Read Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?: And Other Provocations, 2006-2012 Online
Authors: Seth Godin
Tags: #Sales & Selling, #Business & Economics, #General
And Other Provocations, 2006–2012
COMPILED BY BERNADETTE JIWA
PORTFOLIO / PENGUIN
Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck?
NOW WAS ALWAYS A GOOD TIME TO START:
OPPORTUNITY. CHOOSING AND DOING. PICKING YOURSELF.
CARE MORE THAN THE COMPETITION:
RESPECT AND AUTHENTICITY.
TELLING STORIES AND SPREADING IDEAS:
SUCCESS, FAILURE, AND THE SURE THING:
DOING THE WORK. RISK AND FEAR.
STANDING OUT AND FITTING IN:
NEW WORLD ORDER: CHANGE.
THE FUTURE IS ARRIVING: PUBLISHING. PAPER.
PLATFORMS AND GATEKEEPERS.
STOP STEALING DREAMS (WHAT IS SCHOOL FOR?)
ALSO BY SETH GODIN
The Icarus Deception
V Is for Vulnerable
All Marketers Are Liars
Free Prize Inside
Survival Is Not Enough
Unleashing the Ideavirus
Big Red Fez
The Big Moo
Small Is the New Big
Poke the Box
We Are All Weird
Find them all at
For Helene, always
Thanks to Bernadette Jiwa and Niki Papadopoulos for the herculean task of culling six years’ worth of writing into this book. I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) have done it without you.
I don’t remember writing most of these posts.
I read them and I shake my head in agreement (most of the time). Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking at the time. But yes, I wrote them, every word, over the course of the last five or six years.
I’ve collected them in this handy set not because you can read them more easily during takeoff or landing, or in the tub or at the beach. No, I’ve collected them because there’s (still) something magical about the linear, permanent nature of a book. Even an ebook feels less evanescent than the disconnected, temporary nature of a blog post.
One of my creative heroes, Gary Larson, was generous enough to let us read the collected
, thousands of brilliant little cartoons connected into permanent volumes. And the experience of reading them is different than the way he intended when he drew them. A cartoon or a blog post emailed to you now and then might break your stride or make you do a double take, but the relentless force of an entire book of them can have a genuine impact on you and those that you care to share with.
I guess that this is the real reason I collected these posts. So those that have been keeping up with the daily blog have a handy tool they can use to proselytize. Hand this to the heathen, see if you can get them to join the tribe.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for sharing. And most of all, thanks for doing difficult work.
We’re surrounded by people who are busy getting their ducks in a row, waiting for just the right moment.
Getting your ducks in a row is a fine thing to do. But deciding what you are going to do with that duck is a far more important issue.
Hard drive space is free.
Wifi-like connections are everywhere.
Connections speeds are 10 to 100 times faster.
Everyone has a digital camera.
Everyone carries a device that is sort of like a laptop, but cheap and tiny.
The number of new products introduced every day is five times greater than now.
Walmart’s sales are three times as big as they are now.
Any manufactured product that’s more than five years old in design sells at commodity pricing.
The retirement age will be five years higher than it is now.
Your current profession will either be gone or be totally different.
If I had to pick one piece of marketing advice to give you, that would be it.
Make something happen today, before you go home, before the end of the week. Launch that idea, post that post, run that ad, call that customer. Go to the edge, that edge you’ve been holding back from … and do it today. Without waiting for the committee or your boss or the market. Just go.
Actually, as you’ve probably guessed,
the best time to start
was last year. The second best time to start is
The reason they teach biology before they teach chemistry in high school is that biology was invented first. Even though you need chemistry to do biology, but not vice versa.
The reason that you have a water bubbler in your office is that it used to be difficult to filter water effectively.
The reason that Blockbuster exists is that VCR tapes used to cost more than $100.
The reason that SUVs have a truck chassis is that the government regulates vehicles with a truck chassis differently.
The reason you have a front lawn is to demonstrate to your friends and neighbors how much time and energy you’re prepared to waste.
The reason the typewriter keyboard is in a weird order is that original typewriters jammed, and they needed to rearrange the letters to keep common letters far apart.
The reason we don’t have school in the summer is so our kids can help with farm work. Or because it’s too hot and there’s no air conditioning …
The reason there’s a toll on that bridge but not on that road is that there used to be a ferry on that river, and the ferryman needed to make a living.
The reason you go to a building to go to work every day is that steam or water power used to turn a giant winch-like structure that went right through the factory building. Every workman used that power to do his work. As factories got more sophisticated, it remained efficient to move the workers, not the stuff.
What’s your reason?
Some conventional wisdom says that you need to be first to win. People will point to eBay and Microsoft and Starbucks and the William Morris Agency and say, “if it’s a natural monopoly or a market where switching costs are high, the first person in, wins.”
This argument has been amplified lately by the high cost of building a name for yourself (it would just cost too much to build a brand bigger than Starbucks in a post-TV world) as well as the network effects of things like eBay and Hotmail.
Skeptics scream foul. They point out that not one of the examples I gave above was actually the first mover. There were plenty of others that came first, and, they argue, the fast follower won by learning from the mistakes of the innovator. They argue that innovation is overrated, and low costs and good service are the key.
I think both sides are wrong (and right) and the mistake is caused by the erroneous belief that there’s a market.
There isn’t a market.
There are a million markets. Markets of one, or markets of small groups, or markets of cohorts that communicate.
If you’re an eBay user, my guess is that eBay was the first auction site you used. If you use Windows, my guess is that you never used CPM. And if you are a Starbucks junkie, my guess is that you don’t live near a Peet’s.
What happens: the market often belongs to the first person who brings you the right story on the right day.
Yes, you must be first (and right) in that market or this market.
But that doesn’t mean you have to be first (and right) in the universe.
The market is splintering more than even some pundits predicted in 1998 (that would be me). Which means that the idea of monolithic marketing messages to monolithic markets makes no sense. The race is now to be the first mover in the micro-markets where attention matters.
Of course, those micro-markets are leaky. People don’t cooperate. They talk to each other. So pretty quickly, that splintered market coalesces into something bigger.
Most learning, especially most organizational learning, occurs through trial and error.
Error occurs whether you want it to or not. Error is difficult to avoid. It’s not clear that research or preparation have an enormous impact on error, especially marketing error. Error is clearly not in short supply.
Trial, on the other hand, is quite scarce, especially in some organizations. People mistakenly believe that one way to successfully avoid error is to avoid trial.
We need more trial.