwide, connected marketplace for all goods
and services:
All that succeeds is the unreasonable.
You can get my attention if your product is unreasonably well designed,
if your preparation is unreasonably over the top, if your customer
service is unreasonably attentive and generous and honest. You can earn
my business or my recommendation if the build quality is unreasonable
for the intended use, if the pricing is unreasonably low or if the
experience is unreasonably over-the-top irresistible given the
competition. Want to get into a famous college? You'll need to have
unreasonably high grades, impossibly positive recommendations and yes, a
life that's balanced. That's totally unreasonable. The market now
expects and demands an unreasonable effort and investment on your part.
You don't have to like it for it to be true.

In fact, unreasonable is the new reasonable.
Seth_Godin  ksfs  inspiration 
november 2010 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: The Scarcity Shortage
Aug. 27, 2007 | Seth Godin.

Scarcity has a lot to do with value. Scarcity is the cornerstone of our economy. The best way to make a profit is by trading in something that's scarce.

How to deal with the shortage of scarcity? Well, the worst strategy is whining--about copyright laws/fair trade/how hard you've worked. etc. Start by acknowledging that most of the profit from your business is going to disappear soon. Unless you have a significant cost adv. (e.g. Amazon's or Wal-Mart's), someone with nothing to lose is going to offer a similar product for less $.....So what's scarce now? Respect. Honesty. Good judgment. L.T. relationships that lead to trust. None of these things guarantee loyalty in the face of cut-rate competition, though. So I'll add: an insanely low-cost structure based on outsourcing everything except your company's insight into what your customers really want to buy. If the work is boring, let someone else do it, faster & cheaper than you ever could. If your products are boring, kill them before your competition does. Ultimately,
what's scarce is that kind of courage--which is exactly what you can
bring to the market.
scarcity  Seth_Godin  customer_loyalty  respect  judgment  honesty  whining  trustworthiness  inspiration  entrepreneurship  proprietary  cost-structure  relationships  kill_rates  courage  customer_insights  insights  competitive_advantage  low-cost 
october 2010 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: Seek scarcity
October 01, 2010 | Seth Godin.

If you're managing a project, figure out what the scarce resource is
(it's not usually money). Climbing Everest? It's warmth and weight you
care about, not how much the sleeping bag costs.

If you're creating a business, figure out what contribution you make and
what you offer that your competitors can't. If 1,000 people can provide
typing services the way you do, don't expect to get paid a premium.

Scarcity creates value.
Seth_Godin  scarcity 
october 2010 by jerryking
7 Easy Steps to Bootstrapping Success
Oct 1, 2010 | Inc. Magazine | By Andrew Park. In this economy,
you can pretty much forget about financing. And it's probably just as
well, says marketing guru Seth Godin, author of The Bootstrapper's
Bible. People often ask him for advice on raising venture capital for
their start-ups, and "nine times out of 10, I advise them they
shouldn't," he says. Instead, take these seven steps to self-funded
stardom. (1) GET CLOSE TO YOUR CUSTOMERS ; (2) MAKE CLIENTS PAY UP FRONT
;(3)FIND THE FREE LUNCH ;(4) FORGET STEALTH MODE ; (5)BECOME AN
EXPERT ; (6) ASK FOR HELP ; (7) BE PATIENT
Seth_Godin  bootstrapping  entrepreneurship  inspiration  start_ups  asking_for_help  funding  finance  tips  venture_capital  charge_for_something  stealth  expertise  patience  Pablo_Picasso  strategic_patience 
september 2010 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: Sell the problem
August 25, 2010 | Seth Godin. My friend Marcia has a very
cool idea for large professional firms. As an architect, she realized
the firms were wasting time and money and efficiency in the way they use
their space. Roomtag is her answer.

The challenge is this: if your big law firm or accounting firm doesn't
think it has a space allocation/stuff tracking/office mapping problem,
you won't be looking for a solution. You won't wake up in the morning
dreaming about how to solve it, or go to bed wondering how much it's
costing you to ignore it. And so the marketing challenge is to sell the
problem. Imagine, for example, getting the data and publishing a list of
the top 50 firms, ranked by efficiency of space use. All of a sudden,
the bottom half of the list realizes that yes, in fact, they have
something that they need to work on.

******************************************************************************
Making Data Visible So You Can Act On It
December 11, 2012 | MIT Sloan Management Review |John Schulz (AT&T), interviewed by Nina Kruschwitz.
...The visibility of that data is what really drives behavior, because it’s shared with their peers, who the facility managers want to do well among, and with upper management. We found the scorecard model to be very useful, both for choosing the right points of data and then for making them visible. That was a real turning point for us
awareness  consumer_awareness  JCK  Octothorpe_Software  problems  problem_awareness  problem_solving  selling_the_problem  Seth_Godin  visibility 
august 2010 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: Information about information
Posted by Seth Godin on July 15, 2010.

information about information. That's what Facebook and Google and Bloomberg do for a living. They create a meta-layer, a world of information about the information itself.

And why is this so valuable? Because it compounds. A tiny head start in access to this information gives you a huge advantage in the stock market. Or in marketing. Or in fundraising.

Many people and organizations are contributing to this mass of data, but few are taking advantage of the opportunity to collate it and present it to people who desperately need it. Think about how much needs to be sorted, compared, updated and presented to people who want to choose or learn or trade on it.

The race to deliver this essential scalable asset isn't over, it's just beginning.
information_flows  Information_Rules  Seth_Godin  data_driven  competingonanalytics  overlay_networks  sorting  metadata  slight_edge  compounded  inequality_of_information  multiplicative  cumulative 
july 2010 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: The circles (no more strangers)
Posted by Seth Godin on May 17, 2010

Consider this hierarchy: Strangers, Friends, Listeners, Customers,
Sneezers, Fans and True Fans. One true fan is worth perhaps 10,000 times
as much as a stranger. And yet if you're in search of strangers, odds
are you're going to mistreat a true fan in order to seduce yet another
stranger who probably won't reward you much.
Seth_Godin  customer_loyalty  segmentation  market_segmentation  marketing  superfans  customer_segmentation 
june 2010 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: Hope and the magic lottery
Posted by Seth Godin on June 13, 2010.

You deserve better than the dashed hopes of a magic lottery.

There's a hard work alternative to the magic lottery, one in which you can incrementally lay the groundwork and integrate into the system you say you want to work with. And yet instead of doing that work, our instinct is to demonize the person that wants to take away our ticket, to confuse the math of the situation (there are very few glass slippers available) with someone trying to slam the door in your faith/face.

You can either work yourself to point where you don't need the transom, or you can play a different game altogether, but throwing your stuff over the transom isn't worthy of the work you've done so far.

Starbucks didn't become Starbucks by getting discovered by Oprah Winfrey or being blessed by Warren Buffet when they only had a few stores. No, they plugged along. They raised bits of money here and there, flirted with disaster, added one store and then another, tweaked and measured and improved and repeated. Day by day, they dripped their way to success. No magic lottery.

What chance is there that Mark Cuban or Carlos Slim is going to agree to be your mentor, to open all doors and give you a shortcut to the top? Better, I think, to avoid wasting a moment of your time hoping for a fairy godmother. You're in a hurry and this is a dead end.

When someone encourages you to avoid the magic lottery, they're not criticizing your idea nor are they trying to shatter your faith or take away your hope. Instead, they're pointing out that shortcuts are rarely dependable (or particularly short) and that instead, perhaps, you should follow the longer, more deliberate, less magical path if you truly want to succeed.

If your business or your music or your art or your project is truly worth your energy and your passion, then don't sell it short by putting its future into a lottery ticket.

Here's another way to think about it: delight the audience you already have, amaze the customers you can already reach, dazzle the small investors who already trust you enough to listen to you. Take the permission you have and work your way up. Leaps look good in the movies, but in fact, success is mostly about finding a path and walking it one step at a time.
delighting_customers  hard_work  Mark  Cuban  pitches  hope  self-delusions  Seth_Godin 
june 2010 by jerryking
LINCHPIN: ARE YOU INDISPENSABLE?
Feb 2010 | Corporate Report Wisconsin Vol. 25, Iss. 6; pg. 7, 1 pgs | by Jack Covert.
ProQuest  Seth_Godin  book_reviews  indispensable 
may 2010 by jerryking
Seth Godin on What it Takes to be a Linchpin [INTERVIEW]
Feb. 14, 2010 | Mashable | Interview of Seth Godin by Steve
Cunningham is the CEO of Polar Unlimited, a digital marketing agency.
In his book — Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? — Seth Godin poses a
challenge: Take your gift, whatever it is, and use it to change the
world. As Godin says, “a linchpin is the essential element, the person
who holds part of the operation together. Without the linchpin, the
thing falls apart.” "If I told you, step-by-step, what to do to become
indispensable, then anyone could do it. And if anyone could do it, it
wouldn’t be worth very much. Scarcity creates value. And, this is going
to frustrate people, but the emotional labor of work, today — the thing
that makes you worth $50,000 or $100,000 or $150,000 a year — is that
you can navigate the world without a map. People who need a map, are
going to get paid less and less and work harder and harder every day,
because there’s plenty of those people, and I can find them with a click
of the mouse."
Seth_Godin  indispensable  howto  entrepreneur  inspiration  scarcity  interviews  proprietary  sense-making  ambiguities  uncertainty  navigation  non-routine  uncharted_problems 
february 2010 by jerryking
What Matters Now
December 14, 2009 | blogs.hbr.org. "What Matters Now" is the
work of more than 60 people with big ideas and something to say. It will
inspire you to make some changes in 2010, and to keep doing work that
matters. What better way for business thinkers to celebrate the holiday
season than with the gift of great ideas? As the year 2009 — as
difficult, divisive, worrisome, and hopeful a year since, well, 2008 —
draws to a close, my friend Seth Godin, the innovator, writer, and
blogger extraordinaire, has persuaded 70 other innovators, writers, and
bloggers to participate in a project he calls What Matters Now.
inspiration  Seth_Godin  writing  ideas  blog  what_really_matters 
february 2010 by jerryking
The future of the library
Posted by Seth Godin on January 09, 2010. What should libraries
do to become relevant in the digital age? Seth's proposal: train people
to take intellectual initiative. Since information is now free, what's
needed is training leaders, sherpas and teachers who will push everyone
from kids to seniors to get very aggressive in finding and using
information and in connecting with and leading others.
future  libraries  Seth_Godin  critical_thinking  infoliteracy 
january 2010 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: "It doesn't hurt to ask"
Posted by Seth Godin on May 18, 2009. Every once in a while, of
course, asking out of the blue pays off. So what? That is dwarfed by
the extraordinary odds of failing. Instead, invest some time and earn
the right to ask. Do your homework. Build connections. Make a reasonable
request, something easy and mutually beneficial. Yes leads to yes which
just maybe leads to the engagement you were actually seeking.
Seth_Godin  questions  requests  mutually_beneficial  pitches  upselling  chance  courage  preparation 
december 2009 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: How to lose an argument online
Posted by Seth Godin on November 23, 2009. Instead of arguing,
Seth advocates the following: "Earn a reputation. Have a conversation.
Ask questions. Describe possible outcomes of a point of view. Make
connections. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Align
objectives then describe a better outcome. Show up. Smile."
Seth_Godin  debates  howto  grace  reputation  conversations  questions  options  Communicating_&_Connecting  following_up  disagreements  argumentation  personal_branding 
december 2009 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: Is it too late to catch up?
Posted by Seth Godin on December 03, 2009. What if your
organization or your client has done nothing? What if they've just
watched the last fourteen years go by? No real website, no social media,
no permission assets. What if now they're ready and they ask your
advice? And, by the way, they have no real cash to spend...Here's a list
of Seth's top ten things to consider doing:

......*Start a newsletter for your vendors. Email them regular updates about what you're doing, what's selling and what problems are going on internally that they might be able to help you with.
*Do not approve any project that isn't run on Basecamp.
*Get a white board and put it in the break room. On it, have someone update: how many people subscribe to the newsletter, how many people visit the website, how many inbound requests come in by phone, how long it takes customer service to answer an email and how often your brand names are showing up on Twitter every day.
*Don't have any meetings about your web strategy. Just do stuff. First you have to fail, then you can improve.
*Refuse to cede the work to consultants. You don't outsource your drill press or your bookkeeping or your product design. If you're going to catch up, you must (all of you) get good at this, and you only accomplish that by doing it.
The problem is no longer budget. The problem is no longer access to tools.
Basecamp  Seth_Godin  UFSC  lists  tips  online_marketing 
december 2009 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: Understanding business development
September 21, 2009 | Posted by Seth Godin.

Here are some tactical tips on how to do business development better:

Process first, ideas second.
Who decides?
Courtship, negotiation and marriage.
Buyer and seller.
Enthusiasm is underrated.
Close the open door.
Call the lawyers later.
Cast a wider net
Talk to the receptionist.
Hire better.
Structure deals with the expectation of success.
End well.
business_development  Seth_Godin  negotiations 
october 2009 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: "Notice me"
October 17, 2009 | Posted by Seth Godin which might be
summarized as suggesting that "having meaning (or making meaning) trumps
gaining attention". So, better than being noticed is to be: *
Trusted; * Engaged with; * Purchased from
* Discussed; * Echoed; * Teaching us; * Leading;
Seth_Godin  social_media  inspiration 
october 2009 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: Creating sustainable competitive advantage
October 14, 2009 | Posted by Seth Godin listing the things one
can do, whether web company, service business, manufacturer, etc. to
create a sustainable competitive advantage.
Freshbooks  5_Blocks_Out  Seth_Godin  competitive_advantage  business_models  howto 
october 2009 by jerryking
How to be a packager
Posted by Seth Godin on June 29, 2009

Seth was a book packager which has nothing to do with packaging and a bit more to do with books. It's a great gig and there are useful lessons, because there are dozens of industries just waiting for "packaging"....A book packager is like a movie producer, but for books. You invent an idea, find the content and the authors, find the publisher and manage the process. Book packagers make almanacs, illustrated books, series books for kids and the goofy one-off books you find at the cash register. Seth did everything from a line of almanacs to a book on spot and stain removal. It was terrific fun, and in a good year, a fine business.....there are advantages to this model (and not just for books).

First, the world needs packagers. Packagers that can find isolated assets and connect them in a way that creates value, at the same time that they put in the effort to actually ship the product out of the door. ...
Second, in many industries there are 'publishers' who need more products to sell. Any website with a lot of traffic and a shopping cart can benefit from someone who can assemble products that they can profitably sell. Apple uses the iPhone store to publish apps. It's not a perfect analogy, because they're not taking any financial risk, but the web is now creating a new sort of middleman who can cheaply sell a product to the end user. We also see this with Bed, Bath and Beyond commissioning products for their stores, or Trader Joe's doing it with food items.

Any time you can successfully bring together people who have a reputation or skill with people who sell things, you're creating value. If you find an appropriate scale, it can become a sustainable, profitable business.

The skills you bring to the table are vision, taste and a knack for seeing what's missing. You also have to be a project manager, a salesperson and the voice of reason, the person who brings the entire thing together and to market without it falling apart. Like so many of the businesses that are working now, it doesn't take much cash, it merely takes persistence and drive.

Here are some basic rules of thumb that I learned the hard way:

* It's much easier to sell to an industry that's used to buying. Books were a great place for me to start because book publishers are organized to buy projects from outsiders. It's hard enough to make the sale, way too hard to persuade the person that they should even consider entering the market. (PS stay away from the toy business).
* Earning the trust of the industry is critical. The tenth sale is a thousand times easier than the second one (the first one doesn't count... beginner's luck).
* Developing expertise or assets that are not easily copied is essential, otherwise you're just a middleman.
* Patience in earning the confidence of your suppliers (writers, brands, factories, freelancers) pays off.
* Don't overlook obvious connections. It may be obvious to you that Eddie Bauer should license its name and look to a car company, but it might not be to them.
* Get it in writing. Before you package up an idea for sale to a company that can bring it to market, make sure that all the parties you're representing acknowledge your role on paper.
* As the agent of change, you deserve the lion's share of the revenue, because you're doing most of the work and taking all of the risk. Agenting is a good gig, but that's not what I'm talking about.
* Stick with it. There's a Dip and it's huge. Lots of people start doing things like this, and most of them give up fairly quickly. It might take three or five years before the industry starts to rely on you.
* Work your way up. Don't start by trying to license the Transformers or Fergie. They won't trust a newbie and you wouldn't either.
Seth_Godin  howto  business_development  expertise  one-of-a-kind  licensing  patience  large_companies  voids  vision  persistence  change_agents  overlooked_opportunities  packaging  value_added  non-obvious  latent  hidden  information_synthesis  creating_valuable_content 
july 2009 by jerryking
Thinking bigger
Posted by Seth Godin on September 19, 2008

The bigger point is that none of us are doing enough to challenge the assignment. Every day, I spend at least an hour of my time looking at my work and what I've chosen to do next and wonder, "is this big enough?.... What are you doing to go beyond the expectations...Thinking bigger isn't about being bigger. It's about changing the game. Do what you've always done and you'll get what you've always gotten....Yesterday, I was sitting with a friend who runs a small training company. He asked, "I need better promotion. How do I get more people to take the professional type design course I offer at my office?" My answer was a question, as it usually is. "Why is the course at your office?" and then, "Why is it a course and not accreditation, or why not turn it into a guild for job seekers, where you could train people and use part of the tuition to hire someone to organize a private job board? You could guarantee clients well-trained students (no bozos) and you could guarantee students better jobs... everyone wins."

I have no idea if my idea for the training company is a good one, but I know it's a bigger one.
Seth_Godin  inspiration  overdeliver  chutzpah  individual_initiative  expectations  upselling  thinking_big  scaling  ideas  creating_valuable_content  overambitious  new_categories  game_changers  Play_Bigger 
july 2009 by jerryking
Top entrepreneurs talk about how to keep your customers, and find opportunities, in tough economic times
MAY 11, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | 5-person panel discussion
moderated by Gwendolyn Bounds. Wendy questions the group of
entrepreneurs under the theme "What’s the secret of being an
entrepreneur in these hard economic times?"....trying to stand out from the crowd. I think the best one we did, which we launched when it was about six degrees outside, was a marketing campaign that says, what this town could really use right now is a good bowl of chicken soup.

Chicken soup is one of the great comfort foods in every single culture, and we think that we need to be selling comfort right now. And chicken soup also is a way to define the restaurant. .....people are always looking for joy. They’re always looking to be connected. They’re always looking to feel generous. So Danny’s insight, which is so brilliant, is for the cost of a bowl of chicken soup, you get to feel generous. You get to feel connected. You get to feel part of the community. That story is easy to tell because we all have a memory of chicken soup growing up.......Marketing is not this blank check that lets you sell whatever you want. The challenge that we’re facing, as we enter this serious recession, is not how do we stop doing everything. It’s how do we create experiences and stories, interactions, that don’t necessarily cost a lot of money, but create value for everyone concerned.......I think that for an entrepreneur who is interested and passionate about creating something in the technology space, whether it’s a device or a service or a platform, this is an extraordinary time, because there’s an enormous lull in the Fortune 1000 with respect to innovation and new ideation. ........on the equity side, where they don’t have these types of opportunities, we look for innovative companies that actually create a disruption. The simple thing is, if you can offer the environment where we can lower your costs and improve quality, it’s a no-brainer.

But in general, we have to make certain that these entrepreneurs really know the industry, they know the customers, they know the competition and most importantly, they know thyself, they know what they can and cannot do.

So it’s interesting when you play across the capital structure, how you bifurcate this, and I think it all has to do with innovation and creating something that doesn’t exist, that fits a pent-up need.
disruption  self-awareness  Gwendolyn_Bounds  Seth_Godin  Danny_Meyer  entrepreneur  economic_downturn  hard_times  attention  innovation  ideation  ideas  underwriting  geographic_ingredient_branding  Buy_American  craftsmanship  soups  marketing  storytelling  lingerie  intimate_apparel  idea_generation  emotional_connections  small_batch  generosity  joy 
may 2009 by jerryking
Rage against the routine
September 2007 | From PROFIT magazine | By Rick Spence

We could all use some creative renewal and time management makeover.
Take a different route to work each day. Take a night course in
marketing, design, art history, German, creative writing or the
Renaissance. Read Seth Godin’s blog (sethgodin.typepad.com) for a crash
course in the changing worlds of strategy and marketing, complete with
purple cows, big red fezzes and ideaviruses. Buy an iPod and ask friends
to share their music with you. Embrace quiet. Learn to see and listen
with heightened senses. Say “Tell me more” more often. And take time to
ask two questions: “Why?” and “Why not?”.
5_W’s  boredom  creative_renewal  conversations  creativity  ideaviruses  innovation  inspiration  novel  questions  quizzes  Rick_Spence  routines  Seth_Godin  time-management  timeouts 
april 2009 by jerryking
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