Seth Godin is one of the most read blog writers on the Internet, and probably the one I read with the most assiduity. If you don’t know him, do yourself a favor and read a few of his short articles on his blog. He writes about marketing (which is largely about creating and spreading ideas, so not only what the marketing department is doing).
When I talk about Seth Godin and his ideas, I often get some I’ve-seen-it-all comments:
“Dude, yeah, you should be unique and remarkable. You should be a Purple Cow. Like, duh. Of course you should. Doesn’t it make sense to a 5-year old kid? Why are you wasting your time reading this?”
I think these people are missing the point. This is not about difficult scientific theories to explain. This is not about studies backed up with mountains of numerical proofs. The value of ideas doesn’t lie in their complexity. I would say, most powerful ideas are simple ones: all men are equal. Rich should give to poor. People seek recognition and status.
The real challenge is to do something about it. It’s common knowledge that you have to be outgoing and talkative and you have to try new activities if you want to make new friends. You have to talk to girls if you are single and not happy with it. You don’t need a PhD to understand that. You do need to do something about it though. If you know the idea but don’t do anything about it, you are still stuck at the beginning.
And I think this is where lies the amazing power of Seth’s ideas: he crafts a compelling and simple message. You have to do risky things, not safe things. You should take responsibility for yourself and adapt to how things evolve, not whining that things were better before and that it’s the fault of your spouse/your circle of friends/your job/your boss. You should strive to race to the top and propose unique and spectacular products, not racing to the bottom and propose boring and cheap ones. I know, this is all common sense, right? But how many people keep whining about their jobs and don’t do anything about it? How many shopkeepers give such bad service that it will hurt them in the end? How many people try to fit in, stay late at work to give a good impression?
I think common sense is way overrated. What do you think?