Trust me - back in the late 90s and early 2000s, you could find no bigger fan of Seth Godin than me. I was detoxing from a big, bad corporate experience and found salvation in fresh thinking Godin's books - recipes for a marketing world I already believed in but didn't exist yet.
Then came what I would call the derivative works. Like a lot of mid-lifing musicians, Godin's books started to feel familar ...dare I even say it - lazy. All Marketers are Liars, the Big Moo, The Dip and Small is the New Big seemed to be movie sequels - fine bodies of work but never as original as the first works.
Well the Bald Man from New York is back and with one of his freshest ideas. Tribes - We Need You To Lead Us (launched October 16, 2008) - love the concept, appreciate the new take community/collaboration and enjoyed the attached all-visual presentation that speaks to its thesis...and I haven't even read it yet (maybe I'm angling for a signed copy here). I've so much anticipation I've already ranked it as my #4 book on community and collaboration in the Essential's Marketer's Bookshelf.
Some key summary points from the book:
1) The questions that people ask has changed. they don't worry so much about "what's new" or "what's on sale", they are curious about who else is involved.
2) Once they get a sense for who’s part of this group, they want to know who the leader is. Where are we going and who is going to take us there.
3) It is now clear that (except for the random exceptions) tribes are built, built with leadership and insight and love. We need to start embracing the phenomenon and deciding whether it's worth the effort. It should be.
4) People express their tribal connections in very public ways when they choose to. It’s a way of keeping outsiders out and insiders in (and in growing your tribe by finding the fellow travelers more easily).
5) No one joins a nascent tribe because it’s average. Ever. These guys don’t do this because they want to fit in. They do it to stand out (together).
6) A crowd is a group of people. A mob is an angry crowd. And a tribe is a self-selected group of people, often with a leader, usually with a purpose, always with a way of connecting and identifying with each other, a set of norms, insiders and outsiders.
7) You don’t DESERVE a tribe and you don’t BUY a tribe. You earn one.
8) The size and quality of tribal connection increases, the value of the brand increases dramatically
9) Movements are what happens when a tribe grows, when the idea spreads, when it engulfs the status quo.
10) Tribes amplify your efforts. The Red Sox can’t increase profits in the stadium, so now they spend their time and money increasing loyalty among the Red Sox nation.
11) The tactics that work for one tribe, the software or the posting speed or the things you talk about--they just don’t work for a different tribe.
12) Steve Jobs leads a tribe. Bill Gates just made software. Making software can make you big, but it doesn’t last--the market is ruthless. Tribes, on the other hand, push you and stick with you and hate you and then forgive you.
13) Etsy has assembled a tribe. The people who buy and sell at Etsy don’t do it because they need another necklace. They do it because they belong to the tribe. Etsy leads, Etsy establishes the platform, Etsy connects, Etsy then smartly gets out of the way. Interesting note: lots of Etsy buyers are also Etsy sellers.
15) 1000 fans, people who will pay money, spread the word, show up when you need them... that’s all you need to be elected mayor, have a hit record or change the future of your synagogue or restaurant.
16) Three ways to build a tribe: Find the lonely, connect the seekers or create a new one where none existed
17) It’s important to understand that most tribes aren’t CREATED by those that lead them, they are merely organized around common threads that were already there. When you lead people who want to be led, and connect people who want to be connected, you win by serving
18) It’s tempting to grow your tribe by making it open and welcoming but in fact, making it difficult to get in (and easy to get thrown out) is often more effective.
19) Tribes never (NEVER) organize around the center of the bell curve. If you go with average, with the masses, with the typical, you don’t earn a tribe.
20) The intersection of heretical thought, deep faith and obstruction from the status quo (which is often called religion) is where tribes are built.
21) 7 Attributes of Leaders – Challenge, Culture, Curiosity, Charisma, Communicate, Connect and Commit
22) 6 Reasons Why People Join Tribes – Connect, Meaning, Difference, Be Noticed, Matter, Be Missed
23) The punchline is that the only way to lead a tribe is to lead it. And that means that marketing is now about leadership, about challenging the status quo and about connecting people who can actually make a difference. If you can't do that, don't launch your site, your product, your non-profit or your career.