Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a talk by Seth Godin in the beautiful surroundings of Church House by Westminster Abbey – in many ways an appropriate venue for an inspiring and slightly evangelical afternoon. The session drew on many of the themes from Seth’s many best selling books (none of which I’ve actually read, in all honesty, but I’ve followed his blog for a couple of years!). The agenda consisted of a 60 minute presentation and then at least the same amount of time devoted to a very dynamic question and answer session. There were some great and very challenging questions and some of Seth’s answers were brilliant. I particularly liked his answer to the question about how he gets so much done – “I don’t work anything like as hard as you think”, he said. But he doesn’t go to meetings and he doesn’t watch TV – that buys him around 6 hours a day, during which he can get a lot done.
About half the audience were in the B2B marketing space, but there were an astonishingly diverse set of participants – drawing from advertising and media types, the music industry (suits and talent), students and even a Vicar from the Church of England! For me the message that came through again and again was
- Be authentic – if you fake it you’ll be found out
- Be remarkable – mediocre products (or people) cannot win any more
- Focus on the possibilities that the web industrial revolution is producing, rather than clinging onto yesterday’s model
- Don’t expect to win over everybody immediately (or even ever) – focus on the influencers and let the “nay-sayers” feel left out
- Identify and lead tribes who will willingly spread your ideas for you
If you’ve read Seth’s books these messages will be already familiar. If your bookshelves are littered with unread books (like mine), then go to Youtube and you’ll find a multitude of video clips.
What impressed me more, however, was the authenticity that came across in his own brand. He clearly believes that it’s more important what you do than what you say, is driven by a well-developed set of values and wants to help change the world for the better. Perhaps it was not so odd to find a vicar there….