Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
April 26, 2012 2:21 PM

Dear Seth Godin

Dear Seth,

It was great to see you this week at The Art of Marketing event in Chicago. You're not only kind with the audience, but you're kind with your time and it's always a pleasure to both see you speak live (I tweeted out that, "I could watch Seth Godin speak a million times and never tire") and to spend time hanging out socially and just catching up. I'm not sure if I ever told you this, but I consider you a mentor (don't worry, no additional time or work required on your side of things).

I was first introduced to your work just prior to the launch of Permission Marketing (still, one of the best marketing books out there). At the time, you were giving a speech at one of the early Internet conferences (it could have been Internet World or a Jupiter Advertising Forum event in New York City, I can't remember). After watching you speak, I remember saying to myself, "I think he just said that marketing should be everything that I thought marketing should be." From there, I read your book, Survival Is Not Enough (I still think it's one of the best - and must underrated - business books out there). After that, the floodgates just opened up for me. I have read every single book that you have published. I often gift them to friends and colleagues.

I was trying to think of why you have had such an immense impact on me and it struck me like a bolt of lighting: you are a true incompatible. You see things your way and explain them in a very simple way that speaks less to what a business can do to manipulate someone to buy something, but much more from the standpoint of what is right and true. Along with that, I appreciate the fact that you don't just talk, posture and/or offer punditry, but that you actually live your words and ship projects. While I've never been a big Squidoo user, I read, promoted and still talk about each and every book you self-published on The Domino Project. As someone who spent over a decade in the music industry, I loved The Domino Project because it was like my favorite artist signing and releasing their favorite artists' music. It was (and still is) very exciting to me (I'm about to read Do The Work by Steven Pressfield for the umpteenth time).

Thank you, Seth. You have both helped me shape my thinking about marketing, business and leadership, but - more importantly - you've set a high benchmark for bringing integrity, creativity, originality and art into everything that I do. When people ask me what the best business book is for them to start thinking more progressively, I don't hesitate: it's Linchpin. I also want to thank you for being brave. Every so often, the online discourse about why you don't have comments on your blog pops up (it actually happened while we were having lunch during The Art of Marketing!). For the record, I'm glad that you don't have comments. Why? Because I'm just thankful to get a slice of your thinking several times a week (for free, no less!) while I wait (with bated breath) for your next book to come out. Before blogging, I'd sit around twiddling my thumbs waiting for your next book.

Lastly, I don't think I would have ever pursued public speaking without being so inspired by your presentation style (that includes everything from the mechanics of how you build your slides and work the stage to the way you tell stories, make people laugh and create a very human moment of true connections. There's a reason so many people consider you one of the best public speakers (and yes, I'm raising my hand on that one too).

I hope this note finds you well and that you keep on keeping on. I'll be here following, reading, doing and waiting for whatever it is that you're going to do next.

Warm regards,

Mitch

I was very moved by the book, Steal Like An Artist, by Austin Kleon. Especially the section titled, Write Fan Letters. The truth is that I used to always write a note to the author of the book that I had just finished. I guess I got too busy (or read to many books or became lazy) to keep at it. In Kleon's book, he recommends writing a public fan letter and ends the section by saying: "The most important thing is that you show your appreciation without expecting anything in return, and that you get new work out of the appreciation." It's a beautiful concept. With your permission, I'll be using this space from time to time to write these kinds of letters. Welcome to Project: Public Fan Letter. Feel free to do a few of them yourself.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Arjun Basu
    Mitch Joel

    Sorry Mitch. I don't get the cult of Seth Godin. And it is a cult. I feel his fans will swallow anything he dishes out now. I'm as unimpressed by Seth Godin as I am by Malcolm Gladwell.

    Reply
    • Arjun, you need a Snickers bar... you're not yourself when you're hungry ;)

      http://youtu.be/Ys0cmMiW6bI

      As for Seth. It's sincere... been following his work since day one. Do I love every new bit as much as the other? No. Cumulatively, it's an awesome body of work that any professional business person would be honoured to have as their own portfolio.

      Reply
  • Posted by Michael Assad
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch - I always think of you as "Canadian Seth Godin" :)

    Reply
  • Posted by Rich Laurie
    Rich Laurie

    Mitch great letter. I'd like to raise my hand as a Seth Godin fan. I too have read all his books and bought the Domino project books.

    I am also a fan of your work. I listen to your podcasts and read your blog. Your work has inspired me and provided insights that I can apply in what I do for the healthcare market.

    Thank you for what you do.

    Reply
    • Awww, thanks Rich... I'll count this as a public fan letter to me ;)

      Just kidding!

      Seriously, thanks for the kind words.

      Reply
      • Posted by Rich Laurie
        Rich Laurie

        Mitch - you can count it as a public fan letter, but had I known, I would have written more.

        I will be starting a blog (long overdue) shortly so perhaps I will write one there. I will certainly be crediting you for any inspiration I use for my own content as a result of your blog or podcasts.

        Rich

        Reply
  • Posted by Marc Ensign
    Mitch Joel

    Dear Mitch Joel,

    Ditto!

    Warm Regards,

    Marc Ensign

    Reply
  • Posted by Ian Greenleigh
    Mitch Joel

    I'm pretty young, and I've really only just begun familiarizing myself with Seth Godin's huge catalog. But I remember the first time it struck me how different he was. It was a MarketingProfs webinar. The topic was pretty generic, something like "do's and don'ts of blogging." I was taken by the fact by he refused to phone it in (figuratively), and his honesty was something one rarely sees in these kind of affairs. It was like schrodinger cat in that he included things like "allow comments" in both the do and don't columns. The audience was relentlessly asking for concrete, granular advice--but he refused to present blogging as some kind of formula.

    There's a certain integrity in that. I've been fortunate to be in contact with him from time to time, and his honesty has shone through in those interactions as well.

    Great letter, Mitch.

    Reply
  • Posted by sylvie Ouaknine
    Mitch Joel

    Hi, attended in 2011 Seth Godin conference in New York city on How to be a Linchpin. WOW, Seth is not only brillant, engaging but extremely generous with his audience. I was impressed by his endless energy which seemed to fed and stimulated by all of us.He walks the walk and talks the talk. he based on generosity captured my attention years ago with his book Tribe... Oh! yes, Marketing based on building communities of people who share the same common vision. Consumers are not data, but human beings with whom you have a conversation. A unit.

    Reply
  • Posted by Ricardo Bueno
    Mitch Joel

    I liked a lot of things about Austin's book, but this was one of my favorites as well. As for Seth, "Permission Marketing" to this day remains one of my all time favorite books and I still recommend it to others.

    Anyway, glad to hear you enjoyed "Steal Like an Artist" Mitch. Now go get Austin on your podcast if you haven't done so already :-)

    Reply
    • Hey Ricardo, please accept this as a formal apology: I'm sorry for not having mentioned that you were kind enough to send me the copy of Steal Like An Artist to read. My bad.

      Thanks again for sending it. I did enjoy it!

      Reply
  • Posted by Tracey Byrnes
    Mitch Joel

    What a wonderful idea, and kudos to you for stepping up and shipping Project: Public Fan Letter.

    Once again you've given me a helpful nudge; I need to start doing this myself.

    Reply
  • Posted by Pam McBride
    Mitch Joel

    Ditto on Michael Assad's comment. When I talk about Twist and about Mitch, which is often, I always respond to the "sad to say I don't know who that is" look with - he's considered the Canadian Seth Godin. That is big-time company to be in but I believe you live up to every inch of that comparison Mitch.

    Reply
  • Posted by Seth Godin
    Mitch Joel

    Funny, I often think of myself as the American Mitch Joel.

    Thanks, Mitch. That letter is a lot to live up to. I'll try.

    It means a lot.

    Reply
  • Posted by Joseph Ratlif
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch, this was a great post, and so true.

    Seth is truly a promoter of what I like to call "Integrity Marketing"... which is to say marketing that is natural, personal, and does not deceive.

    But your book, Six Pixels of Separation, actually pointed out the numerous possibilities of digital media... and for that I thank YOU... and wait impatiently for your next book.

    Reply
  • Posted by Scott Fox
    Mitch Joel

    This is great, Mitch.

    Seth's body of work is truly impressive and he's a nice guy, too.

    I guess that makes you, Seth, and Bruce Willis my 3 favorite white, bald action stars!

    Best,
    Scott

    Reply
  • Posted by Karen
    Mitch Joel

    I'm a big fan of both Seth Godin and Mitch Joel. I learn something from almost everything they write. Thanks to both of you for continuing to make me think about business in new ways.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    Ditto what Karen said. And I love Seth's comment:) Cheers! Kaarina

    Reply
  • Posted by LucasWilk
    Mitch Joel

    It's becoming 'uncool' to like Seth Godin, therefore he's becoming even more cool. I'm a big fan and will continue to be.

    Reply
  • Posted by Bob Moskovitz
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch...this is a terrific post so now it's my turn. I first saw you speak a couple of years ago at the National Retail Federation Conference. I'm a long time retailer turned marketer and your talk was mesmerizing. Everything you said about the digital space made perfect sense and became an important guide for me. I came to Toronto to hear you at the Art of Marketing and again at your book launch in NYC. I follow you on twitter and my day is better when your blog pops up on google reader. Your clear, concise, insightful thoughts about digital marketing is exciting and inspiring. I appreciate your work and your amazing diligence to those of us who ask for nothing but just keep getting more. Thank you for being a part of the conversation. It is greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    Not only have I read all Seth's books I have read all yours too Mitch..... :-)

    With both of you I have followed your work which has led me to others, I listen to a book a week on Audible and have listened to most of your guests from the podcast in the last two years. I found you via Seth, I first heard of Gary V when Seth wrote "Gary V is having a ball at a place called the Wine Library" , Steve Pressfield has been listened to many times (cheaper than therapy) and "Web in your blood" from your podcast with Avinash inspired our "Making social part of your DNA" event in Social Media Week London.
    Some of the best people in my network have come via #Linchpin Meet Up's - I could go on like this for 10 pages!!

    Thanks for everything so far Mitch :-)
    I

    Reply
  • Posted by Vikram
    Mitch Joel

    Thanks to you and Seth for inspiring people like me.

    One of the few people right now in the world where every blogpost is worth the wait and how ever long or short makes a powerful impact.

    It also helps us to think .

    Have never met both of you but have read all your books,would love to meet you guys if you are planning to come to London.

    Cheers
    Vikram

    Reply
  • Posted by Lanny
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch - Thanks for the post! I became "acquainted" with Tom Peters back in the 80's from "In Search of Excellence". It was, and probably still is, the most influential business book I've ever read. As a brand new blogger, the thoughts that Seth Godin and Tom have shared about the topic were eye opening and helped validate the work required to even start a blog...exhausting but worth it.
    Your blog is outstanding...thanks for providing consistently great design and content!
    -Lanny

    Reply
  • Posted by Prashant
    Prashant

    Agree 100%! I've been inspired by all of Seth's work ever since I first picked up a copy of PERMISSION MARKETING and THE PURPLE COW! It's an amazing body of work and narrative overall. Still to see Seth perform live but hoping it's not too far off. Very inspiring

    And a big fan of your work Mitch :)

    Cheers,

    Prashant

    Reply
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