In this episode of Masters of Community, we speak with Seth Godin, Founder of the altMBA, prolific blogger, bestselling author, and pioneer of the concept of community. Long before community was considered the new moat, Seth was at the forefront of what it means to turn a scattering of followers into a mission-oriented community. In this fireside chat, David and Seth discuss the importance of community and why it must be at the center of all company operations. They also discuss what it means to make a community authentic and knowing when to “trim the fat” - i.e. let go of members whose vision doesn’t align with that of the community. This episode also includes key insights on how marketing specialists don’t understand their community and basic principles of diversity and inclusion in communities. Who is this episode for? Beginners, professionals, and leaders in the community and diversity and inclusion spaces. Three key takeaways: 1. Why care for the community?: The collective decision-making power of people in a community is more persuasive than any advertisement and is even more pronounced in virtual communities. If you create irreplaceable value, the community naturally becomes a part of members’ network, and - by extension - your brand becomes a part of their life. Building a highly engaged community is about finding what connects people in your tribe together. Don’t forget to use empathy to implement the guardrails around principles and the purpose in which the community first came into existence. 2. Making a community authentic: Consistent authentic experiences that become the character of the community is often more important than the authenticity of its members. All communities change as they grow in size. Community leaders have to be intentional about this change because their choices in these growing times reflect their leadership abilities. 3. Community vs marketing: Marketing is about telling true stories that spread and change people’s opinions or actions. The more you empower your community in different ways, the more likely your marketing efforts will show results. Many marketing specialists do not understand their community. Their tribe is either non-existent or is completely different from what they imagine it to be. Spend time understanding your tribe so that you can effectively engage them and grow the group into a community - profitable or otherwise. Notable Quotes: 1. “The only time people complain about hierarchy and power dynamics is when the boat isn't going, where they told the boat was going to...Where we get into trouble is when people commit to a journey and then all of a sudden a power-hungry leader takes it somewhere else” 2. “Leadership involves saying, this is where I'm going. Who wants to [come]?” 3. “Everyone in the company works for the head of the community. The way you answer the phone, your pricing, or… who you're hiring, your DEI strategy, all of these things that prove to the head of the community because if there is no community, there is no company.” 4. “Generosity doesn't mean free, generosity doesn't mean lowering the price of what you do or giving it away. Generosity means showing up with emotional labor to do difficult work.” 5. “Most of the time most organizations need to find the humility to say, oh yeah, there's a community out there. How can we feed it? Because if we feed it, we will learn permission. Permission will get us attention. Attention will get us [the] trust and trust will get us the benefit of the doubt, which will give us a chance to do it again.” 6. “If you make a thing, service, or product that lends itself to a community that already exists, they will probably welcome you, but don't get hung up on owning and operating the platform. Because if you do that, you only have a tiny fraction of those people.” 7. “If you build a community where people talk to other people in ways that are hurting. In ways that undermine their ability to contribute because of their background, you are not actually succeeding at why you set up the community.” Answers to rapid-fire questions: 1. Where do you buy your glasses? Franny's Fabulous, Mascot. 2. What's the most impactful book you've ever read or a book that you love to give as a gift to others? The Art of Possibility and The War of Art. 3. Your go-to community engagement, tactic, or conversation starter that you like to use in your communities? “What led to you being who you are or how did you get this job?” 4. Who in the world of community would you most like to take out for lunch? The disciples who figured out how to go from being a tiny sect to a worldwide religion. 5. What's a community product that you wish existed? A way to let people who are being patient know that they might be onto something. 6. What's something that you wish more people asked you? “How can I put myself on the hook?” 7. What's the worst mess you've ever had to clean up? Sent wrong emails to a client’s email list twice and the client threatened to have them arrested. 8. The weirdest community you've ever been a part of? The balloon animal community and the mascots. Answers to audience questions: 1. Which title is better - Community Leader vs Community Manager? Internally in the company, the title “Community Leader” provides more visibility and credibility with regard to the community. Within the community, it doesn’t matter much. 2. What are your three favorite podcasts right now? 99% Invisible, The Moment, The Ministry for the Future (Audiobook). 3. With regards to diversity and inclusion, how do you know who’s “on the wrong boat”? When someone constantly speaks against the cause of the community in a way that their personal thought starts to undercut the purpose of the community, they are on the wrong boat. 4. What are your best directions when cleaning up the community space or revamping it and rolling those kinds of changes out to new members? Read books like Crossing the Chasm: and Diffusion of Innovations.
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