Club Reviews: WE ARE ALL WEIRD by Seth Godin

Saturday, December 17, 2011

We Are All Weird by Seth Godin.
In We Are All Weird, Seth Godin gives us a wake-up call to become aware of our changing society in case we haven't noticed it yet. Maybe that's what all the weird commercials and Lady Gaga are about!
The digital revolution has given people more interaction and more information than ever before resulting in more availability of choices and therefore more freedom to choose. There is no normal anymore!
With so many choices available, the bell curve has changed its shape to  where it seems to be melting. Although there continues to be a push for normal wholesale compliance, it seems to be not working anymore. If you cater to the normal, you disappoint the weird as the world gets weirder. Everything that is not normal is weird which means a choice has been made to stand up for your belief to have or  do what you want rather than what the market wants. You can dare to be weird using creative out - of - the - box ideas.
The same old stuff doesn't get noticed anymore!
Mr. Godin encourages awareness of the changing society in order that we are able to try to keep up with it all whether we like it or not. His book is an education in itself! Margot Byrnes, Miami

In a word - Weird: The idea that the forces of individuality (the Weird in all of us) are on the rise seems reasonable and is a very convincing explanation in theory, to the reactions many feel to the mass distribution solutions and monoculture copies of products that used to be made locally with quality.                                                                                                                                         
The push-back to a power of individual expression and “weird power” has some limitations though, and may not be original enough to overcome the restraints imposed upon what’s come to be called  “your brand”; the  conventional expression and communication method.
Even the chaos of spontaneous evaluation by internet feed-back,  that Godin and other gurus favor, (cue Al Gore’s – Assault on Reason book here) may not be enough to antidote the case made by mass managed sales of  “what is normal”;  that pushes us to conformity.
The truth of the product evaluations that we can “dig for” on the internet, can be so obscured by the economic force of the marketing machine, that your shopping choices are not getting to the consumers equally, let alone guaranteeing equal access to the products that result.
It can be very time consuming to sort it all out.  The thing missed in Godin’s case to “Get ready for the “weird”;  is not so much that the product or idea sells itself, but that the marketing tipping point is dictated by the realities of convenience (as well as price and other concerns) that makes the sale.  We have a hard time joining a group consensus that is under-represented in real time or time zones away.
When convenience is factored in, the educated consumer may not be given the time to make honest choices. The minority “weird” solution is just too inconvenient.    Look at all the plastic, so-called disposables, that we settle for, only to throw away; is this because to select the alternative weird idea as a way to problem solve (say go green) wouldn’t be practical?  And even more so, the weird would fail so fast, if it meant fighting the “wired consensus”  that defines  a norm or conformity.   So we do the best with the givens, the common denomintors i.e. the normal solutions;  because convenience is worth plenty, and it sells. Jim Swaner, Miami Shores, FL

This book takes a look at how mass marketing  worked through the medium of television  and radio in the 1950’s and 60’s, and then through example shows us how that kind of marketing isn’t working as well today. In the fifties and sixties everyone watch the same TV shows and listened to the same ‘Top Forty’ radio shows and mass marketing to the people who fit into the ‘normal’ on a bell curve worked.
Today everyone wants to ‘live’ their dream, be it some obscure cultural thing or just to let their ‘freak flag wave’.  The internet has certainly been a driving force where anyone can find a group, or as Seth calls them a ‘tribe’, that anyone call associate with. 
Therefore businesses that want to reach those people have to market to them specifically.
My favorite quote in the book: “Everyone hates advertising in general, but we love advertising in particular”. Tom Hinz, Blue Lake, CA

Particularly us baby boomers and those who came after us.  Being different and being out of the box made our generation and the ones that followed even more.  Marketing today is finding niches and doing them well.  Some niches will remain just that but others will find a tipping point that takes them to being the next "apple".  Good read for anyone coming out of business school or thinking of starting a business to get them to sit down and think what markets are not being targeted and creating business models to fulfill those markets..  Paul Bartoletti

Godin strikes me as a guy who has probably run out of material.  I'm assuming he ever had any.  I never saw Seinfeld much, but I understand that it was devised as a show about nothing.  In that sense, it was a scam.  I'm also reminded of the politically correct way some people handle younger children who compete in something.  Everyone gets a prize.  Or the concept of the "personal best."  You don't have to be the best.  You don't even have to be any good.  You just have to do better than you did before, and you can feel like you somehow won something.  You're a champ.  On the cheap.  Godin offers us a meaningless song and dance, which, like Seinfeld, is about nothing.  He plays with the reader.  He takes a man with not a pot to piss in, and calls him "rich," because the man could choose to piss in one bush or another.  The choosing makes him "rich."  I have no idea what the "retail" price of Godin's book is.  It was a small book, less than 100 pages, but close, with the aid of small pages, big print, and plenty of spaces.  My copy cost $5.  It was too much. Fred Jonas, Miami

 This book grabbed my attention from the beginning.  Made me think about how much I really need in the way of outside things.  I realyzed how sucked into he mass I had become and realized it's okay to be weird and have my own likes, dislikes, and opinions.  This well written book has brought an awareness of my surroundings when shopping and helped me make wiser buying decisions.
Deborah Harris, Hallandale Beach

This book presents, basically, one message, with several variations on the theme: The mass market is dead, and the quirky, individualistic interests of smaller groups are coming to the fore. The way Godin portrays it reminds me of descriptions of the death of the dinosaurs and the subsequent rise of the small mammals that always scurried around in their shadow on the forest floor. Godin’s vision of people who share values and obsessions now banding together into informal yet powerful “tribes” empowered by technology is an intriguing, even seductive one.
However, the way this theme is developed becomes somewhat repetitive after awhile. I was also put off by what struck me as a somewhat smug tone in Godin’s insistence that the new normal is being subverted into a lack of any sort of consensual normality at all.
The ability of technology to allow us to pursue our obsessions and connect with others who share them is indeed an amazing sea change in our culture. But, overall, I remain skeptical of some of Godin’s conclusions. It seems like a tenuous leap to assume that, despite the examples Godin musters to make his point, you can easily transform these brave-new-world capabilities for self-expression and connection into a viable living, let alone a fortune. After all, the Justin Biebers and Cee Lo’s of the world remain the exception. All in all, to my mind, a reasonably provocative but patchy thesis that probably would have been better conveyed as an essay. Barbara Pierce

A weird book! It's a jumble of thoughts, with no beginning, middle or end. Godin repeats himself often, sometimes stressing nonsense ("our fond memories of a normal that never existed').  
His main point is that everyone is weird and there is no longer any mainstream culture. I totally disagree. 
His other point is that the internet has changed personal interactions/communication in society, worldwide. I agree. Ann Nagy

I'm so sorry, but I am having a severe mental block when it comes to Seth's book and cannot, for the life of me, write a review of it.  I even read it twice, and found it totally useless, boring and a rehash of what anyone in business should already know.  On the other hand, I loved Derek's book.  It was refreshing and honest and gave great hope to me--my son is starting a website of his own in the next month (and yes, I am the investor and stockholder). Debbie Kowalsky

At first I was a bit curious about the title of the book but as soon as I jumped into reading it I was particularly intrigued by the subject he covers since I work for a marketing intelligence company and I focus on the segmentation of these "weird" tribes.
I was excited to receive Seth's book but was a little disappointed after reading it. I found the book to be a compilation of blog posts or something he just put together quickly. I am a big fan of Seth so I felt let down. However, I found Derek's book to be very captivating. He ran a company that no business school would mimic. But his unconventional style resulted in tremendous success and I found it refreshing. His honesty and ability to admit his massive mistakes made him more real and extremely likable. I enjoyed it. Greg Alexander 

"Average is for marketers who don't have enough information to be accurate", I thought this line was on point because many corporations are seeking to stay average and they continue marketing to the masses because they truly don't have the information and insight to do the "weird-targeting" approach accurately.
I appreciate the list of the so-called weird tribes he shows as an example on page 86 and how he asks: "When your tribe is no longer the majority, then what?".  The rapidly growing weird tribes have become the new mainstream ranging from Hispanics to Asians and from Cross-fitters to marathoners.  Needless to say, I enjoyed the book. David Mesas, Miami

I found this book very interesting and enlightening.   I enjoyed how he took the time to defiine four key words that sets the stage in understanding the rest of the book.  Mr. Godin does a great job in putting into prospective, what I've come to realize and that is that we are controled by the "Masses" and don't give enough credit to the "Weird" in our lives.  Don't people realize that what is considered Normal today was looked upon as Weird yesturday.  I agree with the author, this is the end of the mass market and we are definetly all weird.  Instead of denying it, we should embrace our own individual weirdness and learn how to make it work for us instead of against us.  This is a thinking book, one that needs to be read more than once to truly grasp the thoughts, ideas, and reality that the author has attempted to communicate to his audience. Alex R. Camacho, Miami

(Seth) considers people to be Rich because they can afford to make choices (and) everything that is not normal is weird.  
in the beginning everything was sold, and developed for average people but the trend today is to capture the wierd.  the wierd is the new normal.  these are people who choose to be wierd. 
 you have to think out of the box and consider to cater to the wierd.  the internet has changed the way we do business.  we connect to one, two and many. 
Seth is correct.  The Internet has opened so many doors and made it easier for many to begin their own business.  They cater to everyone normal, weird and other.  the idea is to reach as many people as you can to make the money to expand your business.  The enternet has opened those doors but the customers are not labeled as weird.  They are younger and this is a new era.  The electronic age has created more choices.   Patricia Garcia, Miami

An admirer of Seth Godin and his Domino Project, I looked forward to this read.  But each time I picked it up after a long day of work, I couldn’t connect to…the weirdness.  By the first time I went to pick it up, I couldn’t find the book any where in our small apartment.  That should tell you something.  If I find it in the next 24 hours, I’ll try to finish and send you some more thoughts.   Ann Davison, Washington, DC

The world goes full circle.  Seth Godin remarks that before the Factories and Mass Production, there were small tribes and communities where everything was nearby.  Mass has allowed us to expand beyond those small communities.
Mass has it's pro's and con's. However in today's world of the Internet, close by could be China.  If you look at today's businesses you will see a lot of "home Internet based businesses" and people are making a decent to very abundant income.
Seth Godin, is on target and his book should be an eye opener for the world.  Entrepreneur businesses are on the rise. Sharon Wilson

I loved that both books were small (each can be read entirely on a short flight), but filled with great information.Although I enjoy reading and hearing anything Seth Godin has to say, I was left with wanting more information about how to apply what he was telling us in our own businesses. I would recommend this book to anyone responsible for defining the marketing strategy for their company and wanting to understand the characteristics of today’s marketplace, but without the expectation of anything more than that.  Elena Suarez, Miami

How nice to receive both books at the same time!  I’m a semi-entrepreneur, and I could see the same mind-think with both Godin and Siver.
Heck!  I’ve KNOWN I’ve been weird (I.e., not in that bell-curve 68% of the population) in a lot of things, and Seth Godin’s book had me re-affirming and CELEBRATING the fact!  Pretty “weird” of Godin to have a book cover that looked just as good inside-out, too!
Derek Sivers reiterates info I’d read many years ago – “Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow” (Marsha Sinetar, 1987, Dell Publishing).  I gravitated toward education, and the money never DID follow – but then again, I’m only in my mid-60’s now…  and who knows WHAT the future will bring.   Main thing is, as both authors stressed, to love what you’re doing, and not to be afraid to take chances along the way.
Lastly, this is my first experience with the Domino Project, powered by Amazon.  I’ll be checking out their website for more updates. Betty G Hubschman, Miramar, FL

I’ve never read a Seth Godin book that I didn’t like and WeAre All Weird is no exception. In fact, I think this small, easy-to-read,easy-to-explain-to-others book is one of his best. Godin explains thedifference between marketing (and selling) to the masses versus marketing andselling to the fringes—or, to use his term, to the weird. Throughout the book,Godin gives examples of how and why being “weird” is good and how “weirdness”equates with “happiness.” As he states, “…researchers report that the abilityto be weird, the freedom to make choices, and the ability to be heard are thefactors most highly correlated with happiness around the world.” I feel likehis book has given me to okay to be weird and learn how to get weirder. Susan Taslimi, Parkland

It’s been 20 years since the philosophy espoused by Seth appeared on my radar screen. I was happy that someone had begun to justify my actions as a manager! No one has written about weird as well as Seth. Almost all of the ideas can be applied to any human activity. One caution, though, is that if the weirdness reflects destructive deviance a person or tribe ought to think differently about their supposed contribution. The other thing worth cautioning about is that when a tribe has adopted something they have actually created a “new” normal even if the tribe is only a few thousand people. The small numbers may make them feel weird, but their togetherness will reflect common expectations. I love weird because it shows that there is growth around us which is a good sign for us.
Kudos to Seth and Sivers. Quick reads with lots to act upon. Bob Preziosi, Davie Florida

I've read a few of Seth Godin's book and they seem to have one thing in common: he's masterful at taking something right under our noses, analyzing it, extrapolating it across a broader horizon and then creating a context for that which we'd never before questioned. It's a gift, really. He's prescient and extremely convincing, yet once I read his books, I can hardly remember any details. Perhaps that's because the author's presentation of ideas is so seamless that I fully digest and incorporate them into my thought pattern and they immediately become the fabric of my new outlook. Part of his mastery with language is that the paradigm shift happens without the reader feeling like he/she is getting a lesson. His writing method is instructive, but not didactic. Godin instead takes the reader along with his thought process so how he arrived at his conclusion is clearly understood. One way he does this is by explaining the various markets: mass; normal; weird and rich and then uses simple, yet profound examples to drive a point home: weird in one place does not make for weird in another: being a vegetarian in Kansas is weird, but not in Mombai.
Godin's book is a testament in defense of weird and is a diatribe against marketers forcing everyone into a "universal normal merely to sell junk to the masses." Most of us have never questioned the mass market because there was no real alternative before the Internet. I like his seemingly simple approach. This quote sums up "We are All Weird's" message: "The challenge of your future is to do productive and useful work for and by and with the tribe that cares about you." Kathy Doran, Miami

Godin's latest book delivered good concise insight into the changes business, marketing, and society is currently undertaking. 
Good read for a short flight, wish it had a little more material. J. Reynolds, Fort Lauderdale


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