Seth Godin is the author of 20 books that have been bestsellers around the world that have been translated into more than 35 languages. He’s also the founder of the altMBA and The Akimbo Workshops, online seminars that have transformed the work of thousands of people.
He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership, and most of all, changing everything. Some of his popular books are Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip, and Purple Cow. His book, This Is Marketing, was an instant bestseller around the world, and his latest book, The Practice was released at the end of 2020 and is already a bestseller.
In addition to his writing and speaking, Seth has founded several companies, including Yoyodyne and Squidoo. His blog (which you can find by typing “Seth” into Google) is one of the most popular blogs in the world. His podcast is in the top 1% of all podcasts worldwide. In 2018, he was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame.
With such a diverse background and a plethora of achievements under his belt, an interview with Seth Godin couldn’t just be about one thing. In this exclusive interview, Seth talks about his blog, gives some blogging tips, recommends his best books for startup entrepreneurs, gives his interesting take on marketing, SEO, creativity, and much more!
Read on to find out what he has to say!
I try very hard NOT to have a typical day. The typical day is an artifact of industrial capitalism. Before that, we were far less likely to be insulated from the seasons, the people we serve, and the systems in our lives. Plus, I have a short attention span.
Mostly, I try to find things in the world that I don’t understand and seek to explain them in a way that can help others create progress.
I don’t run Akimbo/altMBA anymore (it’s an independent B Corp) so my time is spent typing, walking, thinking, and giving virtual talks.
But I write every single day.
2. Which of your 20 best sellers would you recommend to budding startup entrepreneurs?
The two most recent books, This is Marketing and The Practice were created to be my best and most complete statements on creating and sharing ideas that matter.
For someone starting a new thing, my free book The Bootstrapper’s Bible might be really helpful.
3. What is the most interesting marketing trend you ever came across?
We’re watching the slow death of hustle. The idea that you can bully people into grabbing their attention and somehow getting them to buy something from you.
Instead, permission plus enrollment plus true fans plus doing something remarkable for a small group – this is our future.
4. Your blog is reportedly the most popular blog in the world. What are your top 5 tips for bloggers?
Write every day.
Don’t worry about comments or traffic. Simply write things that ten people want to share.
My blog only had 100 readers after the first year.
But then I started writing in a way that people decided that their lives would improve if they shared…
5. In a recent blog post, you said “You can’t beat the algorithm”. We have the best minds in the world today, continuously working on SEO. What is your take on SEO and the Google Search algorithm?
I hope we can agree that it’s a zero-sum game. All these ‘best minds’ are simply competing with each other for a bigger share of a pie that’s not getting any bigger as a result of their work.
Do you really think you can win at that? If so, have at it.
For the rest of us, it feels more resilient and powerful to build something that people talk about and ask for by name, instead of trying to win a category with black magic.
6. In your book ‘The Dip’ you spoke about quitting and said, “Winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt”. Our readers include a bunch of budding entrepreneurs who often need to decide whether to quit or carry on. What is your advice for them?
The key question is: “Has anyone ever made it through this Dip before?” It’s entirely possible that you will be the first person to ever achieve what you seek with the resources you have, but it is a much safer bet to have a model in place, a path in front of you.
7. When it comes to creativity and ideas, what’s better? Selecting a few ideas and giving them enough time to deliver results, or, trying new things every few months?
I don’t think this is the best way to consider the choice. The questions are: What’s the change you seek to make? Who are you trying to change? And what’s your strategy to make that change happen? And then, for this next period of time, what tactics will you use to support that strategy?
If you change your tactics often, that’s fine. But the first three things shouldn’t change if you can help it.
8. What do you think about new domain extensions with respect to brand building?
A brand isn’t a logo or even a web address. A brand is a promise and an expectation.
When a village first gets developed, it’s assumed by all the villagers that the shops are all together, in the center of town. To not be there is to change the story of who you are and what you do.
But then, physical locations start to shift. Now, it’s no longer sufficient to say, “We’re in Kent-on-Thames.” You have to say exactly where you are, and there’s no shame in not being on the central town square–IF you have a real story to tell about what you do and why you’re there.
I used to own astrology.com … I never used it, but it was sold for a bunch. Because the story of the ‘brand’ is right there in the generic nature of the address. It implies certainty and dominance.
But those days are long gone. And so, new TLDs are a convenient way to make sure you pick a name that amplifies your story. The TLD doesn’t get in the way, just like a different area code doesn’t.
Your name is not enough. Your web address is not enough either. Your brand is the sum total of the promises and expectations you create when you show up in the world.