Daydreaming with Seth Godin – All Marketers Are Liars, part 5
The table of contents for the whole series is here.
This is the fifth part of daydreaming with discussions about Seth Godin‘s bestseller book “All marketers are liars”. Have a look at the previous part where Seth Godin says how stories in sales make wonders.
Disclaimer: Everything written is this post is not true, or better to say, it is a story. Please believe it or not on your own risk.
Me: Raah, long time ago I heard that you have great chances to succeed if you are special. You may be special good or special bad. Just don’t be average and mediocre. I indeed believe so. And I’d say that Seth Godin says something the same – be outstanding, and if you don’t have any advantage, just make one up.
Raah: I guess you got it right.
Me: Yes, but he promotes this way of behavior so intensively, that sometimes it seems that it goes out of a decent sense boundaries.
Raah: He makes his stories this way and he’s become quite famous and successful.
Me: That’s fine. But he has become also someone whom people are listening to, they believe him as a guide.
Raah: Seth helps people to succeed. What is wrong with it?
Me: Nothing wrong with helping people to succeed. Don’t get me wrong. But in my opinion, Set is opening only a part of what should be opened in his stories. He preaches and people listen to him. He should feel responsibility for what he preaches. If people really follow his advice and lie to each other even more than they used to, would it be a hypocrisy that will ruin healthy balance between stories and reality?
Raah: I guess you take is too seriously. Seth just teaches others how to be unique in the world of mediocrity. How to make better living by good marketing and be successful. He is focusing on it and he is doing it well.
Me: That is all great. But behind the money and success there should be some responsibility, I repeat my idea again. Seth is in charge of transforming people’s minds, since he has power to do so. Therefore, as I believe, he must carry this load of responsibility and make sure he makes good not evil.
Raah: Woah. I know you love going to extremes and talking about the highest metaphysical or even religious categories such as evil and good. But are you sure that you know what they are?
Me: I believe this topic is worth a separate in-depth discussion. But in very simplified words I would say that everyone should consider the following. If your words became a law that the whole universe would be committed to, would it be something that will make the world better?
Raah: Well, then I don’t see anything wrong here in Seth’s advice to lie to each other to profit. People will become more artistic and more successful.
Me: Think further. When no boundaries are set for lie and the only criteria of lie is how successful you can become lying, then it will make the world turn into a terrible place to live where there is no place for honesty and sincerity.
Raah: Probably the world is already such a place. Anyway, why do you think there will be no more such merits?
Me: Simply because they do not bring as much money as deliberately made story.
Raah: Okay, I can also speak about deep stuff. Do you really know what honesty is? And do people really want it? Is a person honest with anyone and himself or herself inclusive? People are actors, they play roles and there is nothing wrong with it.
Me: That’s fine with roles. The bad thing is that Seth offers only those roles which help make money and not much words from him about being a good person. If he payed more attention to it, I think he would be much more valuable author to read.
Raah: But why should he do what you say? He is focusing on the aspects of making selling stories and how they help people perform outstandingly. Why do you demand anything above it from him?
Me: I will repeat my point of view. Just because he is influential author and has a power over masses transforming their minds, he really alters the world, if you want. So he must then consider the effect he makes. It is not only about selling, it is about relationship between people that matters when you go to far in making your stories.
Raah: I guess you demand too much from Seth. He can not be an all-in-one teacher.
Me: In my opinion, apart from giving best selling advice founded on lie, Seth Godin should not just justify lie but also draw a distinctive line between selling lie and healthy truth. Otherwise there is nothing left but selling stories. The concept of world where the basis is selling everything to everyone is not good. Not everything should be sold. It’s a lame that everything in our world seems to have a price literally in money, including health (consider medical insurance plans), love (think of how picky are some people are preferring a richer person to feel in love with) etc. That’s my opinion.
Raah: Well, I agree that it takes place but I guess you are exaggerating it a bit. It is not that overwhelming to take place with each and every person. At least yet.
Me: At least yet. And as I see it Seth is pushing it.
Raah: So do you suggest anything specific?
Me: I am not Seth, but if I were him I would emphasize balancing lie with responsibility keeping in mind that everyone participates in changing the world.
Raah: That was not very specific. Anyway, why should a single person think about changing the world? The idea is simple for most people – as long as you are not rich as a king you should think first of yourself. And let the state law balance and manage the changing of the world.
Me: I have a great fear that the state law is not tha thing that can care about balancing and making a world a better place. And since there is no a really good sheriff over there the whole world is going to a catastrophe.
Raah: That’s impressive, Michael! Little stories that help people make some more sales will lead in your opinion to a world collapse. Bravo!
Me: Just think on a larger scale and you will not be so sarcastic.
Raah: Let’s roll on but closer to a point now. What are the quotes from Seth for today?
Me: Alright. Here you go. I’ve read a lot of marketing tips about showing off your product’s benefit, not features. And Seth Godin gos further and says that neither features or benefits, but stories are what are spread from person to person.
Raah: Don’t you agree?
Me: Why? I do. Even if someone is talking about features or benefits they turn it into a story.
Raah: I lie you agree. What’s next?
Me: Seth defines good stories that make people successful. He says that a great story is true; and it is true not because it is factual, but because it is consistent and authentic.
Raah: Sound like an absolute new definition of truth.
Me: And this time I just can not accept this. Remembering my mathematical studies I can say that Seth is making or describing a new space with new basis, or in human language – a new reality with new basic rules. Seth is pushing a freaking world like one in Lewis Carroll’s book about Alice in Wonderland.
Raah: Nice. And don’t forget you live in this world. Although you say you’d be happy to change it. By the way, when lie and stories become a natural part of life I thought of Jasmine in the Country of Liars by Gianni Rodari.
Me: Yeah! Good one.
Raah: Well, just assume that Seth is playing with meaning of truth to make his own story more authentic.
Me: Alright, let it be so. Another phrase that I’ve picked out is that great stories make promises, which should be bold and audacious and not just very good – it should be exceptional or it is not worth listening to.
Raah: Sounds quite solid for a highly competitive market.
Me: I’d agree here.
Raah: You agree again. Don’t believe it!
Me: Ha-ha. Yeah, my idea is not to oppose Seth in everything, but just underline where it goes too far in my opinion.
Raah: Yep, for example, you oppose in strategic things like long-term consequences of lying and you adhere to the principle of teaching people to be good not just successful.
Me: Right, also thinking of where it will lead to as a large scale effect. And yes, being a good person is more important that to be a successful one in my system of values. Better to be both of course.
Raah: By the way, very interesting and not simple as it may seem the question about what good means.
Me: We don’t need to sink into the analysis what good means for now, but everyone understands more or less what it is. And what is very remarkable is that Seth Godin washes off the distinction line between good, bad, lie or truth. That’s unforgivable.
Raah: You are awful in your judgments sometimes.
Me: I know, thank you.
Raah: And what if you are totally mistaken about Seth’s ideas.
Me: I would be happy if I am. Alright, let’s call it. So here is the portion of ideas from Seth we discussed:
– Stories (not ideas, not features, not beneﬁts) are what spread from person to person.
– A great story is true. Not true because it’s factual, but true because it’s consistent and authentic.
– Great stories make a promise, which should be bold and audacious and not just very good — it should be exceptional or it’s not worth listening to.
…to be continued. In the next post we will be talking about trust and manipulation.
Please feel free to share your thoughts about this post. Do you think each individual person should feel responsibility for altering the world or it is just the business for mighty people?