Seth’s Blog: Viral growth trumps lots of faux followers

Viralgrowth

Many brands and idea promoters are in a hurry to rack up as many Facebook fans and Twitter followers as they possibly can. Hundreds of thousands if possible.

A lot of these fans and followers are faux. Sunny day friends. In one experiment I did, 200,000 followers led to 25 clickthroughs. Ouch.

Check out the graph on the left. The curves represent different ideas and different starting points. If you start with 10,000 fans and have an idea that on average nets .8 new people per generation, that means that 10,000 people will pass it on to 8000 people, and then 6400 people, etc. That’s yellow on the graph. Pretty soon, it dies out.

On the other hand, if you start with 100 people (99% less!) and the idea is twice as good (1.5 net passalong) it doesn’t take long before you overtake the other plan.  (the green). That’s not even including the compounding of new people getting you people.

But wait! If your idea is just a little more viral, a 1.7 passalong, wow, huge results. Infinity, here we come. That’s the purple (of course.)

A slightly better idea defeats a much bigger but disconnected user base every time.

The lesson: spend your time coming up with better ideas, not with more (faux) followers.

It isn’t often I completely copy a whole article from Seth Godin, but to be fair, this one is pretty damn good. Reminds me of the old golfing cliche, driving is for show, putting is for dough…

Seth’s Blog: Random rules for ideas worth spreading

Random rules for ideas worth spreading

If you’ve got an idea worth spreading, I hope you’ll consider this random assortment of rules. Like all rules, some are made to be broken, but still…

  • You can name your idea anything you like, but a google-friendly name is always better than one that isn’t.
  • Don’t plan on appearing on a reality show as the best way to launch your idea.
  • Waiting for inspiration is another way of saying that you’re stalling. You don’t wait for inspiration, you command it to appear.
  • Don’t poll your friends. It’s your art, not an election.
  • Never pay a non-lawyer who promises to get you a patent.
  • Avoid powerful people. Great ideas aren’t anointed, they spread through a groundswell of support.
  • Spamming strangers doesn’t work. Spamming friends doesn’t work so well either, but it’s certainly better than spamming strangers.
  • The hard part is finishing, so enjoy the starting part.
  • Powerful organizations adore the status quo, so expect no help from them if your idea challenges the very thing they adore.
  • Figure out how long your idea will take to spread, and multiply by 4.
  • Be prepared for the Dip.
  • Seek out apostles, not partners. People who benefit from spreading your idea, not people who need to own it.
  • Keep your overhead low and don’t quit your day job until your idea can absorb your time.
  • Think big. Bigger than that.
  • Are you a serial idea-starting person? If so, what can you change to end that cycle? The goal is to be an idea-shipping person.
  • Try not to confuse confidence with delusion.
  • Prefer dry, useful but dull ideas to consumer-friendly ‘I would buy that’ sort of things. A lot less competition and a lot more upside in the long run.
  • Pick a budget. Pick a ship date. Honor both. Don’t ignore either. No slippage, no overruns.
  • Surround yourself with encouraging voices and incisive critics. It’s okay if they’re not the same people. Ignore both camps on occasion.
  • Be grateful.
  • Rise up to the opportunity, and do the idea justice.

Shamelessly sharing the latest Seth post. If you don’t follow him by now, why not?!

Seth Godin, a genius – synopsis of the 16 emails in my inbox

A synopsis of the gazillion Seth Godin emails in my inbox…

  • Don’t be afraid to be fast to market – make decisions quickly!
  • Free is good – if you believe in your product, give it to people to try.
  • The customer is right – forget about them and it will all come crashing down.
  • Marketing speaks to the irrational mind.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
  • You can concentrate too hard on polishing
  • Too much data distracts from gut feeling – use your emotions
  • Assume things are going to change – get over it!
  • People remember how you react when things are going badly.
  • Competition is good – make sure you do something to stand out
  • Books change lives
  • We need lynchpins
  • “A new true fan is worth 1000 times more than a mollified critic”

Now, I have probably completely misquoted Seth, so visit his blog for true insight! www.sethgodin.typepad.com

Summary of Seth Godin posts…with links!

Morning all!
I have spent half an hour this morning reading my back-log of Seth Godin posts. Being a backlog is a good thing, shows I am busy, and what he says is important!  He provides clarity and insight at every turn!
Here are some highlights of the posts I read, with links to each – my favourite is the last one!

If you’re a willing cog in the vast machinery of work, it’s entirely possible that the things that occur all day feel like they’re being done to you.

Seth’s Blog: How to lose an argument online

  1. Have an argument. Once you start an argument, not a discussion, you’ve already lost. Think about it: have you ever changed your mind because someone online started yelling at you? They might get you to shut up, but it’s unlikely they’ve actually changed your opinion.
  2. Forget the pitfalls of Godwin’s law. Any time you mention Hitler or even Communist China or Bill O’Reilly, you’ve lost.
  3. Use faulty analogies. If someone is trying to make a point about, say, health care, try to make an analogy to something conceptually unrelated, like the space shuttle program, and you’ve lost.
  4. Question motives. The best way to get someone annoyed and then have them ignore you is to bypass any thoughtful discussion of facts and instead question what’s in it for the person on the other end. Make assumptions about their motivations and lose their respect.
  5. Act anonymously. What are the chances that heckled comments from the bleachers will have an impact?
  6. Threaten to take action in another venue. Insist that this will come back to haunt the other person. Guarantee you will spread the word or stop purchasing.
  7. Bring up the slippery slope. Actually, the slope isn’t that slippery. People don’t end up marrying dogs, becoming cannibals or harvesting organs because of changes in organization, technology or law.
  8. Go to the edges. This is a variant of the slippery slope, in which you bring up extremes at either end of whatever spectrum is being discussed.

So, what works?

Earn a reputation. Have a conversation. Ask questions. Describe possible outcomes of a point of view. Make connections. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Align objectives then describe a better outcome. Show up. Smile.