Seth Godin on Humans

This is part of the Seth Godin on Story wiki. Check out my chat with Seth, dig deeper into the art and science of business storytelling.

When I ran the web agency – especially in the later years – we paid a LOT of attention to the numbers. How many visitors? How long did they stay? How many ‘converted’ to customers? Where did the rest drop out of our carefully crafted funnels?

You get the idea.

But there’s a problem with analytics in general. We keep mistaking the ‘what happened’ for the ‘why it happened’.

Humans are complicated. When we treat them as numbers, everyone loses.

Human beings, left to their own devices, don’t act like robots or rational computers. We don’t all do the same things, and we don’t do things for the same reasons. Given enough choices, we’ll make choices. Not always the one the spreadsheet says — just the one that feels right to us.

Given an authentic story that matches our worldview, we’ll believe it. And given the chance to speak up, we’ll do that — loudly and often.

Meatball Sundae (2008) – Seth Godin

Many consumers have decided to spend their money buying things that aren’t factory-produced commodities. And they’ve decided not to spend their time embracing off-the-shelf ideas. Consumers have decided, instead, to spend time and money on fashion, on stories, on things that matter…

Tribes (2008) – Seth Godin

Doesn’t matter what you market. Human beings want:

  • Totems and Icons
  • Meters (put a real-time mpg or CO2 meter in every car and watch what happens)
  • Fashion
  • Stories
  •  and pictures

Ninety-five percent of the new ideas that don’t Spread—even though their founders and fans believe they should—fail because of the list above.

Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck?: And Other Provocations (2013) – Seth Godin

“People pay a premium for a story, every time”

Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck?: And Other Provocations (2013) – Seth Godin

The Market Is Not Seduced by Logic

People are moved by stories and drama and hints and clues and discovery. Logic is a battering ram, one that might work if your case is overwhelming. Walmart won by logic (cheap!), but you probably won’t.

Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck?: And Other Provocations (2013) – Seth Godin

Throughout this book, we’ll return to this essential question: “Who’s it for?” It has a subtle but magic power, the ability to shift the product you make, the story you tell, and where you tell it. Once you’re clear on “who it’s for,” then doors begin to open for you.

This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See (2018) – Seth Godin

See Also:

On Authenticity | On AverageOn Challenging YourselfOn Ideaviriuses | On Intangibles | On LeadershipOn MarketingOn Mythology |  On Strategy | On Your Story | On Tension |  On True Lies



Or choose a path towards stories that mean business.

At the wheel
The FREE email course

Explore the art and science of business storytelling. The rabbit hole goes way deeper than you think.

The Library in Prague
The Glossary
100+ Storytelling Concepts

The Business Storytelling Glossary lists the concepts, ideas and definitions that use in my work. Your mileage will vary.

Your Origin Story
1 week. 8 Emails. $150 + tax.

Learn to tell Your Origin Story with my simple, proven process.

Learn about the Course.