The ability of billions of people to create and spread their own version of culture is something brand new.
What’s it about?
Seth Godin argues that the age of mass marketing is over and the explosion of communication channels means we all have a chance to find our people (tribe) and market to them. Anyone can lead a movement as long as they find their tribe and offer them something valuable.
We are All Weird:
- Human beings prefer to organize in tribes, into groups of people who share a leader or a culture or a definition of normal. The digital revolution has enabled silos of tribes to come together in groups that outsiders think weird.
- The mass market didn’t always exist. In 1918, there were 2,000 car companies in the US. Prior to that markets were even more local. Standardization and television created the mass market. The internet and social media has returned us ‘back to normal.’
- The new normal gives us more information, more choice, more freedom, and more interaction. Combined with rich world wealth, this means we develop hobbies and idiosyncratic preferences and seek out people who share them.
- Western culture has encouraged conformity and the idea of normal. School encourages certain lifestyles. Manufacturers encourage everyone to find a mainstream hobby and buy mainstream supplies. Music companies and book publishers sold only mainstream products.
- Now there are millions and millions of new markets. Each specific. The efficiency of focusing on these markets makes up for their lack of size. 20% of 1 million is better than 1% of 10 (million).
- People are searching for connection more than consumption. Selling today revolves around making that connection.
Amplified creation, marketing efficiency, and the support of tribes, then, are pushing toward one outcome: we’re getting weirder. Mass is withering. The only things pushing against this trend are the factory mind-set and the cultural bias towards compliance.
The revolution that we’re living through has many facets, and a profound and overlooked one is that mass is not the center any longer. Us and not-us is a dead end.
Our culture in now a collection of tribes, and each tribe is a community of interests, many of whom get along, some who don’t.
The forces for normal include: Big Media, Manufactures, Franchises, Large Service Firms.
The forces for weird include: wealth, media choice, shopping choice, and the human spirit.
Take Away Points and Context
- The ability of billions of people to create and spread their own version of culture is something brand new, something that will make the changes of the last decade look trivial.
- The opportunity lies in being the one the weird seek out. This means you must be weird as well.
- Research reports that the ability to be weird, the freedom to make choices, and the ability to be heard correlates to happiness. This is the same around the world, regardless of race or geography.
This is my own review of We are all Weird, for more on this topic and other subjects see www.mattmcginty.net, or see the book below.
We are All Weird: The Rise of Tribes and the End of Normal
by Seth Godin
Portfolio Penguin, 103 pp, $5.02.
We are All Weird. Your comments welcome below.