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Tag Archives: Seth Godin

The Email Filter Hierarchy

by Seth Godin

There’s more information, provocations, riffs, causes, meetings, opportunities, viral videos, technologies and policies coming at you than ever.

So, how do you rank the incoming? How do you decide what to expose yourself to next?

 



  • Email from your boss
  • Personal note from a good friend
  • Three or four recommendations from trusted colleagues, each with the same link
  • A trending topic on Twitter
  • The latest on Reddit
  • Phone call from your mom
  • File on the intranet you’re supposed to read before the end of the week
  • Spam email from a stranger
  • Tenth note from Eddie Bauer, this one to an email address you haven’t used in a year
  • Post on Google + from a friend of a friend
  • Facebook update from someone you haven’t seen in ten years
  • Angry tweet from someone you’ve never met
  • Commercial on the radio that’s playing softly in the background
  • Email from someone who had your back one day when it really and truly mattered
  • !!!urgent marked email from the HR department about the TPS reports
  • Text message on your phone from your husband
  • Phone message from the kid’s principal
  • Tweet from the handler of a celebrity who is pretending to be the celebrity
  • Story that’s repeated endlessly on cable news because a producer thought it would get good ratings
  • Handwritten love note from a current crush
  • New review in the Times of a restaurant you happen to be going to tonight
  • Obviously bulk snail mail from a charity you donated to three years ago
  • Latest volley in a flame war
  • Blank sheet of paper quietly waiting for your next big innovation
  • Comment on a blog post you wrote three days ago
  • New post by your favorite blogger, delivered via RSS
  • Book in the bookstore, next to the cash register
  • Newest negative review of your business on Yelp
  • Movie playing across town
  • TV commercial on a show you’ve got on your DVR
  • Book on the back shelf of a bookstore, newly put there yesterday by the manager, who doesn’t know what you like
  • Tweet from someone who really, really wants you (and everyone else) to follow her
  • Rebecca Black’s new video
  • Sales pitch on your voicemail

Which of these are required reading for a productive member of society or a good employee or an informed citizen? Which do you do out of habit? Are you assuming that your habits are the norm, and that others have an obligation to pay attention to what you pay attention to? Should there be symmetry–is it logical to only engage with people who prioritize their filters the same way you do?

 

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The Grateful Dead and the Top 40

by Seth Godin

I wonder if Jerry ever got jealous of acts that were able to put songs on the radio. (The Dead had exactly one hit record…)

I hope not. Jerry was in a different business. Sure, he played music. Elton John also plays music. But they were in different businesses, performing for different audiences, generating revenue in different ways, creating different sorts of art.

In a world filled with metrics and bestseller lists, it’s easy to decide that everyone is your competitor and easier still to worry about your rank. Worry all you want, but if it gets in the way of your art or starts changing your mission, it’s probably a mistake.

It used to be that the non-customers, passers-by and quiet critics of your venture were totally invisible to you. They drove by, or muttered under their breath or simply went to someone else. Now, all is visible. Just because you’re vividly aware of your shortcomings in market share doesn’t mean it’s important.

The next time you have a choice between chasing the charts (whichever charts you keep track of) and doing the work your customers crave, do the work instead.

 

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Create or find something you love, and share it!

This is the season that reminds us of our blessings;  family, friends, health if we have it, jobs, talents, and in general associations.  It is who we know and interact with that defines in large part who and what we are.

I come from a small-ish family but have married into a huge one.  Through my business contacts and organizations to whom I belong my network has extended tremendously.  Through social media and the networks they offer my personal and professional network  is now virtually infinite.

Networks and groups on Linked-In, Face-book, Twitter, Digg, YouTube, Stumbleupon, and WordPress now occupy a huge chunk of my time and social experience.  These are not just educational or professional affiliations (though many of them started out that way) but many are becoming dear friends that I intend to maintain for the rest of my life.

It may have started out as a way to advance professionally, but it has turned out that Seth Godin was right about tribes.  All it takes is some initiative to get an idea rolling and somebody else will enjoy it.  Be that someone.  If you can’t create something on your own, just find something really cool and share it.

This may be a bit dated, because I was out-of-town, but here is my “holiday” offering.  If you have good speakers on your system turn them up!  Happy Holidays!

http://www.youtube.com/user/AlphabetPhotography

 

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Go out and have some fun, really

Here are some ideas from Seth Godin on how to organize an event to make it fun.  His suggestions are for retreats, but this list bears consideration any time you get together with a bunch of colleagues:

 

 

  • Must be off site, with no access to electronic interruption
  • Should be intense. Save the rest and relaxation for afterwards
  • Create a dossier on each attendee in advance, with a photo and a non-humble CV of who they are and what they do and what their goals are
  • Never (never) have people go around a circle and say their name and what they do and their favorite kind of vegetable or whatever. The problem? People spend the whole time trying to think of what to say, not listening to those in front of them (I once had to witness 600 people do this!!)
  • Instead, a week ahead of time, give each person an assignment for a presentation at the event. It might be the answer to a question like, “what are you working on,” or “what’s bothering you,” or “what can you teach us.” Each person gets 300 seconds, that’s it.
  • Have 11 people present their five minutes in an hour. Never do more than an hour in a row. The attendees now have a hook, something to talk to each presenter about in the hallway or the men’s room. “I disagree with what you said this morning…”
  • Organize roundtable conversations, with no more than 20 people at a time (so if you have more attendees than this, break into groups.) Launch a firestarter, a five minute statement, then have at it. Everyone speaks up, conversations scale and ebb and flow.
  • Solve problems. Get into small groups and have the groups build something, analyze something, create something totally irrelevant to what the organization does. The purpose is to put people in close proximity with just enough pressure to allow them to drop their shields.
  • Do skits.
  • Have a moderator who is brave enough and smart enough to call on people, cut people off, connect people and provoke them in a positive way.
  • Invite a poker instructor or a horseshoe expert in to give a lesson and then follow it with a competition.
  • Challenge attendees to describe a favorite film scene to you before the event. Pick a few and show them, then discuss.
  • Don’t serve boring food.
  • Use nametags at all times. Write the person’s first name REALLY big.
  • Use placecards at each meal, rotating where people sit. Crowd the tables really tightly (12 at a table for 10) and serve buffet style to avoid lots of staffers in the room. Make it easy for people to leave boring tables and organically sit together at empty ones.
  • Do something really interesting after 10 pm.
  • Serve delicious food, weird food, vegan food, funky food. Just because you can.
  • Don’t worry about being productive. Worry about being busy.
  • Consider a tug of war or checkers tournament.
  • Create an online site so attendees can check in after the event, swap email addresses or post promised links.
  • Take a ton of pictures. Post them as the advance progresses.

Here’s the goal: new friends. Here’s the output: a new and better to-do list.

 

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