After years of reading Seth’s books, listening on Audible and watching hours of YouTube videos, I finally met him in person. Two rows from the stage, then a book signing and a photo. What can possibly top this? A similar experience with James Taylor perhaps.
So why am I professing my admiration for another man? If you don't know Seth Godin, read his books or subscribe to his blog you will not be successful in business. Seth Godin gets it. We all need to get it too.
Seth isn't a “thought leader” or “guru” as we may be tempted to brand him. Seth’s brilliance comes from his insightful observations of human behavior. He is the Darwin of Marketing. Read his “Survival Is Not Enough” and you'll understand.
Seth’s work affirms and confirms what is actually all around us; information that we chose to ignore or are too busy to notice.
I believe that great leaders must possess one rare quality which earns them the right to be called “great”. For me it’s humility. Seth is immensely successful but he took the time to reply to my email. He has no "handlers" or bodyguards. Simple. Humble.
A couple of nights ago he stood on the stage and answered questions from the audience. He was respectful, patient and in a matter of a few minutes was able to share his simple perspective with would-be entrepreneurs. One gentleman was about to lose his shirt selling commodities from China. Seth did not call him an idiot, shrugged or turned his back. He simply said “ why would you pick a business where you'll always be only a penny away from going broke”?
Someone asked “how did you learn so much” (or what makes you so smart Mr. Godin)? “From all of my failures. Getting thrown out of 800 offices in Manhattan was a good start”.
When you hear Seth or read his books, you can’t help by saying “why didn't I think of that”? In reality, we can. Following Seth’s teachings requires the power of observation and guts to look for and satisfy customers that are not willing to settle for average. In Seth's words: "Get as far away from from the "middle". And of course, it requires a touch of humility and recognition that “it’s never about you, your company or your service”. We really don't matter. It’s always about the customer and whether she is right or wrong, smart or stupid, unreasonable or unfair, she is still the customer. If you want to eat tomorrow that's all you have to remember. Simple. Why didn't we think of that?