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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

Finding the Dip in the cell phone market

Tim Cook, Apple COO:

The traditional way that all of us were taught in business school to
look at a market was you look at the products you are selling, you look
at the price bands that are in the market, you think of the price band
that you product is in and assume you can get a percentage of it, and
that’s how you get this addressable market. That kind of analysis
doesn’t make really great products. The iPod would not have been
brought to market if we had looked it that way. How many $399 music
players were being sold at that time? Today the cell phone industry, a
lot of people pay $0 for the cell phone. Guess why? That’s what its
worth! If we offer something that has tremendous value that is sort of
this thing that people didn’t have in their consciousness, it was not
imaginable… I think there are a bunch of people that will pay $499 or
$599 and our target is clearly to hit 10 million and I would guess some
of those people are paying $0 because its worth $0 and willing to pay a
bit more because its worth more.

Short version: creating the best cell phone in the world required being willing to charge for it. And if you can make a cell phone worth charging for, people will pay it. Apple’s Dip was working their way through a barrier (charging) that no one has felt willing to make such a huge bet on before.

The Dip

“Delightful!” …The Financial Times

The first review of The Dip in the mainstream media was from Richard Pachter in the Miami Herald. Given the short length of the book, his ‘review’ was more like half a sentence (Richard promises a complete review soon). But it was a very nice half sentence. Now we have a longer review from the ironic management columnist Lucy Kellaway. (Reg. required). Here’s what she really said,

"This double attack from two friends laid me low for a bit, but I now have the ideal weapon with which to fight back. I’ve been sent a proof copy of a delightfully slim new book by Seth Godin called The Dip – A little book that teaches you when to quit (and when to stick). Godin’s theory is that quitting is a vital part of success. The worst thing any of us can do is to try to be well rounded people: he urges us to concentrate all efforts on the things we are going to win at, and quit everything else."

So maybe the only delightful part was the width of the book, but it’s better than, say, "annoying…" or "plagiarized…"

The Dip

The relentless rush to be mediocre

That’s what my book is really about. Or, to be a lot more positive about it, it’s about avoiding temptation and gravity and becoming the best in the world.

I’m amazed at how quickly people will stand up and defend not just the status quo but the inevitability of it. We’ve been taught since forever that the world needs joiners and followers, not just leaders. We’ve been taught that fitting in is far better than standing out, and that good enough is good enough.

Which might have been fine in a company town, but doesn’t work so well in a winner-take-all world. Now, the benefits that accrue to someone who is the best in the world are orders of magnitude greater than the crumbs they save for the average. No matter how hard working the average may be.

I’ve never met anyone… anyone… who needed to settle for being average. Best is a slot that’s available to everyone, somewhere.

The Dip

Welcome to The Dip

I was doing email permission marketing long before Al Gore even had a chance to invent the Internet. In the late 1990s, email was an incredibly powerful tool. In fact, it wasn’t unusual to get a 50% response rate to a well-created piece of mail delivered with permission to the right person at the right time.

Which is why I stopped. Without a large team, I just couldn’t do justice to the responses an email would generate. If 100 or 1,000 people take the time to write to me, I figure I ought to be able to take the time to write back.

So, with some trepidation, I’m trying an experiment. This blog is equipped with a feature that allows you to be updated by email. Once a week until my book comes out in May, I’ll be posting on this site. I’ll be writing about:

  • What’s the book’s about
  • How to win a free autographed copy
  • A new sort of speaking tour
  • How I’m marketing the book
  • How the book can work for your organization

Feel free to sign up for the email alerts or for the RSS feed. Or not.

I just hope you’ll try to avoid the temptation to hit ‘reply’ to every post! Or at least forgive me if I don’t get back to you right away. The last thing I want to do is waste your time or abuse your trust.

And thanks for reading.

(Amazon and BN both have the book listing up).