“Do something difficult”

There are times were Seth Godin sounds like any other marketing 2.0 consultant. And there are times where he’s just brilliant.

From the Wired/TED interview, this is one of the brilliant times:

Wired: You’ve said that a tribe doesn’t have to be encouraged to connect, they want to connect with each other. And that you as the person in the center aren’t required to do anything.

SG: That part’s not true. It requires you to do a great deal. But what you don’t need to do is sell people on the fact that they want to connect. That’s human nature. We want to connect with like-minded people. What you have to do that’s very difficult is create the platform –- whether it’s a cocktail party or a technology -– where people can get over social friction, where people can make connections that would ordinarily feel awkward. So why does TED as a conference work? It works because after traveling all that way and paying all that money, it’s expected that you will join the TED tribe. Whereas if the TED conference didn’t exist and you just called people on the list and said why don’t 20 of us get together for coffee, that would be a weird phone call to make…. That’s part of what it means to make a movement – do something difficult to overcome the social friction.

I really can’t say it any better than that.

Seth Godin: Blow up your Home Page

The general 30,000 foot view from Seth Godin:

The problem with home page thinking is that it’s a crutch. There’s nothing wrong with an index, nothing wrong with a page for newbies, nothing wrong with a place that makes a first impression when you get the chance to control that encounter. But it’s not your ‘home’. It’s not what the surfer/user wants, and when it doesn’t match, they flee.

You don’t need one home page. You need a hundred or a thousand. And they’re all just as important.

On the practical side? Realize that the reason why no one is happy with your homepage is that you are sending everybody to the same page. Start deep-linking people in, whenever possible.

Send newbies to the index. Send the daily visitors to the news feed. Send the people to whom you sent your last marketing campaign to a page constructed particularly for them.

When someone says “I couldn’t find that from your homepage,” investigate the obvious question: how did they get stuck going to the homepage in the first place?