Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending Seth Godin‘s presentation in NYC on his new book, Tribes. This was my second Godin talk – I saw him in Philly two years ago when he released The Dip – and again, I was not disappointed. In fact, I walked out inspired, enthusiastic, and ready to take action. Seeing Seth speak does that for you. (So does reading his books!)
Seth doesn’t give your typical PowerPoint presentation. Sure, he has slides, but they are mainly pictures – images that complement the ideas he’s talking about. He’s quite the engaging speaker and you can tell from his first few words just how passionate he is about his message.
The audience was just as great. The event was a fairly small gathering of about 500 of us – many from the online Triiibes.com community we joined a few months ago – but attendees were just as enthusiastic about his ideas as he was. I met a number of great people throughout the event, each working to create their own “tribe,” which Godin defines as “any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea.”
The premise of the presentation was this – the internet has brought lots of people with similar interests and passions together. People can find like-minded individuals with just a Google search.
But bringing people together isn’t enough. Tribes need a leader, someone passionate about the idea who wants to help organize others to further the cause – whether that be to spread the word about a particular musician, idea, hobby, business concept, gadget or anything else you can think of.
You can find tribes around anything from the Grateful Dead and the iPhone to a political campaign, interest (wine enthusiasts, CrossFit members) or a cause (free Tibet, stop global warming, give business loans, etc).
Tribes can also be found in business organizations – those who actively campaign for change within their department, who aren’t content with the status quo and innovate rather than put up with outdated business models, or who aren’t afraid to speak up if something doesn’t seem quite right. Seth calls these people Heretics.
Heretics aren’t simply dissenters. They make it their mission, their purpose, to lead a movement to innovate and change. They find allies among like-minded individuals. And they work passionately to bring their ideas to the forefront. Sure, it may be scary. Sure, you may come up against resistance.
But it’s better than the alternative, what Seth calls “sheepwalking” or doing what you are told – even when you know what you do isn’t impactful or may actually be hurting the company (think of all the wasted money spent on ineffective advertising). Sheepwalkers don’t speak up because they are afraid of encountering resistance, of criticism or of being fired. These people do their jobs because it pays the bills – but doesn’t give them a sense of pride, satisfaction or challenge.
Yesterday, Seth encouraged us all to be heretics – to find something we’re passionate about and build a tribe around it. Then, it’s up to us to lead that movement and embrace the possibilities.
I highly recommend you check out his new book, Tribes, and if you ever have the opportunity to hear him speak, do so! I saw a few people recording the event, so if I find an audio/video link, I’ll add it. You can also download a free ebook written by members of the Triiibes community.