Seth Godin on Branding, Books, and Education (Episode 100 – Part 2)

In 100 episodes we’ve had a lot of our expert guests define what branding is. Today we add a new definition to that list. Seth Godin joined me to celebrate, as he said, “showing up 100 times.” I’m happy to do it and happy to bring you more great guests like Seth in the future. Enjoy this week’s 100th episode of the On Brand podcast featuring the one, the only Seth Godin!

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About Seth Godin

Seth Godin is the author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. You might be familiar with his books Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip, and Purple Cow.

In addition to his writing and speaking, Seth founded both Yoyodyne and Squidoo. His blog (which you can find by typing “seth” into Google) is one of the most popular in the world. He was recently inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame, one of three chosen for this honor in 2013.

Godin once again set the book publishing industry on its ear by launching a series of four books via Kickstarter. The campaign reached its goal after three hours and ended up becoming the most successful book project ever done this way. His book, What To Do When It’s Your Turn, is already a bestseller. His new book is pretty big too.

Episode Highlights

Seth’s new book, What Does It Sound Like to Change Your Mind, is literally BIG. “It could kill a small mammal. It’s 17 pounds and over 800 pages long.” No kidding! Learn more at Seth has continued to reinvent the publishing world as he did with What to Do When It’s Your Turn (fun fact: Seth designed the book’s innovative layout himself).

So, what’s this big new book all about? “It’s about what it sounds like when you change your mind. That’s what we do in marketing — we change minds.” The new book follows the arc of his work, building on the foundation he first sketched out in Permission Marketing. 

“If everything is marketing — how you answer the phone, etc. — then I get to write about everything.” Everything is marketing. Classic Godin. “In Purple Cow I asked if you can’t buy attention what do you do instead?” You have to create remarkable experiences.

So, what is the Seth Godin definition of branding? “First let’s all agree that a brand isn’t a logo. A brand is a shortcut — a promise about what to expect if you engage. If you are known, you have a brand.”

Another industry Seth is turning on its head is higher ed with his altMBA program. As both a marketer and a university instructor, I’m fascinated by this. “I help people level up. It’s a 30-day workshop. In most online programs there’s a 96% drop out rate. Ours has a 98% completion rate. It’s experiential and project based. There are 13 assignments and no grades. Just feedback.”

Our education system is “training people to work in 1937.” As Seth notes, we need to do more than teach memorization and obedience. “We test people and hold them back if they’re a ‘bad batch’ because it’s based on industrialization. We need a different operator’s manual.”

What brand has made Seth smile recently? “They are un-extraordinary. In fact, they are extraordinary in how un-extraordinary they are. I buy all of my domains from When I call them, they answer the phone on the first ring. When a domain is about to expire they email me five days before they charge me money.” It’s the little things. Remember, everything is marketing.

To learn more, go to or just type “Seth” into Google.

As We Wrap …

Before we go, I want to flip the microphone around to our community …
Seth closed our 100th episode by thanking me for showing up 100 times. I’d like to pay it forward and thank you — our community of listeners — for showing up as well. Thank you all for listening!

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!

Seth Godin headshot by Jill Greenberg.