Seth Godin on Oxymorons

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.

For me, this fits into the same category as Seth’s Secret Cliche Weapon. It’s a cool trick to get attention. It’s a quick way of setting and breaking a pattern.

I have a little more to say, after this.

Every single article about podcasting mentions Adam Curry (which makes sense, since it was his idea). And every article ever written about Adam Curry mentions that he was once an MTV video jockey (we’re talking almost 100,000 Google results). For no good reason.

And, every single article about Google (until recently) included the phrase “And employees eat lunch in a cafeteria where the food is prepared by a former chef for the Grateful Dead” (we’re talking 25,600 matches.) For no good reason.

What they have in common is pretty obvious: oxymorons. It’s a jarring juxtaposition of facts that no one expects but is pretty easy to remember. Oxymorons make it easy to tell stories. Do you have one?

Small Is The New Big (2006) – Seth Godin

When I’m talking about the power of stories with my previous business, I sometimes say something like this.

We never marketed ourselves. No cold calls. No advertising. No sales team. But by the the time I sold the business in 2018, we had clients around the world.

That’s a gentle Oxymoron … the juxtaposition of unexpected facts.

I’ve never thought about it until the very moment I am typing this, but the name of my company … and this website … is a gentle Oxymoron. Stories Mean Business.

Hell yeah.

If you are looking for more examples, here’s a list to get you thinking in the right way.

  • act naturally
  • calculated risk
  • controlled chaos
  • crisis management
  • deafening silence
  • friendly fire
  • genuine imitation
  • intense apathy
  • limited freedom
  • liquid gas
  • open secret
  • organised chaos
  • passive-aggressive
  • plastic glasses
  • science fiction
  • think out loud
  • tough love
  • unbiased opinion
  • virtual reality
  • young adult

See Also:

On ArtOn Assets | On Attention | On Cliche | On Your Story | On Tension |  On True Lies



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