Seth Godin?

So yesterday afternoon I was honored as one of the recipients of the 2011 Washington Irving Book Awards, paying tribute to Westchester, N.Y.-based authors. I’m not one who values/covets awards, because I don’t think writing and trophies/certificates/etc have much to do with one another. But, that being said, it was an extremely cool event. Sat alongside some absolutely Grade-A scribes, including Jonathan Tropper, Marilyn Johnson, Joe Queenan and James Bradley. The whole two-hour event was writers talking writing, which I always dig. Love hearing stories of the craft; the struggle; etc … etc.

Anyhow, the keynote speaker was someone named Seth Godin. I was sorta surprised to hear this because, well, I’d never heard of the man. Tropper, Johnson, Queenan, Bradley—all huge. Godin? Uh … not so sure. Googled him, found this. He’s a marketer who writes books.*

Anyhow, during his address, to a room packed with librarians, Godin made some, well, odd statements:

• He said Wikipedia is “better than most of your encyclopedias.” (Yeah, if you wanna depend on findings that are, oh, 20% untrue)

• He called the staff at Netflix “better librarians than you,” because they know all your likes, habits and history.

• “Libraries will die in seven years,” Godin predicted, though librarians would still be required to “clueless people clues.”

Again, I don’t know Seth Godin. Don’t know what he’s like, what he does, what he writes. I also don’t 100 percent agree about libraries. They won’t be dead, but they need to continue to evolve and adjust to digital implementations. What I disagree with, however, is being invited to speak to a group, and going out of your way to insult the people there. Just strikes me as an odd approach.

Oh, well.


* I’ve since been told that Seth Godin is huge, and I need to leave the house. Ha.

4 thoughts on “Seth Godin?”

  1. Hey Jeff,

    I’m on the marketing industry (online marketing to be more descriptive) and I read a few of Seth Godin’s books. As an author on marketing, he’s pretty compelling. Not so much specifics but it gets you thinking on how to better your marketing practices “thinking outside the box” so to say. I think the point of his speech above was to get the audience thinking of how to adapt/change their career. It seem like he got your attention (main job of a marketer).

  2. There was a fairly well-publicized study that showed that Wikipedia is actually a more factually-correct and thorough source than Encyclopedia Brittanica.

    I basically agree with Godin that libraries in the current form are doomed. Once upon a time, libraries were at the vanguard of information technology but they have been surpassed thanks to lack of funding and, more importantly librarians’ own myopia and pig-headedness.

    I do agree with your broader point about civility, however.

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