We all have heroes. We may not worship them in a visible way and we may not admit to others or even to ourselves. We are afraid to worship openly for fear of ridicule. What if there is someone better?
Successful sporting teams get bigger because they have large numbers of people who follow them because of the principle of social proof: safety in numbers.(And not because they win often.)
Supporters of losing teams form their own little counter movements and thrive on being (in the short-term) contrarian and being the losers. As an act of defiance. And it shows that you have courage to belong to a minority.
But Seth’s fan club isn’t a minority. He is the Manchester United of Marketing. He is safe to follow, and he has a lot of followers just because he is popular. He leads his own tribe. Someone has even gone to the trouble of creating a twitter-identity re-hashing his posts. (It links to his blog, but not even sure if it carries his sanction.)
Me? I thrive on being contrarian. I don’t like to follow someone. And when I do, I rarely admit it. In fact I go to great lengths to seek points of difference and try very hard to poke holes in their arguments. If the Queen of England walked down my street I would go out of my way to NOT be there. I hate the cult of celebrity.
I am trying to love my life openly and transparently, I have figured out that there are no secrets on the web. And really, probably no secrets in the world. Living a life that need secrets is an inauthentic life and not worth living.
Recently I posted a summary of a new business plan and invited comments. I gave up fearing competition and put it out there. All my social media profiles are set to public as much as possible. I say all this because, in the spirit of transparency, I want to reveal my heroes; even when I have previously professed not to suffer from hero worship.
And my first hero is Seth Godin.
A great author is sometimes surprised by the imagery readers and critics find in their work. (And if they are smart they just smile and nod.) And Seth may be surprised by these views because it may not be the way he sees it (or himself) but that is my interpretation.
And the reasons for my admiration go beyond the fact that he seems to think just like me. (He does, but he does it better.)
- He has seen a future.
- He articulates it very well.
- He understands the past and he makes sense of it.
- He has a philosophy – but he doesn’t just believe it and he doesn’t just talk it; actually lives what he preaches.
- He makes money living it.
- (A lot.)
- He has found the middle ground between the digerati (high-end social media-as-conversation, and the scammers. He understands the economics of the medium, exploits it but respects it.
- He does what he loves and loves what he does.
- He is charitable without being obvious.
- He is generous, accessible and real despite fame & fortune.
- I feel like I know him, even though I have never met him (and probably will never be able to justify the expense to arrange it.)
- He changes, adapts and responds to new ideas without being flaky.
- He is supremely consistent, without appearing stubborn.
- And yes, I find it very hard to ever disagree with anything he says.
- And finally, because in a world where marketing seems to be about consumption, he has found a different path and has lit it for the rest of us.
You will learn more about marketing by following him (and his ideas) than you will from me. So if you have reached the end of your capacity to absorb more ideas or need to reduce your blogroll; cut me if that is the only way you can add more.
Sometimes I wish he was obscure so that my admiration could be unique (as opposed to 'me-too'). Isn't that the height of selfishness?
I don’t want to show that I am a follower. My only small act of defiance is that I have never bought any of his books. (I have done the hard yards to absorb his insights in other ways.) I have never 'joined' any of the groups or gone after other 'opportunities' he has offered. I am not necessarily a fan of all his fans - and maybe I do not want become disillusioned because I NEED a marketing hero.
To make up for it, I am going to send him an email and tell him that I wrote about him.
I think he will write back.
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- Tribes by Seth Godin (1115media.com)