Seth Godin in London – live blogging


Tweets in italics with Twitterers’ name. 


Seth gets ready to speak (plus a cup of tea!).

Attendees are networking. Seth has set up his presentation. I am going to Live Blog this. If it goes wonky, sorry!

13.29 Huge round of applause as he comes on stage.

13.31 “What do you do for a job?I am going to take it that this self-selected group wants to change everything”. How do we want to CHANGE EVERYTHING?

13.33 Outrage in the US when each year dog and cat catchers caught all strays and killed them. Nathan in San Francisco tried to stop this. Only unhealthy cats and dogs were killed. He went to several different states to repeat his success. So

@tojulius: regardless of the economy, regardless of the country you live in you can make a difference #sethldn

13.37 We need to understand the history of modern marketing. If you could come up with something clever, you could win. Easy to diffuse ideas if you had money. The key was television which could interrupt when it wanted. Led to the “TV industrial business”. You bought the stock then advertised.

Our modern marketing was generated by this.

13.41 But this type of marketing has led to average stock for average people.

@RMM_LND: #sethldn Buying attention works for selling average products to average people

13.46 “We’ve branded ourselves to death”. We have produced such variety. But even a cheap product costs a fortune to market.

13.47 But the good news from Godin starts 15 minutes in.!

He tells the story of Rita’s, a very interesting little shop. It is on the way to a summer camp and its reputation is spread by word of mouth. “Why,” he asks “does any gas station get investment but not a shop like this?”

13.52 He tells the story of two cars, one that was at first dismissed by its manufacturer for being too edgy, the second more mainstream. Of course it was the edgy that sold far more.

@tojulius: You win at the edges, no one wins in the middle #sethldn

“Designs that people want to pay for”.

And then Tiffany’s. All people talk about is the box. The box is the store. That is the story, that is what they are telling you through marketing.

13.54 So now the internet. “We are now in an industrial revolution new for all those over 60”.

[Interestingly there appears to be two #tags for this day (#sethldn and #sethlondon). Apparently spelling is better for the former.

@JoannaButler considerably more tweeting at #sethldn than #seslondon the former can spell better]


Seth starts lecturing in a space normally reserved for bishops

“When you look at what made Josiah Wedgwood the richest man in the world when he died, many would say that his ideas were marketing”.

“If you want to win in this new era, you need to make products that match the market. If you cannot direct market successfully, you will not succeed. But if you do not use the internet successfully, the internet does care. You do not own the internet.”

@tojulius: Fashion is about taking something that is perfectly good and make it something worth talking about #sethldn

14.03 “Why are you not dating your customers. If you don’t, you will end up talking to people who do not want you.”

@mikey3982: Does your business have a story? #sethldn

“My question: if you did not send out your email or DM, and your customers did not even mention the omission, I suggest you do not have permission to contact them.”

14.10 “When you give people unlimited choice, they will take it”. Here he shows an image of the long tail. When you give people choice, half the customers move into the long tail. Once the long tail kicks in, people want choice.

@tojulius: Long Tail means people want to make their own choice, the Internet allows to do that, does your brand do that? #sethldn

Google will NOT go away. Either your brand is Google-friendly or not. Google -friendly means organising yourself so your DNA is everywhere on the web.

14.17 The role of gatekeepers (and there is a picture of Rupert Murdoch here) has come to an end. People come because they want to. Not because they have to.

14.18 Scarcity/ubiquity – you can make your money either way. It is the area in between where it all falls apart. And most organisations are stuck in the middle.

Hi example is Gillette. Does the company have a right to thrive in the new networked, ungatekeepered, fast moving, long-tailed world Godin mentioned?

“No one wants to “Friend” Gillette on Facebook or follow the company on Twitter”.

14.20 My question “Is your company structured to find customers for your products or to find products for your customers?”.

@RMM_LND: #sethldnYou can’t demand success in order to commit. You need to commit to guarantee sucess.

Step 1 Be remarkable

Step 2 Tell a story (and then get others to retell it for you)

14.24The model of business used to be up down. The new model is left to right, networked. People like to be in teams. The internet was supposed to homogenise everyone. Instead it did the opposite, connecting small groups of people with eachother.

@tojulius: Connecting like minded people to get them doing what they love, fire brigades wouldn’t be there without fire #sethldn

A “tribe” is when people want to do something with eachother.

14.27 You only need 1000 true people to start a crowd. And leaders. It is not who you are but how you interact with people. He compares Apple’s Jobs with Microsoft’s Gates and say nothing in common but great leaders because of how they led.

14.29 When you want to start a tribe, make it big or make it small. They then want to be led but they will not be led if you are mediocre. It is those who stand up and are heretics who are followed.

You need to find leaders who will break the rules. You are being asked to lead by those who want to be led.

14.33 Five minute break. Then questions and answers.

14.40 Back to questions and answers.

 “My problem is not ideas but how I can write them all up on my blog”

In the audience (l to r) Desigan Chinniah, Julius Solaris and Tristan de Montebello

The audience (l to r) Desigan Chinniah (@cyberdees), Julius Solaris (@toJulius) and Tristan de Montebello (@Montebello).

14.42 Where do you get your ideas (by Rachel from Dragons’ Den)?

 What happens if people do not want to hear from you about change?

“No point getting people who aren’t interested to listen.”  He cites Harry Potter books which no one wanted because it was a different type of book.

14.45 Do you think the word “consumer” is old fashioned -asked from someone in “an evil advertising agency”?

@wadds: Ad agencies (&PR?) missing an op as signpost to new permission based world for brands #sethldn

There are lots of words that have horrible connotations. Living in a world where consuming is the highest goal, is not the world I want to live in.

What about tribes?

@RMM_LND: #sethldn: If they’re not going to suceed by joing that tribe, turn them away. The more you do this, the more others will follow you.

14.50 Where do you find the time to “lead a tribe”

“I work far less than you think!”. He does not watch TV, he does not do Twitter. Either one would take six hours away. He allocates his time, answering people who contact him. All he wants to do is spread ideas. He never said “buy this book”, only wanted to spread his ideas.

@wadds: Seth doesn’t Twitter cos he’d rather have one on one conversations by email #sethldn

14.54 How does Seth Godin market Seth Godin?

The brand was to sell the activities of the business. “I could have told a different story and told a different story”. But once you have built a product, stick withit and be authentic. He thinks, each time he makes a decision, this is what I should decide.

 14.57 Do politicians have something to learn from you?

@hughat3M: Obama campaign team read Seth’s books and that makes him feel good #sethldn

“If Barack Obama had not won, I would have left the country!”  People do not elect a platform, they elect a story. That’s what Obama did. It can take leaders to different places. As a leader, you need to decide where you are going to take it.


Organiser Mark Muggeridge (@MM_EGM) hands out the microphone for questions.

14.59 A woman speaks who matches dragons (people with money who want to invest) with people with ideas.

Godin is not clear what the question is. Do you want more dragons or ideas? The chicken or the egg? He suggests you need to increase the number of dragons because “the ideas will look after themselves”. So the story should be how to increase the number of dragons? The dragons do not want to hear that everyone is like them.

When he finishes, the woman says she now has a headache.

15.03 I am a beekeeper. I have six tribes. Have you tried to split tribes?

“Am glad you are asking about bee psychology!” The tribe is not just a bunch of people with eye patches but a bunch of people with a mission.

15.06 Are you in love with your idea or your tribe?

“You are going to change your ideas”. Being a leader allows you to open your mind to new ideas.

15.07A man who uses Twitter to interact with customers, does he have the right to make offers through DM?

Tiny amounts of testing (that’s five, then ten – don’t do thousands of tests) – this stuff allows it to be done at small scale. “Be clear about the deal”.

15.09 When do tribes become self-governing?

@tojulius: Biggest mistake that video companies do is that they make an idea that spreads but don’t enable to follow up next greatest idea #sethldn

15.13 Newspapers

Scarcity made your business (print etc). But journalists are not scarce because everyone is now a journalist. If you can build a tribe around one issue then you have a local community. And we pay you with coupons for your contributions. Now you have something to go with to the advertisers. Some of the silos will not take off but they do not cost you anything.

@tojulius: Seth just explained a new business model for newspapers in 2 minutes, awesome #sethldn

 15.27 Are we still early adopters?

 The “Bell Curve” has four states

  1. The early adopters – who liek to watch TV on Tivo
  2. The next group want good TV but pay cheap.
  3. The others want a DVD player
  4. And the fourth want CDs!

Only the first group will buy new products.


After the group photo

After the group photo

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7 Responses to Seth Godin in London – live blogging

  1. Scott Gould says:

    Thanks so so much for live blogging this!

  2. John says:

    Thanks for posting this. I came to the conversation late but it is like being there live.

  3. Bob says:

    Sounds like a bunch of platitudes to me – “Life is like a box of chocolates”, “Stupid is as stupid does”, blah, blah, blah. Who buys this rubbish?

  4. Pingback: I saw Seth in LND 2009 | koffiekitten

  5. Michael says:

    I’ve just linked your great live blogging in my post about Seth’s session on our videoblog: (in German)
    Especially liked the tweets you covered!

  6. Sue Atkins says:

    This was a great find for me as I’ve just discovered Seth’s books and I am a complete fan . I am working on making parenting a purple cow and giving away my “Parenting in a Handbag” complete with Louis Vuitton handbag …. well it’s a work in progress since thinking out of the box and on the edge !

    Thanks for this blog – felt like I was there !
    Sue Atkins
    Author of “Raising Happy Children for Dummies”

  7. Pingback: Success Maven | Seth Godin - The London Session

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