By December 4, 2011 12 Comments Read More →

Seth Godin Quotes

Lessons Learned from Seth Goden - 4

This is my collection of Seth Godin quotes.  They’ll make you think and ponder as you wonder around from one idea to the next.

Seth’s sweet spot is marketing but his quotes easily span business, change, greatness, innovation, leadership, mediocrity, and strategy.  Seth’s quotes teach us that the individual is a powerful force, that multiplies when we dare to be different, take action, test our ideas, stay true to our authentic self, tell inspiring stories, make things meaningful, and lead tribes of like minds and shared values.

Perhaps the most important lesson we learn from Seth Godin is this:  Think and do great things.  And do the tough stuff, because it’s worth it.

Enjoy.

Top 10 Seth Godin Quotes

Here are my top 10 favorite quotes by Seth Godin:

  1. “Are you a serial idea-starting person? The goal is to be an idea-shipping person.”
  2. “Change is not a threat, it’s an opportunity. Survival is not the goal, transformative success is.”
  3. “Don’t try to please everyone. There are countless people who don’t want one, haven’t heard of one or actively hate it. So what?”
  4. “Expectations are the engines of our perceptions.”
  5. “Go ahead, do something impossible. “
  6. “Ideas in secret die. They need light and air or they starve to death.”
  7. “If you could do tomorrow over again, would you?”
  8. “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”
  9. “Why waste a sentence saying nothing? “
  10. “You can’t shrink your way to greatness! “

Business

  • “As an organization grows and succeeds, it sows the seeds of its own demise by getting boring.”
  • “Choose your customers, choose your future.”
  • “Choose your customers. Fire the ones that hurt your ability to deliver the right story to the others.”
  • “Developing expertise or assets that are not easily copied is essential; otherwise you’re just a middleman. “
  • “Don’t try to be the ‘next’. Instead, try to be the other, the changer, the new. “
  • “Everyone is not your customer. “
  • “Fire the committee. No great website in history has been conceived of by more than three people. Not one. This is a deal breaker.”
  • “Give up control and give it away … The more you give your idea away, the more your company is going to be worth. “
  • “If your organization requires success before commitment, it will never have either. “
  • “In a world of free, everyone can play.”
  • “It’s better to make a decision, even the wrong one, than to be in limbo.”
  • “Lack of resources (payroll), time and competing priorities are why so many nonprofits haven’t done well. It’s that simple.”
  • “Make a decision. It doesn’t have to be a wise decision or a perfect one. Just make one.”
  • “Once you have permission to talk to someone, finding new products or services for them is a smart way to grow.”
  • “One way to think about running a successful business is to figure out what the least you can do is, and do that. “
  • “Playing safe is very risky. “
  • “The application process changes the list of who applies. Your applicants reflect your methods.”
  • “The best time to do great customer service is when a customer is upset.”
  • “The market and the consumer and idea trump the system.”
  • “Your best customers are worth far more than your average customers.”

Change

  • “Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.”
  • “Change is not a threat, it’s an opportunity. Survival is not the goal, transformative success is.”
  • “If you want to dig a big hole, you need to stay in one place.”
  • “Knowing what to do is very, very different than actually doing it.”
  • “Little changes cost you. Big changes benefit you by changing the game, but only if you go first.”
  • “No, everything is not going to be okay. It never is. It isn’t okay now. Change, by definition, changes things”
  • “Sometimes we spend more time than we should defending the old thing, instead of working to take advantage of the new thing.”

Choice

  • “If religion comprises rules you follow, faith is demonstrated by the actions you take.”
  • “If there’s time for an emergency, why isn’t there time for brilliance, generosity or learning? “
  • “If you could do tomorrow over again, would you? “
  • “If you’re not proud of where you work, go work somewhere else. “
  • “Just saying yes because you can’t bear the short-term pain of saying no is not going to help you do the work.”
  • “Saying no to loud people gives you the resources to say yes to important opportunities. “
  • “We notice what we choose to notice.”
  • “Who gets to decide what you want?”

Greatness

  • “Art is what we’re doing when we do our best work.”
  • “Be personal. Be relevant. Be specific.”
  • “Becoming a superstar takes about 10,000 hours of hard work.”
  • “Doing justice to the work is your task, not setting a world record. “
  • “Go ahead, do something impossible.”
  • “If there isn’t a good reason, go home. If there is, then do something … loud, now, and memorable.”
  • “Positive thinking is hard. Worth it, though.”
  • “Tribes makes our lives better, and leading a tribe is the best life of all. “
  • “When kids grow up wanting to be you, you matter.”
  • “When the legacy you leave behind lasts for hours, days or a lifetime, you matter.”
  • “When the room brightens when you walk in, you matter.”
  • “When you see the world as it is, but insist on making it more like it could be, you matter.”
  • “You are not your resume, you are your work. “
  • “You can’t shrink your way to greatness! “

Ideas

  • “Are you a serial idea-starting person? The goal is to be an idea-shipping person. “
  • “Big ideas are little ideas that no-one killed too soon. “
  • “Ideas in secret die. They need light and air or they starve to death. “
  • “No organization ever created an innovation. People innovate, not companies.”
  • “There’s no correlation between how good your idea is and how likely your organization will be to embrace it. “
  • “You can’t have good ideas unless you’re willing to generate a lot of bad ones.”

Leadership / Management

  • “Are you a serial idea-starting person? The goal is to be an idea-shipping person. “
  • “If you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader. “
  • “Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead.”
  • “Leadership on the other hand, is about creating change you believe in.”
  • “’Teamwork’ is the word that bosses use when they actually mean ‘Do what I say’”
  • “The easiest thing is to react. The second easiest thing is to respond. But the hardest thing is to initiate. – When people ask you to tell them what to do, resist.”

Marketing

  • “Advertising is just a symptom, a tactic. Marketing is about far more than that.”
  • “Bullhorns are overrated: having ten times as many Twitter followers generates approximately zero times as much value. “
  • “But this is a remarkable egg, an egg worth talking about, an egg worth crossing the street for, an egg worth writing about. “
  • “Good marketers measure. “
  • “Good marketers tell stories. “
  • “If you can’t make money from attention, you should do something else for a living. “
  • “If you can’t sell to 1 in 1000, why market to a million? “
  • “If you’re a marketer who doesn’t know how to invent, design, influence, adapt, and ultimately discard products, then you’re no longer a marketer. You’re deadwood.“
  • “Low price is a great way to sell a commodity. That’s not marketing though, that’s efficiency.”
  • “Market-driven design builds the success of the product’s marketing into the product itself.”
  • “Marketing is the way your people answer the phone, the typesetting on your bills and your return policy.”
  • “Marketing management is now tribal leadership. “
  • “Most of the time, creative entrepreneurs lose interest long before their marketing message loses its power. “
  • “People don’t believe what you tell them. They rarely believe what you show them. They often believe what their friends tell them. They always believe what they tell themselves. “
  • “People rarely buy what they need. They buy what they want.”
  • “Perhaps marketing is about to transition to a new kind of profession, one that requires insight, dedication and smarts. “
  • “Relying too much on proof distracts you from the real mission–which is emotional connection.”
  • “Selling to people who actually want to hear from you is more effective than interrupting strangers who don’t. “
  • “The best marketing strategy is to destroy your industry before your competition does. “
  • “The reason it seems that price is all your customers care about is that you haven’t given them anything else to care about. “
  • “Why waste a sentence saying nothing? “
  • “You can win with consistent benefits, delivered over time. You win by incrementally earning share, attention and trust.”

Mediocrity / Status Quo

  • “’Good enough’ stopped being good enough a long time ago. so why not be great? “
  • “If you make a difference, people will gravitate to you. They want to engage, to interact and to get you more involved.”
  • “It’s uncomfortable to challenge the status quo.”
  • “It’s uncomfortable to resist the urge to settle.”
  • “In our desire to please everyone, it’s very easy to end up being invisible or mediocre.”
  • “Once you free yourself from the need for perfect acceptance, it’s a lot easier to launch work that matters.”
  • “Successful people are the ones who are breaking the rules. “
  • “The reason they want you to fit in… is that once you do, then they can ignore you.
  • “The status quo is leaving the building, and quickly.”
  • “You can raise the bar or you can wait for others to raise it, but it’s getting raised regardless. “
  • “You don’t have to settle. It’s a choice you get to make every day.”

Passion

  • “If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do work that matters, this is it.”
  • “If you have no wish, how can it possibly come true? “

Relationships

  • “A long walk and calm conversation are an incredible combination if you want to build a bridge.”
  • “Be with the ones you love (and the ones that love you.) Ignore everyone else.”
  • “You can be right or you can have empathy. You can’t do both.”

Strategy

  • “Don’t have any meetings about your web strategy. Just do stuff. First you have to fail, then you can improve. “
  • “Put aside your need for a step-by-step manual and instead realize that analogies are your best friend.“
  • “The scalable, profitable strategy is to change the game, not to become the most average.”

Seth Godin Books
Here is a roundup of Seth Godin books you migh enjoy:

My Related Posts

Photo by jurvetson.

12 Comments on "Seth Godin Quotes"

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  1. gaurav Jain says:

    hi,
    i tried hard, even pulled out most of my remaining hair but coudn’t get the profound meaning of the quote – “If you could do tomorrow over again, would you?”

    if you could explain it over again, would you? ;)
    thanks.

    PS: a phenomenal collection. seth godin is not just a management guru…. he is a life guru !

  2. JD says:

    @ Gaurav — My take is that it’s a play on the idea that we always wish we had a do over.

    Well, tomorrow hasn’t happened yet. Will it be the day you want it to be, or will it be yet another day that you wish you could do over? What if instead, we got intentional, and made the most of our tomorrow through a little bit of mindful planning, and clarity of what we want … and then actually do it when the opportunity of tomorrow presents itself.

    Yes, I like when people blend work and life, and live their values. I think work is a great place for self-expression and an arena for growth and greatness.

  3. Deeone says:

    Good day, JD!

    Man, you loaded this post with some goodies, bud! I had read a couple of Seth’s well known quotes, but had no idea that he had so much awesomeness available. I couldn’t even begin to pick a favorite one here… they’re all great! Thanks for sharing these, bud. Also thanks for stopping by my site to introduce yourself; I’m glad you did. Otherwise, I would’ve missed out on this awesome post!

    All the best to you, JD! I shall indeed be returning back to see more from you. :)

  4. JD says:

    @ Deeone — Thank you.

    Yes, Seth has a way to make an old song sound new, as well as shine the light on the right things with a new or interesting twist.

  5. I LOVE reading Seth Godin! I must have 10 of his books and they’re some of the only ones I will read the WEEK it comes out. Love this: “Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.”

  6. Thanks so much for this collection, JD! No wonder Seth Godin is such a powerhouse — he’s just filled with wisdom! And I love how lists of quotes can speak to us in different ways. At this point in time, my favorite is: “Don’t try to please everyone. There are countless people who don’t want one, haven’t heard of one or actively hate it. So what?” That means a lot to me because I was taking social media and others’ reactions too seriously!

  7. JD says:

    @ Bryan — He makes reading a pleasure with his precision and twists with words.

    @ Samantha — I think that’s the real power of quotes. Just like a powerful song, it’s an input, but ultimately we make it meaningful to our situation, and it can be a great inspiration.

  8. Hilary says:

    Hi JD .. He’s always worth reading .. he’s pithy and relevant and can jab you in the ribs to jog your memory … Pithy and Pertinent .. practises what he preaches ..

    Cheers – Hilary

  9. JD says:

    @ Hilary — Perfect phrasing … pithy and pertinent!

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