What Matters Now

What matters now  Seth Godin has published a free ebook called What Matters Now.

He describes the inspiration for the book in this blog post:

Now, more than ever, we need a different way of thinking, a useful way to focus and the energy to turn the game around.

The book features a single page each by around seventy "big thinkers" and I am very pleased and proud to be one of them.

Get the book, read it, share it, tweet it, talk about it.

Hopefully we'll do some of that in the comments here at AVC.

#Random Posts

Comments (Archived):

  1. Prokofy

    I believe Seth Godin to be a totalitarian thinker, not a “new thinker” — that is, he’s recycling communist ideologies a 100 years ago.http://secondthoughts.typep…The oldest trick in the book is to put together an anthology of other people and then bask in their glow.Offering it for free is pretty lame, too, given that it’s their IP he is offering for free, even as his own Little White Book — little more than a magazine piece — costs a whopping $19.95 US at the train station.I have to wonder how Godin’s really insidious bad idea is going, whereby he had everybody free to mouth off about companies, but if the companies wanted to correct the record, they would have to pay. That sounded like a great formula, we used to call it blackmail.Fred, you could write your own book, you don’t need to be under this man’s wing.

    1. fredwilson

      Please spare me your reactionary bullshit this morning prokofySeth is as capitalist as they come. I know because I backed him in yoyodyne 15 years ago and watched him build and sell a businessHe’s a very talented developer, packager and promoter of ideas. Maybe the best I’ve ever seen

      1. kidmercury

        brutal blow boss…..damn

        1. Prokofy

          On Godin’s “brand-jacking”http://tech.blorge.com/Stru…

      2. Prokofy

        I’m not the reactionary one engaging in bullshit, Fred; Seth Godin is the conservative wheeling out tired and tiresome ideas of collectivization discredited in many countries for decades.He’s no capitalist, unless you mean “state capitalism”.I remember reading about yoyodyne and now I see another example of philanthrophy, not slow capitalism. It’s snake-oil hustling, selling books and tapes and lecture appearances about how you can get rich quick (or slow, for that matter) by…selling books and tapes and lecture appearances. Where is the real product?A packager and promoter of ideas that are as old as Norman Vincent Peale, and outside this charmed circle, that is what is said about him.If he had called his holiday bromides pamphlet “Jonathan Livingston Seagull Goes to the North Pole” and charged $4.95 for it, I would at least call it a real example of capitalism.”Permission marketing” ought to be re-labelled “click addiction marketing”. Getting people to click for a sweepstakes they never win is just another hustle.

        1. Mark Essel

          I’m getting the feeling you’re not a Seth fan.Whatya think of Squidoo? It’s an opt in publishing/affiliate marketing system where you split revenue with the host. In exchange you get marketing (on other lenses) and a better negotiated rate with Amazon.

          1. Prokofy

            Er, please raise your hand everybody in this thread if you have a) heard of Squidoo and b) made a Squidoo lense.And you will find nobody does, out of thousands of people who twitter and Facebook and Second Life and everything else. That’s because it’s lame, has too many rules, and has too much junk on it — too many sub-par sites just under the radar that are marketing schemes. It’s just not satisfying content to consume or a framework to be in.The promise of being given revenue is faintly interesting, but there are too many rules and there’s an aura of political correctness and crass commercialism mixed together around all of that.You do not see Fred Wilson Squiddoing. The day I see Fred Wilson Squiddoing, I will believe he is serious about Seth Godin other than as a commercial opportunity, which is respectable, but let’s not dress it up as high concept.

          2. Mark Essel

            It helped me discover I love writing, that’s hard to put a dollar value on. It took 42 lenses to get there, then I started blogging.I still get a few bucks every month from that writing ($30-50/month). If I spent more time just writing and putting together well packaged lenses I could probably generate a very modest income from it, and a selection of very active Squidoo writers do just that.

          3. Prokofy

            You’re the first person I’ve ever met who is a Squidder. Er, a Squiddooer. Whatsis. And I’m fascinated. $30 is nothing to sneeze at. That’s a DSL line paid for. Still, there’s a lot of dreck there. I’ll have to look you up.

          4. Mark Essel

            Most of that comes from a single page, eReader review. Nothing fancy just cut and pasted text, some youtube videos, and links to other pages.Just pulled it into one spot.

      3. Mark Essel

        I was going to mention YoYodyne…I like collaborative free work. It’s pretty interesting as most large collaborative writing projects tank. I think it’s pretty experimental for Seth who’s already a well known author to be mixing it up.

      4. ErikSchwartz

        Sadly Yahoo! pissed away the business he built and incorporated very few of the ideas of what he was trying get across into their products.Some of us at Y! at the time however were paying attention. We learned stuff as individuals even if the corporate entity did not.

        1. fredwilson

          I think that’s true of a lot of acquisitions sadly

        2. Prokofy

          That’s what I’m curious about.I didn’t like the way he built the business — double-crossing his colleagues, going around bosses — and all to make something misleadingly called “permissive” when it’s more like “interactive addictive”.And what *did* Yahoo do with it? Was it that they pissed it away because perhaps it was eminently piss-away-able? I like Yahoo, I have it set as my home page. Perhaps I’m even one of those addictive clickers of the 1990s. So I’d like to hear more about this.What I see worrisome about all this clickable stuff is that the workers in the giant social media Internet collective are exploited more for their data and put to work for mere kopecks (a few coupons or game prizes and the chance to win a big sweepstakes) while the big companies (the Party) get everything.At least with television, the proposition worked like this: you give us free entertainment (well, before cable, but then even with cable, it’s not that expensive) and we pay attention to your interruptive ads and then we go buy the Tide or the Kotex. The media producer gets paid from the ads; the companies sell their products; we get both the media to consume and the product. Sure, the products and packaging are unnecessary and such, but well, all flesh is grass and life is an illusion and such anyway.So I feel like with the Internet and the clickable ads and games and such we really are being hosed, by contrast to what we got out of TV, in exchange for our labour, which is our attention.

      5. ShanaC

        Can I say something politely:There are things I disagree very strongly with Prokofy about. S/he is right in his/her blogpost about the structuralist state and data (your image looks male, I’m aware you are female, I’m not sure what gender you want to be Prokofy, and I want to be respectful, this is the internet, after all). According to Foucault (who is not Socialist), the situation of being watched through data and being aware of that watching is the most ideal form of power for a state, including a corperate state (that is his read of Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon in Discipline and Punish.The real question is is power bad and can we handle that power? Also is his read of power correct? It is worth thinking about, even if a reactionary proposes an idea.It’s extremely uncomfortable to take those who are reactionary seriously and knock the idea because it comes from someone reactionary. I’ve been dealing with it this week: Someone who appears on my resume is on HuffPost using the Holocaust as a metaphor for our culture with the introduction of ebook readers. Am I super-uncomfortable? Yes. Am I ready to fight to good fight at the heart of the real issue, about the place of technology within our culture and daily lives, which is not about the language of anyone reactionary at all? Also Yes.Do I have to agree with everyone involved in this fight- No. But I better listen carefully for wisdom in it, because my actions from what I hear matter.Prokofy, I suggest using calmer language than red-baiting. There are important things you should be saying: Bolshevism doesn’t help you get the point across. Fred, Please listen, the reality of power and pay in technology, where production costs can be very low, is an important and fair discussion to have.Sorry if I seem out of turn.

        1. Prokofy

          I totally disagree.There is so much fear of red-baiting and so much incitement of hatred of people criticising communism by those willing to apologize for it, that you have to be really resolute to get across the legitimate and much-needed neo-version of communism which is technocommunism. (And by the way, Wired calls it communism, very matter-of-factly.)It’s not “reactionary” to criticize communism, because communism itself is in fact a profoundly conservative and agrarian utopian ideology. The liberal critique of communism is in fact much needed to expose it as not the “progressive” thing that it has pretended to be all these years. There is no communist government that has ever succeeded — ever. Ponder that.I called Seth Godin’s ideas “totalitarian”. I stand by that. They are indeed. He is not a capitalist in his exultant communitarian beliefs of distributing things for free and creating large state-like entities that exploit people’s click-labour — he’s a communist of the new order.Just like communism emerged originally in the organic world as a reaction against urbanization and modernization, so technocommunism emerges as a reaction to the digital revolution.

          1. ShanaC

            Well yes: It’s also inherently dated, so much so that people who identify as communist admit publicly in their own journals that calling someone communist is a toothless thing to do- since most active communists are academics or politicians. (Platypus Review)I don’t mind the argument- as I’ve stated. I do mind the tone. Using old terminology with its culutural roots makes you sound dated. There are all sorts of reasons that are strong reasons why you could be worried about information and its politics. Joe Stiglitz, who I keep telling people to read, comes to mind. It weakens your argument to get people heated via terminology. I rather hear what you have to say, rather than parse through you being nearly angry. I’ve done it most my life- it’s frustrating and emotionally exhausting. It makes you sound like a pushover too after a while. No one wants to listen.Speak up. But don’t do it in such a way where people can’t listen to you, if you feel that it is important to be heard.

    2. kidmercury

      damn prokofy you just totally got dissed by fred…..and he wasn’t even trying, he’s probably half awake right now, maybe even had an assistant make the comment for him….how embarrassing you got so brutally dissed like that, my condolences

      1. JLM

        Twist that knife, Kid! LOL

        1. kidmercury

          LOL, it’s just too much fun sometimes, i can’t help myself….and plus you know one of fred’s investment thesis elements is that the web is playful…..that’s when i knew this would be a fun place 🙂

      2. Prokofy

        It’s ok if Fred disses me, it won’t be for the first time. I don’t feel embarassed at all. I’m interested in ideas and I want people to think and not merely have a feel-good. It’s unfortunate that Fred is angered about criticism of his hero, but honestly, I had no idea that he was flogging the coffee table book/glorified Powerpoint of an old pal whom he’d funded in business. His inclusion in this book is sort of a dividend, payback time, and obviously he doesn’t want the occasion spoiled.But this book will come and go like a Hallmark card, the point is to debate these ideas because they are destructive and we will see even more destruction coming from them than we have.

    3. markslater

      i have not read it yet but i dont understand a word of what you are saying. i agree with the ‘regurgitation’ tactic – there is way too much of that in books these days- but cant for the life understand how you link it to communism? maybe i’m a little slow this morning…

    4. Phanio

      Some people’s talent is bringing a new perspective to other’s thinking or work. I am like that myself. I follow the old BASF mantra – “I did not invent (insert product here) but I made it better.” If Seth is adding a new perspective to other’s thinking and, people are willing to pay for it – then by all means.

    5. Jan Schultink

      I am a big fan of Seth, but I understand how he can draw out criticism:- some of his big ideas can sound so obvious once you have adopted/internalized them(but nobody else thought of them 5 years or so ago)- he manages to get herds of people to do all kind of things to spread his ideas (me included)- if you misinterpret his blog posts you might think that he thinks that he stands above it all (“what, you just waisted 3 hours in a meeting that is not essential, while I wrote another chapter for my next best seller?”)I am learning a lot from Seth, download the PDF, subscribe to his blog, buy his books (idea souvenirs), all great stuff!

      1. Prokofy

        Well, read my blog indicated here, I beg to differ. His writing may be like those potato chips that aren’t supposed to be fattening but go right through you and are bad for your health ultimately. There are some really intolerant and disturbing concepts here behind all the Silicon Valley conference circuit boosterism.

    6. andyswan

      Prokofy has spent some real time and energy in evaluating Seth Godin’s work. I respect that and I’m sure there are some really good points to be made…..but, shitting all over someone’s “grand opening parade” is really not a good technique in terms of getting people to listen to you. Even the morons in federal politics know enough to lay low during the other team’s convention…..

      1. Prokofy

        This is a blog where people are made to think. It’s not a feel good.I fail to see this booklet as somehow a “grand opening parade”. Good Lord, it’s *free*. It has ZERO value. It’s a few paragraphs from an idea of Fred’s that got reprinted in a political pamphlet. Why is this being treated as if it is his vernisage? I’m not here to get people to listen to me or do anything other than push back against a set of ideas that I find very troubling with few showing any realization of this.

        1. andyswan

          I hear you….I’m just saying your “personal attack” approach was ineffective….and at the end of the day, WHAT MATTERS NOW is winning…..always has been, always will be. 🙂

          1. Prokofy

            I don’t see that this glorified Powerpoint for the holidays is “winning”. It will be forgotten 10 days from now. But some of the memes will stick, and they are worth debating it.The idea that personal attacks aren’t effective is one of the memes of the Metaverse, but it has little validity. They are traded all the time and they are the coin of the realm. But in fact much of the time what you perceive as a personal attack is merely criticism.

          2. Mark Essel

            I believe Andy’s referring to you winning, by getting your point across. That means the right message, at the right time, put the right way.I dig massive discrepancies while blogging though, it’s fun to see how polarizing views can be on concept or person.

  2. mikenolan99

    Just finished it – even before I finished the last page, I had sent it to a half dozen friends. Good stuff.

  3. kidmercury

    i flipped through it. here’s the beef i have, which i knew i would have as soon as i read this blog post:no mention of 9/11 truth, which is the embodiment of this “think different” concept. and i wonder if 9/11 truth or a strongly anti-war/conspiratorial message would even be tolerated. which makes me question the legitimacy/integrity of the whole book and the concept behind it.to the book’s credit they did mention government 2.0 and some kooky stuff about world healing and shamanism, which was of course my favorite part of the book (and of course fred’s contribution….fw ftw!!!!). but lots of fluff, and very little stuff i found to be concrete. if you are going to talk about the virtues of thinking different, than actually run the risk of thinking different. not enough risk-taking IMHO for a book that is implicitly about contrarianism, so i’ll diss it for that. but i diss everyone for their lameness in this matter, so seth is far from being alone. and if he truly ran the risk of thinking different, chances are he would be hated, or at the very least that this book would be far more controversial than it is. but of course that would be poor marketing. and we can’t be having that!!!! 😀

    1. Farhan Lalji

      Wow, I didn’t see the 9/11 conspiracy comment coming that time Kid. Think you probably caught the whole community off guard there. Well done 🙂

      1. kidmercury

        i just repeat it until it gets through, because i operate from the viewpoint there will be no progress until that truth is dealt with….that is why i refer to it as the truth that sets us free. :)so i am repetitive, but i will continue to do so until (1) i get banned/kicked out of the community or (2) there is the consciousness shift i believe is needed for the web to continue evolving in a profitable and productive manner. your comment is a step in the right direction — it beats silence, which is the most common response.

    2. ErikSchwartz

      You are a master.

      1. kidmercury

        it’s all relative. in reality i am an amateur, but when the world is a lie and i tell the truth, i am a master (relatively speaking).

        1. ErikSchwartz

          It’s the intense focus I really admire.

        2. David Semeria

          Hey Kid, at least if your theories are proved right you can point to quite a substantial number of comments as evidence that you told us so ! 🙂

    3. fredwilson

      He is hated. See prokofy for an example of that hate

      1. kidmercury

        i don’t think that’s the type of hate i’m talking about. seth is hated because he’s popular and a very talented marketer. that is why some losers hate on you too, and basically anyone else whom most would agree are successful/exceptional in some way. but he’s not hated on for being an outlier. that wouldn’t be good marketing ;)lol, but you cant get bent out of shape over prokofy boss. i mean that is just comedy bait. prokofy might have given me the best chuckle i’ll have all day. i’m not even jewish and i’m getting chanukah presents — this is great boss!!!

        1. Prokofy

          I don’t “hate” Seth Godin; I oppose him because his concepts are offensive to me and represent a threat to freedom.It’s not about jealousy, being a loser, blah blah blah. He had the good luck to get a company going by doing around his bosses and fellow employers in a hustle that was compelling and Fred backed it.But what does it profit a man if he sells his company and Yahoo dissolves it? What has he built in life?

          1. Mark Essel

            “But what does it profit a man if he sells his company and Yahoo dissolves it? What has he built in life?”That is a real issue, sustained value from acquisitions and something I can grab onto. I believe a business grab must serve real value to the buyer, otherwise it is indistinguishable from a scam.I understand buying competitors, or talent grabs, or market sector grabs but what I don’t understand is purchases that occur because of perceived competition around buying a business. I think larger business entities must not do enough planning for how to integrate a once independent entity. The transition is nothing but smooth, and transforms both the buyer and the purchased business.

          2. Prokofy

            Where you must think hard here is not just about “evil Yahoo” and their evil acquisition and dissolution to serve whatever purpose — putting a competitor out of business? just moving around money?and you have to think about what it means for the entrepreneurs and the investors ALSO very much feeding this pouring-of-the-empty-into-the-void. It’s profoundly disturbing because it means that venture capitalism of this sort isn’t building civilization. In fact, that’s why I call it venture communism.

          3. ShanaC

            In america, when money moves, we create more of it. It’s an open secret, but venture is part of the banking community by being part of the most expensive side of “what kind of debt do I want to take on today” equation. By giving up equity, you give up potential money, but you also feed more of it to the system.Businesses like buying business for a variety of economic reasons-for a complementary business, it would increase the power of the larger business. That doesn’t mean it is always logical to have conglomerates, but in theory synergistic (I hate that word) businesses should be more economically viable combined. In practice this takes a lot more talent and energy than one would expect.

          4. Prokofy

            Um, I know, because I’m an American who lives in America, a few blocks from Fred’s office in fact : ) But by all means, do enjoy that sense of superiority that you can get on forums and in college — try to keep it with you your life, if you can.I just have a Russian avatar. I do speak Russian.Sure, it takes energy and talent and money, of course, to buy businesses. But I don’t see the “value-add”.All to often, I see the sort of creative venture capitalism that Fred expounds, with his microbrew and localvore and slow investment and all the rest, as having an end game that amounts to this: “How can my funky and cool start-up that puts a lot of crazy and creative guys together in their garage to make a widget or an api or a social media site get…sold to a mega corporation like Microsoft or IBM or Yahoo?” And that’s it. They are swallowed, never to reappear.And that’s troubling, and I don’t think that ultimately it’s capitalism, either.I’ve always said the Internet caused the financial disaster, for example, and now Newsweek is saying something like that:http://www.newsweek.com/id/

          5. ShanaC

            It’s not because I’m superior, It’s because there have been intense discussions of monetary policy here and in my school. Which I just completed all the classes for. I’m far from superior. I have way too much to learn for the rest of my life to be superior to anyone in this world. I’m not an anyone: There will always be someone smarter, faster, and better than me: It’s my job to keep up. That’s really it. I’m just trying to keep up with those swifter than me.Unlike Private Equity, on the credit hub/line, USV does not offer debt, only equity. If they offer exotic equity, it’s going to be closer to the normal kind rather than say convertible bonds. (which from my limited understanding, are very complicated and ugly pieces of work). The article basically says the same thing that George Akerlof said “Good information is expensive- which is how you get priced with expensive cars and lemons that are cheap” The internet just made price discovery problems obvious.Curiosity makes me ask: Why does mega capitalism bother you more than say, the mega-state? Doesn’t basic Smith-oriented economics state that most companies fail?I mean, I think the big companies are overdue to go private and to be taken apart at some point…but that’s just me. So why does this bother you?

      2. Prokofy

        Er, I wouldn’t call it “hate,” I would call it a thorough-going revulsion at a set of really reprehensible ideas that I think that if you contemplated them more (for example, all the stuff about tribes), you would concede some of my points.And Fred, if you just wanted a feel-good for the holidays or whatever, well, delete my posts. That would be in the spirit of Seth Godin. But if you ask people to discuss, etc. and expect them not to be mindless re-tweeters, you have to expect static.I do not wish to live in a world run by the ideology of Seth Godin, and I’m quite prepared to fight it.

        1. Kevin Vogelsang

          For someone that doesn’t “hate” Seth, and only opposes his ideas, you spend more energy attacking his person and the nature of his acquisition than debating the issue. Your words ring more of personal vendetta than opponent of ideologies.Whether this is true or not, you’re message would be more effective by providing reason and links to your thoughts, as opposed to using ad hominem attacks to get attention. I have an interest in very different, and even radical ideas. And personally understand that they can really step on people’s toes; the inertia of the crowd is tough to overcome. But, I can’t invest any of my time in reading your thoughts when your statements are marred by tangential, even incoherent, subjectivity, as opposed to objective and thoughtful statements.

          1. Prokofy

            My first post contains reason and links to my thoughts.I don’t have any personal vendetta or jealousy or anything of the sort because it’s not my field or my business or my area — and that’s precisely why I may have a clearer view of it than you do.Ad hominem attacks in fact are allowed under the U.S. Constitution (Times v. Sullivan). They’re fine. Fred uses them on me. Labels are clarifying things, and people need to use them. This silly forums posturing that we’re not allowed to call anybody a name is a strait-jacket all its own, and comes from lack of common sense. It is not that you are not allowed to make an ad hominem attack in the Latin boys’ schools where this culture emerged; it’s that your argument is characterized then as weaker. But everyone knows that you feel fine calling Sarah Palin whatever you like, and you’ll call it a report, not a name.I’m perfectly objective. It’s just the sort of hard-edged objectivity that shocks you because you’ve swathed in reams of subjectivities that are so fashionable now.

          2. Kevin Vogelsang

            Attacks and words characterizing the source are not the same. Sure. You can say what you want. I’m glad you’re willing to “call it like it is.” That makes for good writing, but if its littered with useless bullshit, no one cares. It seems you feel strongly about the topic, get serious about communicating your thoughts well.But you must be right. I’m simply confused by the shock of your hard-edged objectivity.

        2. Guest
        3. fredwilson

          I want the conversation and debate to be civil. I detect a faor bit of anger in your words. And that’s not usual a recipe for civility

          1. Prokofy

            Fred, you’re an experienced comments-wrangler. My comment might have remained a paragraph of criticism at the bottom of a heap of the praise you were seeking had you not reacted to it and called me “reactionary” and told me you’d had enough of my “bullshit”. I don’t mind that at all, but it’s the sort of thing you yourself can blame for what you think is “not the recipe for civility”.You are smarter than this book. That’s what’s disappointing.

    4. Prokofy

      yeah, gov 2.0 (another technocommunism staple), shamanism woo-woo — those are all standard — Fred’s piece is actually one of the more fresh and innovative concepts even if I don’t agree with it.For Seth to put in the wacky concept of 9/11 truth would instantly discredit him and lose most of his contributors because it’s one of those cultic myths that people use to hammer on others on forums with and has no validity.But for Seth, I sense 9/11 isn’t really part of his universe.

      1. kidmercury

        prokofy you need to check out truth school on my blog, and you need to understand monetary policy. just like you don’t understand 9/11 truth, you don’t understand gold. if you understood those two things, you’d understand what creates a world in which all the big businesses can buy and destroy. to try to blame seth godin because you are jealous of him is not a smooth move.anyway, i’m done with you prokofy. i’ve already won the beefs. if you want a response from me, you better diss me in song format, otherwise i’m not taking you seriously.thanks for the chanukah gifts prokofy.

    5. Mark Essel

      I couldn’t make it past page 39. Every page was another pitch, another hard sell, eventually I got weary and bored and closed it.How’d you get all the way to Fred’s page? Maybe I’ll go find it now 😀

  4. Elie Seidman


  5. Farhan Lalji

    Seth is the master at not doing a lot but creating a lot of value. He had the idea, probably was the driver to get the people involved and then published it online. Love this concept, the book, the contributors everything about it. Very smart.

  6. awaldstein

    Fred, I’m with you on this.Seth is one of the rare folks who inspires most consistently over time for me. An impossible thing to attempt on a daily basis.And you know most often its incredible. Packaging inspiration and forward looking and problem solving thinking for others to personalize is a great thing.

  7. Mark Essel

    Just grabbed the PDF yesterday, anything with that list of collaboraters has to be a fun thought ride. My Internet idea candy :).Will give it a quick read now.I got to page 39 before I got bored. Every page felt like an isolated sell. It was like dealing with 39 pushy sales people back to back.Next time. each author should read whatever was written before them.I’ll give it another look, but I’m dissappointed.I’d prefer 2-10 authors so each segment was more of a narrative than a pitch. They certainly would benefit by tying the work together.

    1. Andy

      I agree.

      1. Michael Jung

        Agree. Could have been a case for Google Wave. Everyone knew what the other was writing and could either opt out. Write a new thought. Expand a thought. Comment on others thought. Et cetera.BTW @fredwilson: Watched your video from last Seedcamp (Seedcamp Week 2009 Day 4 – Fred Wilson Masterclass – 10 Characteristics of Great Companies http://vimeo.com/7356884) and found at one of your points about “change the world/make meaning” that my idea and product isn’t flawed it is just abstract thinking about newspapers, journalism and society.

  8. Chris Clark

    I like ths. Each page is a pretty cursory glance at an idea, but one or two ideas will jump out to any given reader, encouraging a deeper dive. This is a good format for quick inspiration. I’ll treat it like a coffee table book.

    1. fredwilson

      I think that’s exactly right

    2. Aviah Laor

      we need an app for that

      1. RichardF

        There already is; the amazon kindle app and Stanza (which is pretty good imo)

        1. Aviah Laor

          thanks, but i the idea is something that pulls an insight a day from resources that you can define yourself. unless it’s a threat for freedom, off course

          1. RichardF

            ah ok I understand – and yes I agree there should be an app for that !

  9. chrisdorr

    I find it fascinating that all the discussion thus far is about Seth Godin, when it should be about the ideas/thinkers highlighted within the ebook. Many different thinkers and ideas are presented. I have perused only a few thus far and plan to read and think about the others. Do I agree with some, do I disagree with others? Thus far yes.Is the effort of collecting them, and getting them out to as wide an audience as possible to be applauded? Yes. Is the chance that at least one of them, will lead me to learn something I did not know that is valuable, to gain some insight that I can act upon in a positive way likely? I would say yes. And it costs nothing, except some of my time? So time criticizing the effort or the person behind the effort is time wasted. How about some discussion of the ideas presented?

    1. fredwilson

      That’s because of the first comment. When you get out of bed in a bad mood, it can screw up the whole day

    2. David Semeria

      Good Point. FWIW, my favourites were Tony Hsieh on ‘Poker’ and Chip and Dan Heath on ‘Change’.To be honest, I was slightly underwhelmed by some of the pages. Perhaps my expectations were too high.

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Ditto, David.Of this genre, I still prefer – and often re-reference – Funky Business.Was somewhat ahead of its time. Would make a killing now.http://www.funkybusinessfor

        1. Mike O'Horo

          I just tried to buy Funky Business. Unfortunately, it’s not offered on Kindle.

      2. Mark Essel

        As burned out as I midway through, I did enjoy Tony’s poker page.My favorites were: Autonomy by Daniel H. Pink (p25), Power by Jeffrey Pfeffer (p29), Neoteny by Joichi Ito’s (p39)Dumb by Dave Balter (p43) (ok David you got me to read more, shame on you and I’m enjoying the back half)Analog by George Dyson (p45) although I’m not in agreement with his description of pulse-frequency codingTHNX by Gary Vaynerchuk (p47). My initial video impression of Gary was one of doubt, but his message is consistently solid and jives with my own thinking.Context by Jeff Jonas (p49)Of course Slow Capital by Fred (p55) but we’ve seen that before here ;)Open-Source DNA by Kevin Kelly (p56) he’s so far ahead of the curve he reads like a visitor from the futureFascination by Sally Hogshead (p59)Difference by David Weinberger (p60)Sacrifice by John Moore (p62)Focus by Todd Sattersten (p63), although it diverges from my instincts. I tend to focus on several things and cycle through them best.Timeless by Mark Rovner (p66) great one.eDO by Dale Dougherty (p67) I see a trend in the quality of the this halfMesh by Lisa Gansky (p71)Enough by Merlin Mann (p73) I admit to never knowing, and am a glutton for info(DIS)Trust by Dan Ariely (p74) is an great commentary on aligning motivations with resultsSocial Skills by Penelope Trunk (p75)Sleep by Arianna Huffington (p77)Knowing by Dan Roam (p78) I’ve been guilty of quite a few boring presentations. If I’m not passionate about it, good luck getting me to give an inspired talk on it.Government 2.0 by Tim O’Reilly (p79)Gumption by J.C. Hutchins (p81)Time to remake my own version and reprint! (got the ok from Seth)

    3. Nick Giglia

      Agreed – I’m a big fan of Seth’s writing because it motivates me to try new things and think about my business in fresh ways. You can debate his methods all you want, but anybody who can consistently do that is a winner in my book.

      1. awaldstein

        Agreed.He set expectations super high and meets them more than most.That’s a win in my book.

    4. Prokofy

      I’m actually one of the few people who has thoroughly read the Little White Book “Tribes” twice and critiqued it nearly line by line with a thoughtful evaluation based on basic liberal principles. Most people consume stuff like this in bits or bobs or have only read the blog or review.I also paged through the book offered today and read a good deal of the entries as well before commenting, and I saw that there was a culling, a filtering around a set of ideas that Seth represents and that fit his ideology.When someone with this sort of “mindshare” who is called a “thought leader” culls and filters like that, you have to take issue with him, not just his selected fans. You don’t see, oh, Andrew Keen or Jared Lanier in this book or Steve Forbes — you see people that represent his collectivist viewpoint about “free” and “innovation” and all the rest.It seems to be a kind of ruse that the compiler of this book and its recommender put it out there, but they don’t *really* want it discussed. Instead, they want it to virally spread around like the flu, infect everyone with a few feel-good memes that help justify whatever concept they’re pushing (social Darwinism, free, etc.) and that’s the end of it. They don’t really want true engagement; if you try to critique the ideas you are merely reprimanded for trolling blah blah.There are few thinkers out there today that I bother to call “totalitarian” and take on hammer and tongue in a systematic way after contemplating them for months and re-reading them, and Godin is one of them. He crystallizes a lot of what it out there in one systematic body of thought and then makes it very snackable on his blog.

      1. chrisdorr

        So the upshot of your critique is this–if Seth Godin puts the thinker in his book–he agrees with the thinker–ok I will buy that, then–if Seth Godin agrees with the thinker–the thinker is “totalitarian” by definition–because as you have stated Seth Godin is totalitarian–therefore anyone in his book is also “totalitarian”. So please clarify for me and others–How exactly is Fred Wilson “totalitarian” in his thinking? Because he agreed to be in an ebook that Seth Godin put together? So you believe that Fred Wilson does not want his ideas discussed? Not likely!

        1. Prokofy

          There is not a diversity of view points. Some of them are pablum. Some of them are all of a piece of his own particular ideology; some of them are consistent with the “California” ideology.But it’s a fallacy to say that because Seth is a totalitarian thinker and put together this anthology, that all these people he chose are also totalitarians. That’s not the case. Some are; some aren’t even thinkers. I mean, look at the booklet. This is not Plato’s Republic and Kant we’re talking here, these are bromides.I think I was accurate in calling Fred a “Bolshevik” some time ago. Why? Because he wants to destroy institutions radically — overthrow them completely. He doesn’t just want to reform business or education — he wants to overthrow and totally gut out these institutions in society. Bolshevism for me is when people say “the end justifies the means”. And he takes this destructive stance to everything becaues he believes he has a new and better way — but it’s a utopianism, the idea that you can get something for nothing, and give away everything, and make people give everything up for free, and still make money. I’m here to point out that the emperor has no clothes — the money to be made is of the sort that is made by fleecing sheep.It’s emblematic that the portion from Fred’s writings chose is the “slow capitalism” concept. That’s typical of the way in which Seth (and others of similar schools) put out some idea and call it “capitalism” or “new capitalism,” but it actually isn’t market-oriented at all. In his piece, Fred talks about the need to consider people, not businesses. I’m all for that, but I do that in church or in non-profit organizations with charity, I don’t call that “capitalism” lol.

          1. chrisdorr

            I find it interesting that all your attacks are phrases or words that are freighted with “alleged” meaning and not clearly thought out positions. It strikes me that your approach is the disease which some how claims to be the cure. Try making a clear argument without using words like totalitarian or bolshevik. I have not yet seen it yet? Can you make one?

          2. Prokofy

            Oh, they’re well thought out to be sure. I’ve been thinking about these issues for 30 years. You’re just expressing the usual allergenic reaction to words like “totalitarian” or “Bolshevik” that scare you and instantly evoke a knee-jerk horror that you might be accused of “McArthyism” if you ever use these labels. But it’s ok, they do apply, and and it’s good to apply them when they fit, because the ideas being promoted are oppressive, and they need to be understood, labelled, and resisted.They only seem “alleged” to you. That’s your call, of course, but the idea that I have to scrub out analysis and labelling for categories of ideas is preposterous, and of course, belongs to that very totalitarianism.Have you read the book about tribes? I’ve made a thorough argument about what’s oppressive about this set of ideas on my blog. It takes a while to go through the arguments so if you can’t stand a post wider than your hand, it’s not the blog for you. But I hvae made the clear arguments and I’ve also used the appropriate labels.Strip away all the aura and mythology around Seth Godin the person and strip away the glitzy cyber-clothing to the tribal ideas, and ask yourself if you’d want to sign up for a society where everyone *had* to join a tribe; that each tribe only got one leader; that your job was to overthrow that tribal leader and to fetishize the overthrowing of leaders as the young man’s proper occupation–unless of course he was already in charge, then he’s have to disavow that occupation from another. And imagine that if you didn’t agree, all you could do was leave — you couldn’t dissent, obtain a compromise, vote, or do anything but follow.You’d call it bolshevism, and you’d be right.

          3. David Semeria

            Hey the Prokofy show! Now where’s that remote…

          4. luxtor

            thats the opinion man don’t wory about diferent

  10. RichardF

    I think the ebook fits perfectly with Seth’s style. I read his blog most days, I like his style, it’s pithy and to the point. Yes you may have heard some of it before but I’m the sort of person that needs to be reminded, frequently! Which is probably why I like Tom Peters’ page on Excellence.

  11. Aviah Laor

    awesome resource.i would recommend to re-open another daily companion, might seem old timer but the insights are good as new: The Daily Drucker. he was focused on the social side, on innovation, so the insights are amazingly relevant for today as well.

    1. JLM

      Actually Drucker is a bit like reading the Bible in its original language. I cannot imagine any real business thinker not knowing a bit of Drucker. Metaphorically, every generation thinks it invented sex. Drucker was certainly the best cataloguer of his.

      1. Aviah Laor


      2. Aviah Laor

        actually, after the internet porn the next generations will no longer have the luxury to think they invented sex 😀

        1. andyswan

          Late nominee for comment of the year.

          1. ShanaC

            I still think the bear comment should be in there.

      3. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Good point. The every generation thinking it invented sex cycle always reminds me of one of my favourite poems – ‘This Be the Verse’ (contains language):http://www.poetryfoundation

  12. JLM

    A catalog of interesting thoughts.Being exposed to thinking can only provide context for shallow thinkers (that would be me most likely, lol) or inspiration for deep thinkers.Even being exposed to thoughts with which you do not agree is healthy, very healthy.It spawns a bit of thinking. Thinking (and spawning for that matter) is good.

  13. Kevin

    I don’t know much about Seth. I’ll follow him for awhile and see if I dig it. The book made me think about some things I’ve already been thinking about and better yet some things I’ve not been. It also connected a few dots between those thoughts. I was done quickly and I got something out of it; so that’s good too. He built his brand one more person. Win/Win. The ideas themselves may be from people other then Seth. Obviously they agreed to offer them. That’s enough for me.

  14. karen_e

    Wow. Quite a batch of early-morning comments. (And I thought I had a bad day – spent two evenings working on a cake for a good cause and dropped it on the sidewalk on the way to an early board meeting. Cakes are fragile; pride more so.)I am a professional marketer who reads Seth Godin every day. I find his insights very valuable. Yet, I was somewhat put off by this PDF, too. Partly because it had quite a few typos in it, which made me think, who’s editing this, and do they care? If not, why should I?In general, Seth’s work is slippery stuff, hard to hold on to, hard to make ‘actionable’. It’s easy for me to excerpt something that Fred says and discuss it with others. Much harder with Seth’s writing. I gather that’s the nature of marketing. It is abstract by nature. Generalities can be helpful to us in the business yet applying them is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.

    1. andyswan

      Agree on all points re: Seth and the PDF.More pressing, however….. did any of the cake survive?

      1. karen_e

        http://twitpic.com/tn7yx. Enough to scrape up to do a taste analysis among trusted friends, but certainly nothing presentable!

        1. andyswan

          That’s awesome. Perfectly upside-down is the “best case scenario” for aruined cake….there are many inches of goodness there.I can sleep well tonight knowing that you made the best of an unfortunatesituation!

        2. ShanaC

          it looked yummy. So very sugary and yummy.

    2. JLM

      I like two things about your comment. Very much.The first is the concept of “actionable”. We all have lots of information in the world but struggle mightily to identify what is truly actionable. It is a very, very important concept for almost every aspect of life.When all is said and done — a hell of a lot more gets said than done!The second is the cake. Hmmm, karma at work.Sylvia Weinstock (the world’s best cake maker based in NYC) actually has her cakes made to her specs when way out of town. The local cake makers are always required to make at least two cakes and to transport them in two different conveyances.Her cakes are outrageously expensive. If nothing bad happens to the first cake, the the second cake sits in the van until the event is over and is transported back to the catering kitchen where it is devoured by the locals at $500 a slice figuratively.You were walking the tight rope with no net. You were braver than Sylvia Weinstock!

      1. karen_e

        Part of the tragedy is that it was never photographed at its height of perfection. I was planning to take a picture in good morning light after the meeting. Instead, all I have is this sad shot: http://twitpic.com/tn7yx.

        1. JLM

          Hmmm, what does that cake say to you? I am not laughing at your tragedy but at the pathos of the situation. LOL

          1. karen_e

            Considering how entranced I was with my own baking prowess last night, I cannot best this line: Pride cometh before – splat! – a fall. By the way, I loved the pro cake baker story. Two cakes every time!

          2. JLM

            OK, we have found the problem.Pride GOETH before a fall.You were in the wrong gear. LOLI used to be a pizza Dad able to concoct artisan pizzas of any description using a big pizza stone and an outdoor grill. The highest compliment ever paid to me was when my teenage daughter and her entourage elected to stay home, sit next to the pool and eat MY pizza rather than go to Mangia Pizza.I can still conjure up that feeling of triumph and revel in its wicked delight. I was a pizza hero. I coulda been a contender!

  15. Glenn Gutierrez

    Looking forward to the read.

  16. Gavin Baker

    I like the idea of curated thought – Seth picked from a broad and diverse range of people who are passionate about what they do. Passion inspires others to think and act. Very well done. Props to your inclusion Fred.

  17. Aviah Laor

    It’s a brilliant concept too: Pick a subject, gather valuable insights and distribute. Seth takes the blog-post/comments theme one steps further, and everybody can try to distribute ideas like that.

  18. AgeOfSophizm

    I think this dovetails nicely with yesterday’s post on content farms. There was a lot of discussion on what makes good content vs. bad content, and will the media motivated, fast food content dominate the web over hearty, make-you-think and participate content. This eBook is a great example of latter, and I’m certain it is reaching many people only hours/days after it was published. This is the stuff people should be reading vs. the umpteenth story on Tiger Woods. This is the stuff people should be focusing their attention on. And I truly believe this trend will prevail, society has no other choice but to wake up to the fact that we shouldn’t be mindlessly consuming information, we should be actively pursuing valuable information – and technology will make that process exponentially easier over time.

    1. Mike O'Horo

      Ryandavies: The rub is who, at any moment, is defining “good content,” “bad content,” “mindless consumption” and “valuable information.”Why would we expect the Internet not to reflect our society at large? (Granted, broadband access and computer ownership are not yet universal, but penetration increases each year.) One need only peruse the spectrum of TV programming to make this point. There is all manner of content distributed by increasingly specialized (fragmented) channels that, according to each of us, range from the sublime to the absurd or offensive.So, I encourage all those drinking the “Web is magic and special” Kool-Aid to exhale and dial back the Messianic fervor a notch or two. The Internet is merely an emerging, organic distribution medium with fewer barriers to entry. That it’s interactive merely means there are more dimensions to its distribution architecture. Like TV before it, it will distribute what some of the world’s 6 billion-plus people who enjoy access create. By definition, that will span the “sublime to ridiculous” spectrum, with each of us deciding what we’ll consume at any given moment. Sometimes you want green vegetables and salmon rich in omega-3; sometimes you want potato chips and beer.

  19. iamronen

    Calling it a “book” is an indication of how far we have drifted.. It is a sign of our times – shallow (as in “not deep” – because you can only get so far on one page), full of false-promises & hopes for instant salvation.It is abusive to the people quoted in it. Their writing is taken out of context – detached from them. To truly and deeply (as in taking time to dig in, ponder, digest) appreciate a single page you need to spend time reading more from that person, about that person. Their wisdom comes from within them and their entire lives. This setting is disrespectful and ignorant of all that energy.It does have potential for inspiration, but not much more then a commercial with great creative.I like it for demystifying Seth, he is a master of delivering what people want and walks his own talk. I stopped reading his posts over a year ago, I looked at this because it came from Fred, and remembered why I stopped.Also it reinforces my belief that there is no such thing as free, this was worth every penny I paid for it.

    1. Prokofy

      Thank you.I feel I have paved the way to your comment to come here finally and say what is even more profoundly troubling about this “book” than its e-communism:It is not literature.It is not great.It is not a book.And yet Fred is great and does have a book in him and that’s why I feel he is low-balling here.

      1. iamronen

        Hello Prokofy,I believe we interacted here a while back on another subject… I experienced violence from you. This time I skipped over your comments so I cannot relate. Then and now I felt we had something in common, yet the violence I experienced separates us.I am not assuming that that Fred is low-balling here, simply that he is seeing something I am not. Maybe in time it will be revealed to me. Maybe not.’till we meet againRonen

        1. ShanaC

          How are you otherwise Ronen? May you have some peace this year.

      2. fredwilson

        I don’t have a book in me because books have endings and so will I but not in book form

  20. sippey

    Seth should have made this ebook a website. So that you could link directly to your piece in it. So that others could have as well. So that the whole thing could have an index, and search, and social tools for commenting, favoriting, sharing on blogs and Twitter and Facebook. And the format of the ebook is hostile to anything but reading on a laptop — Amazon’s PDF conversion service for the Kindle choked on it, as did Calibre. So instead of being a great, vibrant thing on the web, it’s a file sitting in my downloads folder. (And yeah, this comment is rehash of this post: http://bit.ly/7YGRhD )

    1. Prokofy

      Yes, the comrade is a good socialist, but he is not *communist enough*. Liberate the people’s content further, I say!

  21. andyswan

    Why was this not just a “everyone post on WHAT MATTERS NOW, on your own blog/publication tool….then, we can all link to the ones that inspire us? ” kind of thing? Some of the individual “posts” in the book are great (I like slow capital, as discussed on this blog)….but….the end product seems more fluff than stuff….more hype than substance, more imagery than illumination.The “ebook” strategy just makes me think that the “organizer” wanted to control the message and the purpose, and reap the majority of the benefits from the labor of his “tribe”, who each felt (s)he was working towards the “common good”.As evidenced by this comment section, I believe Mr. Godin accomplished this.

    1. David Semeria

      That’s a superb idea Andy. If everyone just did a blog page and submitted the url to a single crowdsourced voting page, the book would compile itself. Not more a than a few hours work for a decent web dev.

    2. ShanaC

      Third this. So when are we doing this?

    3. Prokofy

      >The “ebook” strategy just makes me think that the “organizer” wanted to control the message and the purpose, and reap the majority of the benefits from the labor of his “tribe”, who each felt (s)he was working towards the “common good”.Great. I totally agree. This is how you described it. I saw the same thing you did, I just gave it a sharper label than the liberal Fred wanted to hear — “communism”.What else would you call a utopian ideology where everybody works for free for the common good but only a few “workers advance-guard” get paid handsomely?

  22. brooksjordan

    I feel like the “Prokofy virus” got into this comment thread and pushed it negative.There are amazing ideas and inspiration in this ebook that are packaged and aimed at a more general audience than frequent this blog. So I think we can be a little more generous in our evaluation of it.This is about reaching, changing, and supporting larger and larger and circles of people in the world.Do we really not like or appreciate what Hugh MacLeod has to say about meaning?If JLM commented on this blog “There’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos,” we’d eat it up. So why not when Bill Taylor, a founder of Fast Company, says it on the topic of “most.”And doesn’t Arianna Huffington make a point that will stick with us about sleep when she admits to passing out from exhaustion, breaking a cheekbone, and getting five stitches over her eye? If we read that on the right blog, we’d be passing it around like we were in the know.C’mon, let’s think about what Seth is trying to do here. Thanks Seth for not being cynical. Thanks Seth for trying to create a revolution.

    1. Prokofy

      No, that’s actually not what happened.What happened is that I righly criticized what I called the “totalitarian” ideas of Seth Godin and said they were rewarmed from the communist ideas of 100 years ago. That sent Fred into a rage because he is a personal colleague of Godin’s and once invested in him, he’s *in the book himself*, and he is furious at the idea that a guy who seems to make money like he does be called a “communist” when he is as “capitalist as they come”. Therefore, in Fred’s mind, I am “reactionary” and “full of bullshit”.Most people, dissed that way by a prominent venture capitalist would wilt and die, and they’d slink away in defeat after a hail of stones labelled “red-baiter”.Not me.I’m dead serious that these ideas need the most profound critique. They need a sweeping conceptual critique, which I try to give them in my lengthy blog exegesis of “Tribes”. But let’s just take this e-book.1. It exploits everyone’s content and labor — all their IP is taken for free, excerpted from existing works that might pay, or commissioned without pay for this project.2. It is given away for free but from Seth’s website, so he gets the hits, the ads, the name recognition from these 70 people sacrificing their content. Nothing links to them but a possible Google search.3. The book drives people to charities of the author’s selection — it’s a shakedown of sorts, not a business, but a handout.4. All of us are drawn into the process of free, unpaid “viral marketers”. We’re all supposed to blog about this book and its 70 authors giving up IP for free, we’re supposed to engage, recopy, share, rhapsodize — and at most we might get pennies on are own little site’s Google ads.5. The result of all this is that Google wins (Google is the state organizing the collective farm here) and Seth wins as a Google commissar, so to speak, making his business off the gospel of “free”.6. Then there’s the ideas in the book, which are all variants pretty much of the idea that everyone should work for free, get content for nothing, get a tiny pittance of ad revenue they can’t live from, and feed the Google ad agency that has at the very apex of its pyramid a kind of oligarchic structure of people like Seth who make millions pouring click-addictions into big IT companies like Yahoo.If you all want to go on calling all this “capitalism” just because there isn’t something here called “the state,” you may. I chose not to.I embody what Hugh MacLeod says to do in his cartoon. You have to, if you want to think freely and critically. That’s what I care about.Seth is as cynical as they come, going around his fellow workers and bosses to hustle himself and his project and then selling it off to Yahoo — and away we go.What this man is making is a click empire where you get to consume and distribute for free all the content he gets for free, other people’s and even yours, to sell his books and his reputation.

      1. fredwilson

        That’s what I like about you prokofy. You are tenacious. You piss me off regulalry but you don’t wilt. Bravo

      2. Mike O'Horo

        I’ll admit I was having trouble with your seemingly disjointed comments. However, you make a lot of sense with this one or, as an earlier poster suggested, perhaps it just took me awhile to get it.I refer particularly to your point 5: The result of all this is that Google wins (Google is the state organizing the collective farm here) and Seth wins as a Google commissar, so to speak, making his business off the gospel of “free”.The idea of Google as the state, while an enjoyably pithy turn of phrase, actually appears in less direct language among those actively engaged in the “Open Web” debate between the telcomm carriers (facilely characterized as the Evil Empire) and web content creators (equally facilely, the oppressed opposition). I don’t have a dog in that fight, but the argument is, in essence, that of course Google wants everything to be open and unimpeded. They’re the master ad agency who, like stockbrokers, benefit from all activity, no matter who wins or loses in individual transactions. The more activity, the better it is for Google’s aspirations of Internet hegemony. Whether or not Seth is a willing or unwitting pawn in that is not significant. Either way, so what? In the grand scheme of things, Seth and his ideas or practices are no more or less significant than anyone else.

  23. Tom

    I’ll never have a use for someone like Seth Godin. He keeps recycline the same nonesense over and over again. Come to think of it, he’s very much like Obama.

  24. Emil Sotirov

    Is it possible that it’s a bad idea to read this ebook – exactly because “we need a different way of thinking” and “a useful way to focus”… and “the energy to turn the game around”…?

    1. Prokofy

      Who is “we”?

      1. Emil Sotirov

        Prokofy… “we” is Fred, me, and the readers of this blog (including you). My avatar is my real face, and my nickname is my real name. And I spent the first 30 years of my life under real communism.My question was serious – Seth Godin never succeeded in getting my attention (despite or may be because of his mythical “professionalism” in getting people’s attention). I really thought readers of this blog would most likely waste time by reading this ebook (Fred’s contribution I must already know because I read his blog).

  25. kirklove

    I never understood the love/hate thing with Seth. Sure some of his ideas are common sense 101, but some really help make you think (me at least). So take what you like and ignore the rest. Pretty simple.Fred I know you’re a fan of his so I’m sure it was a honor to take part and for that I offer my sincere congrats. Nice page. Very true to you and what you practice and preach here.

  26. Elie Seidman
  27. $3236

    This is very difficult content/information to aggregate effectively. I’m a big fan of Seth, Fred and a handful of other writers who were included, but the chain here seems to be only as strong as the weakest links.

  28. alan sanders

    Prokofy has won this one on the scorecard … He’s right – Seth Godin good at building his own brand and that’s about it. His reputation is based on what, yoyodyne? Let’s get real, yoyodyne was sold for what $3mm, maybe 6 not exactly Geocities. Squido? really now … i’ve never seen it even come up in a search result.I suppose there’s something to be said for being Paris Hilton too – I’m not sure what but there’s certainly something to be said for it …I don’t have have disdain for the guy – I just don’t see him as one of the big thinkers provoking thought the way Esther Dyson, Jeff Jarvis or Clay Shirky do?

    1. Prokofy

      None of them are very profound thinkers in fact, and in fact they’re all sort of in the same technocommunist school, in my book, I’ve critiqued them all. It’s true that all those thinkers you’ve mentioned are more conceptual and literary than Seth Godin, but Seth is a “doer,” and that’s why Fred admires him.

      1. fredwilson


    2. Mike O'Horo

      I’ll disagree with you on this Alan. Seth serves a very useful role as provocateur. While some may see him in his “This is broken” series as a scold, I find that he resonates with consumers who have experienced the very broken customer engagement processes he uses his celebrity to expose to appropriate ridicule and, hopefully, modification. Call him a corporate conscience (at least in the consumer interaction context). Who else offers that populist voice?

  29. Aaron J. Ruckman

    Anyone know if Seth Godin’s “What Matters Now” is available on audio?

  30. ShanaC

    I’m still thinking about it. Some of it seems divorced from reality, some of it seems very real. Sometimes the messages contradicted each other. A page about going at it alone when the crowd tells you no, by Aimee Johnson, versus certain interpretations of the Reynold Price quote given by Mike Rovner (it implies there are communities to listen). I tend to overthink things though… I have to think about the totality of the message being given.Even though it was for a charity about getting children in poor countries to read, I got annoyed that there were ads in a book, even if it was an e-book. I noticed that. It took away from my pleasure of reading. I’ve read short stories before in collections. This feels even more derived-ads on top of ads of ads. I found that a bit insulting to my intelligence as a reader- it destroyed my flow of reading. I would have rather a whole dedication or a whole section about the charity rather than ads. And the ads didn’t visually match the book, because the book wasn’t on paper. Really annoying.He may be a master marketer: But maybe if he wants to develop a community of ideas we’ll listen to, he may want to give me pauses to listen to them that are not filled with Ads.

    1. Prokofy

      Yeah. Supremely interruptive ads from the master of “permissive” marketing?

      1. ShanaC

        he knows himself well, that is for sure. But Prada and Vogue probably got bigger boosts from “The Devil Wears Prada” without interruption of flow.Sometimes, permissive marketing is one that is done from the shadows, one created by envy and emotion. This is a guy screaming at my face about children reading (not that I mind children reading, I’ve taught kids how to read…I do mind being screamed at about it…and I keep wondering if the kids will be advertised to in their books when looking at the ads because I have a sadistic sense of humor at times….)

  31. JFK

    I appreciate Seth Godin’s blog and often clever observations. I appreciate his list of 70 big thinkers.It’s not surprising that he is on his own list which leads to my point: those credited as “big thinkers,” are also necessarily big sellers of themselves. Having read all of the joyful recipients of Seth’s accolades and comparing them with random people I’ve met in my life, big ideas come from the rarest corners as well as the most recognized. People are merely lightening rods for the big ideas and the lucky ones get struck.But, as Mark Twain coined, “The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightening and a lightening bug.”The “big thinkers” exploit that.

  32. luxtor

    yeeeahhh i’m confuse

  33. Roosevelt Islander

    Without getting into the Seth Godin discussion, the idea of a crowd sourced, collaborative book is very interesting. Andrew Sullivan did this with photographs submitted by his Daily Dish blog readers of Views From Your Windows. If you are not familiar with this, Sullivan’s readers take a picture of what they see outside their window, from anyplace in the world, and send them to his blog and he posts some. I sent one from my window on Roosevelt Island facing Manhattan’s East Side Skyline and East River but was not selected … yet. He then turned these photos into a pictoral book and promoting it as a Holiday Gift.The business model he is using is troubling for the publishing industry. On his blog he took pre orders from those wishing to buy the book and then self published with a print on demand company.More information is available here. http://bit.ly/X7FCh

    1. ShanaC

      I have some interesting questions about it in terms of generative art and chance based art. Who has ownership, creates it, curating, and is this an automatic or human backed process? At what point do you know intervention has happened? But that’s me in all of this…

  34. Aaron Klein

    I finally had a few minutes to read Seth’s e-book. I’m a fan of about five or six of the people who wrote for it. Many of the others I barely knew. In a nutshell, here’s my response.Roughly 50% of the material was utter BS. The other 50% was brilliant.Deciding which was which is most definitely in the eye of the beholder but was the most interesting part of reading it.In the 30 seconds I gave to each page, I could quickly decide which was which in my opinion.(Fred, you made that cut instantly because I liked “slow capital” the first time you wrote about it.)