Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tribes - Seth Godin

Subtitled: We Need You to Lead Us. What an awesome book! I confess I'm a big fan of Seth Godin's books and his blog, so it's not so surprising that I think his latest effort is right on target.

Where to start? Well, I teach classes on social media technologies to real estate agents. Getting them to shift their paradigm when it comes to marketing is difficult for those who came to the industry when "marketing" meant "advertising." Marketing is now a lot more interactive than passive, and it's more about pull than push. We need to engage people - to interact with them on an authentic and genuine level. This is particularly true in the professional services industry where consumers are not buying a product, they are buying expertise wrapped up in a person.

The focus for many tends to be on the technology tools, but Godin points out it's not about technology (those tools will continue to change), it's about relationships. It's always been about relationships, but today's technologies allow us to reach more people outside our own "in person" local networks. And we can reach them quickly, effectively and at no cost. The tools are revolutionary but the concept of tribes is as old as cavemen. We have a need to be connected to other people. Using modern technology we can be connected to many tribes in "real time" - on a daily basis through sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and email. Those tribes might include our extended family, our professional associates, our political party or religious group, the company we work for, people who share our interest in certain hobbies or collecting, or a charity or civic organization.

The strength of a tribe is not so much in it's size; it's about creating a movement. There are two essential elements to a movement - leadership and communication. Godin argues the point that we are all potential leaders. We have the skills, technology has given us the means, and now we need to find our passion. He is a very passionate man himself, and he feels strongly that when we have something to contribute to the world, doing so is not just an opportunity, but an obligation. He sites many examples of how one single seemingly ordinary person has changed the world for the better.

I dog-eared and marked so many pages I'm afraid to loan the book out to anyone else, although Godin has specifically asked me to do that on the very last page of his book. This book is extremely important in understanding a new world order - how we will all sort ourselves out, and what it will take to communicate and connect with our fellow man. This is more than just a question of effective marketing, although that was certainly my specific interest in reading the book in the first place. It's about how to stay connected in a world that is moving faster, changing faster, and bombarding us with more information and communication than we can easily comprehend. The future will be about finding our place in our own tribes. I highly recommend the book as a way to jump start your participation.


David Lingholm said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of Tribes. Bob Burg mentioned this book on Facebook about a month ago, so I picked it up. Amazing read. So much so that I am reviewing it on my blog soon too! Maybe we can all begin to avoid Sheepwalking!

Catherine S. Read said...

I think we'll always have Sheepwalking to a certain degree because of human nature. But I think what will emerge is more leaders of smaller tribes of sheep. And that will be a good thing because more leaders will provide more direction to more people more often. I just started a "tribe" of old high school classmates on Facebook and it's awesome! (William Byrd High School - Late Boomers) I look forward to your post on "Tribes"!