pjhstudios blog

Seth Godin – Tribes


Seth Godin’s Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us serves up a compact guide to be a leader of ideas. How should a leader of a tribe, a movement, cause, purpose devoted to a singular mission act or think? That’s what Godin covers with a mixture of anecdotes, stories from people who have led and succeeded or analogy or blunt deconstruction of a point.

At about 130 pages, it reads quickly with each point or example no more than 300 to 500 words. He writes with purpose and clarity. There are times when his anecdotes seem thin, needing more context or explanation. Or is this a clever trick for the reader to become curious about the person he mentions and Google them?

If you’ve read other Godin books, similar themes emerge. His emphatic belief that the factory mindset of cranking out widgets is broken. Education that invokes follow the rules behavior is an unsuccessful path. People fail not by the act of failing, but by not doing anything due to fear.

Seth Godin’s Purple Cow


Seth Godin’s Purple Cow is a call for businesses and start ups to be remarkable. Being remarkable means being memorable, unique and doing business in such a way that it can be distinguishably different from the competition.

Godin explains his purple cow: drive about the country side and watch cows–brown cows, black cows, black and white cows. After a while, they’re boring and part of the landscape. But what if all the sudden you saw a purple cow? That would be remarkable wouldn’t it?

And his caveat: for a while, and then it too fades in to the scenery.

Where most businesses stumble, is that they create something new and exciting and make money, but then they become stuck in a cycle of protecting the product and doing things that are safe and for the masses. What businesses should do, he says, as the purple cow is making money, invest that money on the next thing, the next idea. He supports this stating that you make more money on early adopters who then tell the masses (their friends) about the product or service. This doesn’t mean you seek out they next cool thing immediately, but be attentive and creative to when the market will provide an opportunity for you to create your next purple cow.

Godin writes in stories, anecdotes and case studies. Purple Cow contains plenty of examples. My Pearl Jam nerd self received a little bit of glee when the band sold all 72 live shows from their 2000 tour–and made a profit–as an example. Sections are at most two to three pages in length, and some contain explicit take away points. Teachers, administrators, entrepreneurs, mid-level executives should be able to gleam morsels of inspiration within the books 200 pages.