Get smarter: Seth Godin talks to Srini Rao about responsibility and work

It's not often that a podcast comes along that really, truly teaches some lessons. Sure, there are often great lessons hidden in podcasts, or you can come away from them as a whole saying, "I definitely learned something," but very few really require a notebook and a pen alongside your earphones.

Such is the case, however, when Seth Godin talks to Srini Rao on The Unmistakable Creative.

I'm not going to ramble on too much; I'd rather you just go give it a listen. Godin's new book is called What To Do When It's Your Turn (And It's Always Your Turn). He and Rao discuss the benefit of blogging every day, of ability to dodge responsibility in a corporate workplace, and a bunch of other stuff you should be ready to examine yourself over.

Book Review: We Are All Weird by Seth Godin

I think Seth Godin and Malcolm Gladwell are the same person. He just uses one name when writing (or speaking) in a certain style, and the other name when he speaks differently and wears the hair.

That's not an indictment of either, it's just a statement that the two of them are smart in the same direction.

I'm far from in the Godin disciple camp, but he put out a new book called We Are All Weird (affiliate link), and I just had to read it. It comes with a reversible dust cover (pretty cool), and is just enough out of the mainstream that my local Barnes & Noble not only decided not to carry it, but they didn't even offer to order it for me.

Or maybe it's because Godin's new publishing venture, The Domino Project, has partnered with Amazon. Either way, my local chain bookstore should grow a pair and buy from its competition. [See also: Reasons I love the few local bookshops in town.]

Anywho, Godin's book is about marketing to fringes, niches, whatever you want to call them. Basically, you have a couple of options as a business. You can either market to the middle and get average consumers who are dispassionate about your products (because they can buy them anywhere), or you can greatly reduce the number of people who are interested in your products but reach an extremely loyal, passionate group by doing so. You can be Target and sell Monopoly to someone who will, two weeks later, go buy Sorry! from Wal*Mart, or you can be a small seller who sells a few intricately carved chess games and highly polished Go pieces to a few customers who will come back to you over and over for gifts.

For a little clarity, you should watch this TED talk by Malcolm Gladwell, who speaks about offering enough choices that you hit the entire mainstream of consumers. You produce just enough kinds of spaghetti sauce or mustard or coffee to reach average people, and the average people will come to you (or they'll go to your competitor who is selling exactly the same thing at exactly the same price).

Godin's book is essentially too long to be a blog post, but it's a quick (hour-or-so) read. Also, hopefully it'll undergo a copy editing process before he prints more. But it's worth the read, especially if you're thinking about what you should offer in a new business, or who you want as your customers.