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Christmas Card Spam

Call me scrooge if you want to, but I can’t help but notice a new trend. Call it Christmas Card Spam.

Christmas cards used to be handwritten and thoughtful. They took a lot of time and were thus sent just to people who actually wanted to receive them.

Then the professional printers stepped in and Christmas cards became a bulk item. Businesses get them by the hundreds. Even ordinary folk can count on dozens of cards every year. You might not wanted to get a Christmas card from your Xerox machine service guy, but hey, it only took a second to chuck it. More important, the cost of the card and the stamp made it prohibitively expensive for the Xerox guy to send 1,000 or 4,000 cards.

Today, thanks to the zero-cost nature of email, the equation has been completely reversed. The cost to the sender of a card is essentially zero. The cost to the recipient, however, is significant. This stupid snowman card (who, exactly, is Telemak and why are they writing to me?) took about 20 seconds to receive via my DSL connection. Watching my email take five or six minutes is enough to induce Dickensian feelings, for sure. Telemak must have sent 10,000 cards… costing the recipients about 50 hours of download time.

So, one more treasured tradition trashed by new media.

Happy Holidays!

Pope on!

This is what permission marketing gone wireless looks like:

2 new seminars!

Write down the dates (or not, because, of course, you can always look them up here…)

January 8–for non profits
January 28–for everyone

You can see some testimonials about my seminars here:
Purple Cow by Seth Godin: Workshops

I don’t do consulting, and there’s no sales pitch here–I’ve got nothing more to sell you. The goal of the seminar is to put you in a room with like-minded people and to really push to create practical breakthroughs that you can turn into action.

The seminars have the following structure:
10 to 12:30–I summarize my thinking on how ideas spread, on permission and on Purple Cows.
During lunch, we do a lot of one on one interactions
1:15 to 3–We take turns reviewing your website, your mission, your marketing message, etc. No holds barred. Really and truly.
3 to 4:30–I talk about my new book (out in May) and we go even deeper into your particular issues.

The goal is that by the end you’ve got the same tools I do, so you can analyze your own organization without my help.

At the first seminar, on the 8th of January, I’ll be running a non-profits only seminar in my office in Dobbs Ferry, NY (about 40 minutes from NYC). This seminar is free and there are only 33 seats available. If you run or have a great deal of influence at a non-profit organization, I’m inviting you to come spend the day in my loft. Because it’s free, you sort of need to apply by sending me a note. Write to sethgodin@yahoo.com and use the word TRANSFORM in your subject line. Click here for mail. Tell me what you do and how this might help you. I apologize in advance if I can’t fit in everyone. It’s nothing personal!

At the second seminar, on the 28th of January, we’ll also convene in my office. This event costs $1,000. You can bring a co-worker at no charge. There’s a 100% money back guarantee… if you don’t think it was worth it, just ask and I’ll refund your money. (This is have never happened before, by the way). If you’d like to come to this one, write to me at sethgodin@yahoo.com and use the word PRACTICAL in your subject line. Click here for mail It’ll probably sell out, so you should hurry.

When you write to me, I’ll probably send you a link to an infoblog that will answer most of your questions.

This new washer is even colored purple

I’m pleased with the deliberate way that Dyson is systematically reinventing stuff we figured was stuck forever.
Dyson UK – The CRO1 range.

End of the year lists

Ten best this, 99 top that…

Fifteen years ago, I was nominated for an American Film Institute Award for “Best Kid’s Entertainment/Game Video”. Flew out to California, wore a tux and everything. I was up against Kukla Fran and Ollie (actually it was Sherie Lewis and Lambchop, but you get the idea). The prize was a neat statue, awarded by the two hosts, Gary Coleman and Bruce Jenner.

No I’m not making this up.

They got to my award. The spotlights spun around.

I lost.

To a sock.

I was heartbroken. I swore never to enter anything ever again.

All, a long way to saying that John Moore picked Purple Cow as the best Marketing book of the year.

Makes up for a lot of socks. Fast Company Now

Coming up for air

Just finished a book and produced a play (the 4th grade musical!). Final performance is Wednesday.

After that, I’m going to post two seminars in January and one in February… first come first served. Keep your eyes peeled.

Thanks for your patience during this output drought.


How to get a Purple job

this just in (names changed):

Mr. Godin,

I am writing to share a “remarkable” Purple Cow success. Several months ago
I was laid off. Although my job search process was very good (i.e. ordinary)
it was not achieving the desired results. After hearing you speak in
Atlanta I realized I needed to create a “Purple Cow.” My first step was to choose
the company I wanted to work for and develop a strategy for creating my unique
cow. During the due diligence, I found a blank greeting card that simple
stated “Dare To Be Remarkable.” Bill Wilson was gracious enough to provide me
with a signed copy of your book (as I couldn’t part with mine – you signed it
outside of 103 West), and the process began. I sent the attached letter,
with resume, and a hand written note using the greeting card to my potential

Within a week, the first phone interview. At this time he hadn’t read “
Purple Cow” but appreciated the creative approach. During the next interview, we
met face to face. His copy of the book had notes everywhere! The entire
interview was predicated on your book. We incorporated our discussion of my
qualifications into our discussion of your remarkable book.

When he called to offer me the job, he shared with me he was having a sales
meeting and there was required reading – he had purchased 25 copies of “Purple

Thanks to your book, I have found a unique way to communicate with others.
In addition, I have developed a highly effective “Purple Cow” elevator speech.

In recapping your book, those on the other side of the desk lean forward as
I describe to them the essence of your remarkable work.

Furthermore, “Purple Cow” is contagious. By my recommendation, my brother
read it and distributed it to his entire management team. A friend read it and
has given at least 8 copies to colleagues and prospects. I have shared my
approach with other friends in the job market, and it is working for them, too.
Through both physical distribution and recommendation of your book it is in
the hands of many top organizations. To name a few: BP Amoco, Gold’s Gym,
Pierre Foods, Maritz, Inc., a former CEO and current Senatorial candidate,
Starbucks, and many more….

Thank you for helping me help others create their own “Purple Cows” and earn
a position with a Global 50 company.


Tom Jacobs

I hesitated to post this, but I figure you’ll undestand I did it to inspire, not to take credit! Seth

Been looking for my Fast Company columns?

A little harder to find with the new search engine.

Here are most of them, for free, in one place:
Fast Company | Seth Godin

I had a dream…

…about McDonalds.

In the old days, of course, they were purple. They were remarkable. They were unique.


They offered food that was consistent nationwide, no one else did.
The offered national advertising, no one else did.
They offered a limited menu of wide-appeal food with a high-fat mouth feel aimed at the masses. No one else did.
They offered a quick, low investment eating experience. No one else did.

The point is that the rules keep changing. Today’s purple cow is tomorrow’s mad cow.

It’s hard to stay remarkable. It won’t just happen for you. Invest or watch it go away.

I thought about this when I was making a zebra cake from Famous chocolate wafer crackers and cream. Sure, it’s a cool retro Proustian dessert. But no way I’d want to be THAT brand manager. The glory days for this product are long, long gone, and no amount of wishing will bring them back. Famous? Not any more.

Disagreeing with myself

…on resolution.

As Ensight – Jeremy C. Wright points out on his blog, my advice is for sites trying to reach the mass market.

Of course, you shouldn’t be trying to reach the mass market, should you?

Now, if your niche is, say, poodle lovers, then the advice stands. But if your market is IT folks or active online researchers or Mac users, it’s a different story.

In general, if you’re trying to reach everyone, you’ll reach no one.

If your slice of the market is horizontal relatively to technology, then my initial thought stands.