You asked Seth Godin absolutely anything — and he answered

Posted by: Matthew Trost


If you were a James Bond villain, how would you take over the world? – Andrew Noseworthy

I’d release a pheremone that increases the fear that people have about doing great things. It would only increase it by 3%, but that would be enough to wipe out most competition. I’m convinced someone is already doing this, by the way.

In the age of tribes, will the benefits outweigh the problems? Specifically, if society fractions into increasingly small groups, won’t we wind up with more rules, more conflict, and more difficulty in communicating, as each develops its own norms and goals? Does this internet-enabled tribal age have implications for how we are going to coexist in society as the “other” becomes an increasingly large part of the population?David Stewart

I think the idea of negative tribal behavior is older than the Cro Magnon man. Tribes online, in work and in communities aren’t going to make us more violent. We don’t run the risk of more us/them conflicts. I think, instead, we’re going to see more movements that benefit all of us. When enough people care about autism or diabetes or global warming, it helps everyone, even if only a tiny fraction actively participate. Remember, it’s the doing, more than what gets done, that defines tribe.

How do you make “limited edition” physical products feel limited? Especially when they’re limited because you don’t have the capability to produce too many — like hand-made clothes. Should you even try? – John-Phillip Johansson

Of course. There’s a real need for scarcity. The question is how you demonstrate it. Berkin bags? Signed prints? TED invites? By exposing the insiders, you create demand among the outsiders.

What have you learned today? – Antonio Ortiz

I learned that a long walk and calm conversation are an incredible combination if you want to build a bridge.

While getting people to support causes (sign petitions, join a group, etc.) on social networking sites like Facebook has been done very successfully, getting them to donate time and money to the same causes has not. Why do you think this is so? – Pavithra Sankaran

I’m not sure that signing petitions does a thing. I think that easy in/easy out is an axiom, and if you want to make change you need to ask people to do more than just nod at you.

How can small business coffee shops survive a Starbucks next door?Pascal Lacroix

By being not only different, but better in ways Starbucks cannot. You can’t win by imitating them. Consider having a membership fee, or a different social group. Serve a different item, in a different way, at a different price. Emphasize the ‘Cheers’ friendly element over the ‘get in and get out’ mindset. Exclude certain people or practices. Offer clothes or community performances … stuff they can’t do!

Can you offer any dating pointers? – Mark Smith

I’ve tried the Gregorian, but I find the Julian calendar is a lot more useful.

Among my blogging peers in the marketing/PR/social media niche, I often hear people toss around comments like “he’s the next Seth Godin,” or, “My goal is to be the next Seth Godin.” I’m curious what your advice would be to the next generation of emerging thought leaders — especially the ones eyeing your particular seat. – Tiffany Monhollon

I’m still trying to be pretty good at being ‘this’ Seth Godin, so I wish people who want to be the next one a lot of luck. There’s never been a next Elvis Costello or a next Jill Sobule. There wasn’t even a next Chuck Berry or a next Charlie Chaplin … I think the most productive thing to do during times of change is to be your best self, not the best version of someone else.

Comments (15)

  • Pingback: What are you afraid of? | Matt Gallagher

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  • Tu Thai commented on Nov 26 2011

    How can i download the talk with the subtitle so my friends can watch it without internet.
    Or the way to download only the Subtitle file like *.SRT or *.ASS , etc

  • kamal phawa commented on Mar 26 2011

    I have read all your books,the book poke the box is a big disappointment,

  • Berthold Barth commented on Apr 8 2010

    What a pity I missed this, but then again, he answers more questions than I could ever ask within any given week on his remarkable blog. And sometimes he asks questions, which are really the best answers anyone can give.

    I especially love his last answer. Everybody is most likely the best at being themselves, but nobody can be you as well as you can. The hard part is finding out what people like about you and doing it consistently and enthusiastically. Nothing is more fun than doing what you are passionate about anyway.

  • Per Sjöborg commented on Feb 4 2010


    ” Can you offer any dating pointers? — Mark Smith

    I’ve tried the Gregorian, but I find the Julian calendar is a lot more useful. ”

    “THAT” is why I read his blog all the time with such pure joy!

  • Francesco Palazzuoli commented on Jan 8 2010

    What are your views on Rudolf Steiner and the Waldorf Schools?

  • evelyne simon commented on Dec 9 2009

    who are you?

  • evelyne simon commented on Dec 9 2009

    who are you?

  • Nick Gilboy commented on Nov 9 2009

    Thanks for the Q and A Seth…

    The tribal concepts you mention in your book are inherently simple to understand, the real trick is execution. As you state in your book, “You can’t have a tribe without a leader-and you can’t be a leader without a tribe.” This has truly inspired me to form a tribal culture and infuse it into our business model.
    As silly as it sounds, this is all completely analogous to a previous life we all share, “the playground.” It has always and will always say more about your product/brand/service/TRIBE by who is NOT allowed in then who is. Amazing stuff!
    Thanks again ;)

  • sai janani commented on Nov 8 2009

    I have a question Seth- why do some people hurt others intentionally – like they want to hurt the other badly? Does it make them happy? Then why do they do it?

  • Hugo Mol commented on Nov 7 2009

    If the medium is the message. What’s the message of the internet?

  • Oni S. Olalekan commented on Oct 16 2009


  • Rex Williams commented on May 30 2009

    Great answers Seth. Were these answered live, or did you get to think about them a bit?

    Genius answers for dating advice and what you’ve learned.

    Because of your leadership, I’m doing something big and different in my company, and it’s a blast!

    In fact, I’m putting on an “TED like” event with a bunch of speakers and I sent them all to the TED site for pointers and examples of great presentations. We plan to have online discussions like this one set up for each presentation and an internal chat room so people can “tweet” about what they’re hearing. It’ll be a totally different experience for my company.

  • Gerry Phibbs commented on May 12 2009

    Inspiring – just as easily as that, and your insights shine through! I especially enjoy the idea that “the most productive thing to during times of change is to be your best self, not the best version of someone else.” Excellent. Many thanks for daring to participate in such a immediate and online “challenge”.