Why I never read Seth Godin.

I’ll offer no argument to impute the genius of Seth Godin. But I make it a point to steer clear of his blog. Why? Because it seems like everyone I know in blogopolis reads it. What’s worse, they take his comments as gospel. Seth could be right of everything he says. But when everyone follows lockstep, then everyone does pretty much the same thing.

My other problem with reading Seth is that he’s just one guy. No offense, to him, but there are a tremendous number of professionals, in and out of the real estate industry that come up with ideas every bit as good (and better implemented).

There’s no word of god when it comes to marketing on the net. That’s why this blog features as much advice from my peers, as it does from me.

Take this recent post from Seth’s blog for example. I don’t subscribe, but many of the RE bloggers I respect must. Greg Swann, Dustin Luther, Mariana Wagner, Jeff Brown, and Joel Burslem all mention the post. Jeff even went so far as to call the post an endorsement of what he was talking about months ago.

I think you’re wrong Jeff. I think it’s an illustration of how no one human can be counted on to be the last word on anything. I don’t need Seth’s endorsement (months later) to know you were correct at the time. Oh, and the idea to blog about high school sports? I came up with that idea about a year ago (see comments). Someone else could have easily come up with it before me.

Seth’s advice in that post is sooo 2007. It’s good advice, but I’d hate to be the one who’s just now getting it because they paid too much attention to one guru, and not enough to the professionals around them who were already making this work.

To me, “Being Remarkable” can’t happen if you spend the bulk of your time taking advice from others, or giving too much weight to one superstar’s ideas. For me, blogging has always been about taking what works for me off line, and figuring out ways to harness that success more effectively on the web. Sure, it’s great to listen to others, but look to yourself as well. Original ideas have only one origin.

0 thoughts on “Why I never read Seth Godin.

  1. Chad Hallberg

    Thanks Todd for the post. I didn’t want to drink the kool aid everyone you mentioned was trying to force down my throat about hyperlocals because I had heard it all before. Way to stick to your guns!

  2. Teri Lussier

    >the idea to blog about high school sports? I came up with that idea about a year ago

    That was a brain shifting day for me, I don’t care who thought it up first. You really opened my eyes. I probably said that already.

    And I understand the point you are making here as well. I think regardless of where these ideas come from, they can still have impact on someone.

    I’m not convinced that we should pity anyone just getting started. Depending on where you are working, there’s still time for a smart blogger to get moving on all this.

  3. Mariana

    Wow. I actually do not agree with anything you said, here. But I like you anyway.

    “But when everyone follows lockstep, then everyone does pretty much the same thing.”
    No. No they wont. First, about 80% of the people who read it will do absolutely nothing. Out of the 20% left, 80% of them will kind of do it a little bit but not really. Out of the 20% left of THAT, 80% will do it, but in a different way and all the left overs will do it in a differnt place, thus actually doing it in a differnet way anyway.

    “My other problem with reading Seth is that he’s just one guy.”
    Yes. He is. He is just one guy with mismatched socks. But do you not agree that sometimes it can take one guy to change the face of an industry? I agree that there are all kinds of people who have all kinds of great advice, but Seth IMHO is consistently on target. No, not gospel-quality, but very, very close…

    Okay, fine, I agree with you on this one: “To me, “Being Remarkable” can’t happen if you spend the bulk of your time taking advice from others, or giving too much weight to one superstar’s ideas.”
    Being remarkable comes from IMPLEMENTING those ideas.

    Thanks for writing a post that was worth commenting on, Todd.

  4. Todd Carpenter

    Teri, I don’t pity anyone who’s just getting started on RE blogging. But I wouldn’t want to trade places with them either. I agree that opportunity abounds.

    Mariana, if one guy was going to change the face of the real estate industry, the post I linked suggest to me that it won’t be Seth Godin. Like I said, the advice he’s giving in this instance is good, but hardly cutting edge.

    You’re absolutely correct when you point out that not everyone will implement the advice, or implement it in the same way. Bad wording on my part. In my head, “everyone” was a metaphor for several real estate bloggers who I hold to the highest esteem (listed above, and including yourself). Once I saw Joel’s post, I knew others would also be bringing it up. By the time I saw Jeff’s, it occurred to me that Seth is getting credit for ideas we all thought up in days gone by.

    Again, it’s not that I dislike Seth, or think he’s wrong, I just think his ideas are largely unoriginal. Maybe because “everyone” follows them, or maybe because so many already came up with the idea themselves. Either way, I’ll continue to think outside of Seth Godin’s box.

  5. Mariana

    (Why’d you make me count to 11?)

    Fair enough. I find that a lot of what SG talks about was already floating around in my head, and he validates it in a way. So, maybe it is not wholly original, but much of HOW he says things is different (and better) than how other people say it. and he is a geat medium to get all these ideas out to the world.

    Of course, like you, I am out-of-the-box and even out-of-SG’s- box in many ways, too. However, I think that if MORE people listen to SG even a little bit, there will be better people in our industry … and I want that.

  6. Jeff Brown

    Todd — I think you’ve come to some erroneous conclusions about Seth, his ideas, and me. Still, I understand the spirit of what you’re saying, though on some points we appear to be polar opposites. 🙂

    I think you’ve touched on what I think is at least a small strand of the third rail in blogging/marketing.

    Though you won’t question Seth’s genius, (if not genius, at least brilliant) you wonder why others follow him.

    Just for fun, ask yourself why so many follow him. I’d like to hear your answer.

  7. Todd Carpenter

    Look, I have a copy of Unleashing The Idea Virus from all the way back in 2001. His ideas are the foundation for how web2.0 style marketing works. I don’t know exactly why anyone listens to him, but my guess is that it’s because he provides good advice.

    I simply tire of the echo syndrome, especially when it comes from folks who have already been proven to be more innovative in this vertical.

    I wrote the post to encourage people to think for themselves, and to look beyond famous names in seeking advice.

  8. Jeff Brown

    Thanks Todd, I appreciate it.

    Who, in your judgment has proven to be more vertical? There are no doubt many of us who’d really like to see those names in print.

    Thanks again.

  9. Mariana

    Maybe it is the teacher in me that like to “echo” whay he says, regardless of where I am with my business and my marketing efforts. THe more people that can benefit from what he has to say, the better. If I can help the messages he promotes get out tomore people, then why should’t I? I do not think of it as not thinking for myself, rather I think of it as support for those who are still trying to figure out HOW to think for themselves.

  10. Jeff Brown

    Thinking for one’s self is certainly to be encouraged. No debate.

    It’s not the be all end all. When in need of personal transportation I don’t try to think of how I can build the BawldMobile. I buy a car from someone who has already thought about for me.

  11. Todd Carpenter

    Jeff, I couldn’t say there was a single leader in this vertical. My point was that great ideas come from all around us, and often the best ones come from within.

    It’s kind of funny to me because I basically said that I respect the opinions of Mariana, or Jeff, or myself far more than I do from Seth, and yet you both seem to have taken issue with it. 🙂

  12. Jeff Brown

    Todd — I’ve done a terrible job of making myself clear.

    I absolutely get what you’re telling folks. Maybe it’s because I’m my own worst critic, but I’m thinking Seth knows something I don’t — whether it’s original or not.

    I”m not taking issue with you whatsoever. I look to folks like you and Seth to give me ideas. I’m a real estate investment guy who doesn’t even play a marketing guy on TV. 🙂

  13. Brian Brady

    “I’m a real estate investment guy who doesn’t even play a marketing guy on TV”

    Ha! Conspicuous humility, Bawld Guy. That hyper-local blog idea of yours was legendary.

    Todd’s making a good point. I’m all over the board with my marketing mentors; some even write on BHB.

  14. Mariana

    Todd – I am not so much taking issue with it as much as I am taking issue with it. (That was my attempt to out-unclarify Jeff.)

    I also see what your point is but, Jeff nailed it with ” but I’m thinking Seth knows something I don’t — whether it’s original or not.” (Wow. Jeff gets quotes TWICE in the comments…)

    For as much as I respect SO MANY fellow RE bloggers (like you), I also seem extreme value in SG’s offerings as well. Seth is a marketer 100%. My %, as well as other RE Blogger’s %, is much smaller than that. There HAS to be value in that.

  15. Jeff Brown

    Mariana — I’m liking you more and more. 🙂

    I’m the Japan of marketing. The next original marketing idea I come up with will be my first. However, I can piggyback (code for steal) with the best of ’em.

    Brian’s comment is a perfect example, re: the Hyper-Local blog post I did. Lord knows that idea didn’t originate with me. Heck, Greg wrote about it a year or so before that post. I just put my personal spin on it. See? Just like Japan. Everyone makes cars, they just put their spin on it. 🙂

  16. ines

    Todd – you have done it once again you instigator you! 🙂
    I can see where this post could be taken out of context because it seems as if you were raining on everyone’s parade or even worse, un-idolizing a GOD.

    The truth is that I get it and please correct me if I’m wrong. You are saying that we have been doing exactly what Seth says for months (some even years) and just because he says it now we think it’s good advice.

    The truth is that we are surrounded by great business people and bloggers and although we don’t need a Seth Godin to tell us we’re on the right track……it really feels good when they do.

  17. John Lockwood

    Wow, someone else besides me doesn’t read Seth Godin.

    That’s pretty cool.

    Also, I noticed you occasionally read me, which is almost as cool, because in many respects I am the Anti-Seth.

    I should consider repaying your kindness by making you part of the Real Estate Johnosphere.

  18. Bill Gassett

    I do believe Seth has some excellent ideas but by no means to I view anything as gospel. There are plenty of folks who are offering inspiring information. I also agree with you about coming up with your own great ideas. We all should strive for that.

  19. Diann

    I am just getting serious about doing blogs in my real estate business and having my old Front Page site redesigned into a more modern format so that I can actually incorporate a blog into it.

    I agree that you have to have original ideas, but there is nothing wrong with starting out using another’s! After all, why totally reinvent the wheel? 🙂 With that in mind, is there a specific site or web page you would recommend that has some great cutting edge ideas for blogging?


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