I remember it as clear as the computer is in front of me right now: reading Slashdot comments of an article slamming Microsoft in the winter holiday of 2007 and one person mentioned having just completed Meatball Sundae, the latest book by marketing genius Seth Godin.

"What a frikkin weird title for a marketing book", I thought. What sort of marketer comes up with nonsense like that?

So my first encounter with Seth's portfolio was "Meatball Sundae" - a tremendous collection of rules for new age marketing using the Internet and the permission of people. After reading the book I went on to create a few 'microburst' web apps that drew a lot of very short-term attention (>1m unique hits in a single week) around an infant Twitter. A book had created a maniac. It felt like a ton of pent up energy was beginning to blast out in to the world.

When "Tribes" released I was one of the first in line to buy it. This became the book that gave me the mindset and ambition (and, to be honest, the balls) that eventually led to me moving up from a Product Manager role to a Vice President in the same company in less than a year. Yes, I am completely aware that I'm attributing significant professional success to a single book and this was absolutely the case. I've since went on to read a further seven books in Seth's back catalog.

However, these are not just books. I now read (or mostly listen to) at least one non-fiction book a week and yet I keep gravitating back to Linchpin, Small is the New Big, Tribes, Purple Cow and the weirdly titled Meatball Sundae. They pick me up. They untangle the knots of frustration and confusion when I fall back into being a cog in a machine. They give me the kick up the ass I frequently need. I buy these books as gifts for others in the hope that they gain the same willpower and push that I do from them.

Seth, sir, you have changed the way an engineer approaches the world and that engineer is now doing some incredible things for himself and the people around him. In sharing gifts with people who need them I have come to love the value and warmth of personal connections. That's a tough change for an engineer whose role is usually to stay far away from the front end of any business.

Thank you for continuing to do what you do. It is genuinely appreciated more each day as we collectively change the world.

Happy Birthday!


So, what's my best advice? Build an asset. Large numbers of influential people who read your blog or read your emails or watch your TV show or love your restaurant or or or... Then, put your idea into a format where it will spread fast. That could be an ebook (a free one) or a pamphlet (a cheap one--the Joy of Jello sold millions and millions of copies at a dollar or less). Then, if your idea catches on, you can sell the souvenir edition. The book. The thing people keep on their shelf or lend out or get from the library. Books are wonderful (I own too many!) but they're not necessarily the best vessel for spreading your idea. And the punchline, of course, is that if you do all these things, you won't need a publisher. And that's exactly when a publisher will want you! That's the sort of author publishers do the best with.