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The Dip

Ten years ago, in 2007, I published a book called The Dip. I chronicled much of the launch and some of the lessons of the book in this limited-edition blog.

Since its publication, it has sold hundreds of thousands of copies around the world. It was a NY Times bestseller for four weeks, and people tell me that page for page, it changed them more than any other book I’ve written.

I’ve kept the blog as is, a time capsule of that idea, one that still resonates…

This is my blog about my new book, The Dip.

Updates and news and riffs are on the posts below. A podcast, here. The charts are here.

The Dip

Open Table powers through a Dip

Open Table is an online reservations service. It’s free to use and the restaurant pays a dollar per diner. The company has raised more than 20 million dollars to date. (original Times story).

During the company’s first three years, they booked a million diners (in total). Now, they book two million every single month. Five years ago, they had 1,000 restaurants to choose from, now they have 7,000.

That’s what it looks like when you get through the Dip. They’re a superstar, the only choice.

How did they know it was a Dip and not a dead end? Because they were selling to an entire market, not just one restaurant (Chez Panisse still isn’t a customer). By measuring incremental progress, they could see that the corner was just ahead.

(And a Dip within a Dip–one happy client is Norma’s, a hyped breakfast restaurant in NY. Norma’s does huge business via Open Table, largely because they come up on top of the breakfast ‘bestseller’ list. Like most things that get through the Dip, they’re popular because they’re popular.)

The Dip

Critics and the Dip

Corven sends us to this Amazing Video.

Like every other person in the audience of this video, I found his performance stirring and even moving. But I was unsettled by a few things. First, that Cord, the blogger who posted the video, felt like the singer had no confidence. I completely disagree. Bad teeth doesn’t mean no confidence. His posture on stage makes it clear that he has completely mastered his craft.

But the real takeaway for me is how small-minded, snarky and downright mean the three judges are. Even (or especially) when they are surprised by his performance, they act as if they somehow deserve to sit in judgment of him.

They don’t. Critics rarely do.

The market is a harsh critic. It’s not always fair and it can be demoralizing. Fortunately for us, Paul ignored all of them until he had pushed through the Dip.

The Dip

“The New York Times bestseller”

Not sure why that matters, but it does.

Most great books never make the Times. Plenty of lousy books do. Still, the Dip made the business bestseller list in today’s paper, and will be #5 on the very tough-to-crack Hardcover advice list next week.

True story: When the Times switched from 10 books on the Hardcover list, they created a list of 15 Hardcovers and a list of 5 Advice, How To and Miscellaneous titles. I wrote in and asked the editor why they only had 5 titles on this list and 15 on the others. She wrote back and said,

"Because we don’t want people to read those books."

The Dip

Eleven minute podcast for eBay sellers

About the dip and the haystack and getting found. Ina did it.

The Dip

Q&A: Brandweek

A short interview about the Dip and brands: Q&A: Seth Godin Says ‘Know When To Bail’.

The Dip

A personal take on the Dip

The Dip

But are you really serious about it?

I did a gig in New York today about the Dip and it went really well. Afterward, someone asked me a question about his new business.

I asked back, "if you accomplish that, will you be seen by your audience as the best in the world, or will you be seen as doing your best?"

He didn’t have to answer. He got it.

If you’re doing your best, only your AYSO soccer coach cares. If you’re the best in the world, the market cares. The secret, if you have limited resources (don’t we all) is to make ‘world’ small enough that you can actually accomplish that.

The Dip

My favorite line from my favorite reviewer

Here’s what Richard Pachter wrote about the Dip today:

The one possible weakness of this otherwise terrific little volume is that it is aimed solely at people who are creative, intelligent and want to succeed. Those who are mediocre, unmotivated or just coasting through life will probably not get much from Godin. He is not an elitist, but his message is squarely aimed at those who want to succeed or at least achieve excellence.

The Dip

Beyond the Dip

Ernie really comes up with some winners here: Dips, Dead Ends, Joyrides, Lotteries, and Quests � iHack, therefore iBlog.

Here’s a taste:

Joyrides are things you do just for the fun of it, without caring if you’re getting anywhere. Seth himself said (roughly) that “if you play the flute just because you enjoy it, not because you’re trying to make a living as a flautist, then The Dip doesn’t matter.” It is worth noting that for some people college is Joyride, not a Dip!

Lotteries are a particularly seductive variant of Dead End that looks like a Dip, in that we periodically see people who do make it out into the Good Life.  Unlike a Dip, though, there is nothing we can do to ensure we make it through to the other side; we are at the mercy of external forces. Thus, even thought there is a non-zero chance we might win the Lottery, for most of us it really is a Dead End, and a complete waste of our potential for greatness. This is particularly true for Talent- (rather than Skill-) based disciplines, where the Lottery took place before we were born.

Quests, on the other hand, are Dips that look like Dead Ends. Seth encourages us to pursue Dips where we can make measurable progress towards a well-defined goal. However, he admits that this doesn’t apply to things like cutting-edge scientific research, where there there are no guarantees or guidelines; fortunately, he says people like that won’t be discouraged by anything he says in his book.  🙂

However, I think he overstates the case when he says Quests (like Crick & Watson’s search for DNA) don’t have measurable progress.  They do, but it is a matter of personal growth and accumulated wisdom, not the usual business metrics.  Even though we may not reach what we thought we were aiming for, a worthy Quest enobles us and ends up benefiting humanity.

The Dip

First riffs from the Dip Tour

Michigantheatre There's a million things I want to share about last week, but I may need to get some sleep first.

In the meantime, some things you might enjoy:

Utah recap (and a bonus)
Tempe, too
and the Valley.

More soon.

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