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Fresh Thinking with Seth Godin

"Change is the great opportunity maker." 

2016 was pretty crazy, and not just from a political standpoint. So in an effort to change mindsets and think differently about marketing in 2017, I invited Seth Godin to come on my podcast show and talk about where he sees the world, where opportunity lies, and how to think about this coming year with optimism – or as Seth calls it, realism.

As most of you probably know, Seth Godin is a bestselling author, marketer and entrepreneur. He’s written 18 books, including LinchpinTribesThe Dip and Purple Cow. He also published an 800-page collection of his writings What Does It Sound Like When You Change Your Mind, which covers things Seth likes to write about, like the post-industrial revolution, how ideas spread, marketing, the workplace, leadership and change. His newest book What To Do When It's Your Turn is another bestseller. Seth also founded Yoyodyne and Squidoo, and his blog is one of the most popular in the world. He was inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame in 2013.

As always, Seth is philosophical and practical, a ray of light and prosperity.

“Every day we get a chance to step up and make things better,” he said.

Our conversation started with a discussion about how the connection economy has created “a revolution and opportunities” as fast as its “undoing the vestiges of the industrial revolution.”

“If you’re a travel agent, it doesn’t look like all the changes are a good idea, because travel agents are disappearing. And if you’re a radiologist, it doesn’t look like all these innovations are a good idea, because computers can read x-rays almost as well as you can and soon better.”

“But change is the great opportunity maker,” said Seth.

We discussed fake news, a problem that came to a head during the recent US election.

“Fake news is directly related to the fact that advertisers stopped buying quality and started buying tonnage. And it’s directly related to the fact that media darlings like Twitter are based on anonymity, which no civilized culture has ever been based on.”

“And if we care, we can stop both,” said Seth. “Media companies can buy (like MailChimp does) podcasts they like, and not try and follow somebody around the internet based on who they are and what they did. And what we can do as citizens, as investors, as media companies, is stop buying media that involves anonymous people yelling at each other. We can stop buying ads in places where media companies are willing to do anything to make a buck.”

His passion made me think about when I first met Seth, which was around the time of his great book Permission Marketing in 1999, and how a lot of the issues we discussed here were resolved in that book.

So, why do they persist?

You'll have to listen to the podcast to find out. Check it out here.

Mitch Joel is President of Mirum Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @mitchjoel.