Monday, 19 January 2009

The Love Affair is Over Seth

As you'll know from previous posts, for a long time I was a big fan of Seth Godin.

I've read [almost] all of his books, eulogised about him at lots of business conferences I've spoken at and I would guess promoted his book Purple Cow [my favourite] to a cumulative live audience of at least 10,000 British entrepreneurs at those events over the past couple of years.

Not to mention buying a copy of Purple Cow for every one of my mentoring clients, featuring Seth on my Blog etc. - plus I'd also invited him to be interviewed for my new TV project

Yet, in a private email exchange this morning, in response to his recent Blog post about Love (and Annoying) (which obviously annoyed him!) I received the most curtly rude and arrogant response.

So, Seth, this Post is to let you know that my love affair with you is now officially over!

I think it's the same sort of American arrogance that has seen George W Bush leave office as the most disliked US president on record (not to mention the damage done to the US brand) and was displayed by Dick Fuld as he nosedived Lehman brothers into the ground last year.

Let's hope Barack Obama brings back a sense of humility to the US people.


Paul said...

So has this e-mail exchange changed opinions of his work or ideas that you held prior?

Would be interesting to hear if you would still recommend reading his work now that you have been given this insight into his personality.

Rachel Elnaugh said...

I guess the point of the post Paul is that having a fan (whether you are a consumer brand or a personal brand) is a very wonderful - and valuable - thing.

As a marketeer, Seth should really have seen the value of me as his fan. After all, doesn't he talk about innovators, early adopters and sneezers as being key to spreading the word about a brand?

This is where rot sets in where brands get too big and/or too arrogant. They lose touch with the people who put them there in the first place - and suddenly find that consumers have fallen out of love with them.

I saw Celine Dion being interviewed on Biography channel and she was asked whether she resented her fans wanting autographs etc.. To which she replied: 'Of course not! How can I say to people buy my CD, buy my book, buy my concert ticket, then not have time for the people who put me here?'


Anonymous said...

A woman scorned...

You're right of course, he's being somewhat hypocritical. Mind you there's a lot of hypocrisy about on blogs at the moment...

Rachel Elnaugh TV eh? Is that entrepreneurial or simply trying to exploit your fading celebrity? Mind you we use the talents we have.


TheDLOG said...

Oi, Oi C, what fading celebrity?

Rachel will always be a celebrity.


Rachel Elnaugh said...

Hi C

Actually I'm busier than ever since my book was launched - plus Dragons' Den just went live on BBC America...

It would seem that a book about 'Business Nightmares' and how to survive them has captured the zeitgeist of the moment perfectly.

And migrating content onto a online TV platform would seem to be a perfectly entrepreneurial and much more dynamic way to communicate with the ever growing army of people who are thinking of launching into business.

It's one of the growth sectors I referred to in my other Post.


TheDLOG said...

And it seems your being re-screend on telly also, Dragons Den, Channel Dave, watched it at the weekend!!


Anonymous said...

As I said, we use the talents we have.

As I have said to Bradley, I think there is a huge market out there for would be entrepreneurs, most of whom won't venture beyond the comfort of their armchairs. Entrepreneurship is sexy (in no small part due to you) and thus a great market to be in.

I will stick to my manufacturing concerns. Its not as sexy perhaps but it sells a real product not an aspiration and makes money doing it.


Bradley Chapman said...

Hi Rachel

I will probably be the poorest Entrepreneur in terms of money to have ever to stood at the British Library main auditorium this Wednesday but let me tell you what i am rich in:-

As are you, I am rich in Love, I am rich in friends and I am Richest man in the world to have my two beautiful daughters (as every dad feels i am sure).

You have been my friend now for some time. I know only too well the emotional ups and downs that we face after having somethings that we have built through blood, sweat, tears and sheer dogged determination!

I have been in a class with you at the British Library when you spoke openly and passionately about Seth and like many other people that you have helped - you have done it without wanting anything in return.

I would not normally do this as you are my friend but i want to say something to you and i would really like you to hold on to it for a while....

"Come to the edge he said, do not be afraid and together we will fly"

One thing you said to me that has never gone away for the day you said it

"Never say Never"

Well i took that on board and on the 21st Jan I will fight for Entrepreneurs in more ways than most will know (but you do).

Now i am asking you to do the same. Enough of the past for both you and I, now is the time to build bridges and forge new relationships- Together!

I'm here i always have been ready for your call 07543 (you know the rest)..

Sometime we are strongest when we reach out. A good lady taught me that one cold April day when she first spoke to me on the phone.

Get in there and fight RE and make shit happen! No one can do it alone but you must focus all your positive energy on a positive outcome.

PS - Procrastination is the thief of time

I am as always, right here

Your Friend

Bradley Chapman said...

Mr C

Are you coming on Wednesday?

Regards Brad

TheDLOG said...

I am, heehee!!


Anonymous said...


Sadly not as I have to sign contracts with my lawyers who will no doubt pop open champagne at my expense!

Also, I fear my anomnimity would be jeopardised by my heckling!

Have fun without me.


Anonymous said...

Oh and I think Rachel would set security on me.


TheDLOG said...

Go on C come, i'll bring a bag for your wear over your head, then no one will know who you are heehee!!

Ok OK I'll wear one as well, then that will really through a spanner in the works.


Stephen said...

I called Seth a bald prick and then i realise i was being some old black hat so i apologised.

I don't know. Looks like to heros locking horns to me.

Sad, but true.

Mr A Dragon said...

This is an interesting post for me..


Because it seems that the way Rachel feels about Seth is exactly how I feel about her...

Its easy to see arrogance in others, but sometimes not so easy to see it in ourselves..

Why should Seth see the value in Rachel as a fan, isnt that arrogance in itself?

Of course VALUABLE customers are to be prized, but not all customers or fans are valuable..

Rachel Elnaugh said...

Yes but Mr A Dragon the big difference is, I have a big platform from which to promote third party brands, that endorsement is enhanced because I am not an overtly commercial brand/website.

If Seth suggests encouraging 'Sneezers' to promote marketing your brand then I am someone who had 'Godin Flu'.

I guess the only time you would want to switch a devotee fan like me off is a) you didn't need/care about the extra business it brought you or b) from an ethical view you didn't want to be associated with that endorsee brand.

My personal view is that it's a smart marketing strategy to encourage your fans - whoever they are and wherever they emerge from!

Unless of course, you feel you are so big you no longer need to give a shit!

Cautionary tale: Hubris to Nemesis - about RBS bank chief Sir Fred Goodwin - as per today's Times.


TheDLOG said...

Mr A Dragon, if a customer is not valuable then why have you got them as a customer?

Every customer is VALUABLE, it is the customer that keeps you/I/us in business is it not.

I value every customer, no matter how big or small they are. Each and every customer gets the same personal service.

And just for your own information, Rachel is deffinately not arrogant or rude in any shape or form, you are obviously getting mixed up with another Rachel.


Peter Cook said...

Slightly off topic Rachel, but:

Thanks so much for last nights event at the Brit Library.

Whilst I don’t generally take sides in disputes, its fair to say that the person who had a go at you during Q and A had no ground to stand on, having started a business to sell vinyl records. I think it’s been done before! ho, ho!

Good on you for putting her in her place with grace.

Don’t let the b…..ds grind you down!

All the best


p.s. Shame about Seth, but now time to move from Purple Cows to Purple Rain aka Rock'n'Roll. Did you see the film I made with Tim Smit?

TheDLOG said...

couldn't agree more Peter, it was a great night.

The thing with the heckler and others like her is that they are JEALOUS!!


Anonymous said...

Maybe the heckler from the back
WAS C! Weve all been assuming C is a he...and C could be an obnoxious she....

It was inspiring....watching Rachel flip into alpha-female mode - Chopping said lady down to size, a couple of jabs then a hook to the jaw!! - a haymaker that laid her out.

And then the amusing thing was the audience finished her off!

If words and looks could kill - there would have been a corpse.

One interesting sideshow of the evening was listening to the now successful furniture retailer - admitting that when he flipped from management consultant to entrepreneur - and then he realised he knew nothing about business!!! - it was only when he tried it for real the learning curve started for him.

Anonymous said...

Sadly I was not there to witness Rachel being an alpha female, something incidentally she has previously said she is not. I suspect when riled she reverts to type.


Anonymous said...

Just to reiterate, it was definately NOT C.

And no C, she just answered with true facts!!

Anonymous said...

I recognise that tautology; that's DLOG posting anonymously!

There is nothing wrong with Rachel becoming an alpha female when pushed as long as she isn't hypocritical about it. Surely the true measure of a person is how they react under pressure?


Anonymous said...

didn't look under pressure to me, answered quite honestly and truthfully.

any way i see the heckler as JEALOUS

who the hell is dlog??

TheDLOG said...

If you are going to remain anonymous I think I'll post under your name for a change.

Anwyay, repeating the comment JEALOUS suggests that being anonymous doesn't really suit you.


TheDLOG said...

C, why should I go anonymous, I have nothing to hide!!

2009 said...

What an interesting piece.

Dlog has nothing to hide dlog also sounds incredibly interesting does she/he not???

Seth seems strange i have looked at his website and it allows you to "click his head" - Nothing more to say

Cheers seth what a strange man in the way he responded to rachel....


Stephen said...

Seth Godin is one of the most influential white hat brands on the net. In fact he is constantly referred to as one of the top 5 marketers in the world.

Rachel is an ultrapreneur with a track record of beating all the odds to create one of the UK's most innovative "experiences marketplace".

As recession takes its toll, we will see the proliferation of the Globlisation agenda and the convergence from offline to online enterprise.

We need all the white hat minds we can get our hands on to ensure this transition is smooth and effective.

Suffice to say...

I really do hope they make up.

And Seth. If you think Rachel is insignificant - then you really are both wrong and dare i say.


TheDLOG said...

And more thing just to finish off, DLOG wil no longer be posting here, well not as DLOG anyway, no one will ever know anymore when DLOG has posted, thanks to C.

I held you in high esteem C, even though I did not know you, but I feel that was well beyond the line, stealing my identtity, you have actually upset me alot by doing that and I find it very dissrespectful what you have done.


Peter Cook said...

It's a wierd world with all these masked bloggers and identity shifts.....

I intend to remain as myself. Life's just too complex for more than one of me!

In the words of Lou Reed: 'I do me better than anyone else'

Rachel Elnaugh said...

Since writing this post I've had another couple of slaps in the face from our friend Seth...

First I booked three tickets to go see him at his only UK event in London in February just announced (total cost £300+ please note) and emailed saying I was coming to the show and could I meet him and interview him for my new online TV channel. 'Sorry I'm jammed' came the curt reply.

Then later that day a really nasty little post on his Blog appeared which I am afraid I am arrogant enough/sensitive enough to believe was directed at me:

Gosh what have I done to bring so much hate out of this man?

I'm currently doing a lot of research around psychology at the moment - what makes people tick - and I am starting to wonder what is going on in that bald head of Seth's...

It must take a lot of energy and effort to go through life looking for subjects to post about so frequently. So maybe vibrating on the 'cynical and critical' frequency for too long has just made him into a sad lonely person?

After all, they do say you criticise most in others what you secretly despise about yourself...

One of the key attributes of personal happiness is finding the positivity in every situation and living in an 'attitude of gratitude'.

So here's a challenge Seth, why not spend a week writing only positive Blogs and being nice to everyone who crosses your path?

And over the Pond here I promise to do the same!


Anonymous said...


Come back! I'm sorry I upset you.

It was a cruel trick to play and I apologise for playing it.

It actually chimes with something Seth talks about, namely the anominity of the web and how that is not necessarily a great thing.

I was just pointing out that with a few exceptions we are all anonymous here. However, stealing your identity was a cruel way of doing it so I apologise.


Anonymous said...


I think you may be a tad paranoid. The guy is only in London briefly I guess so it may well be that his diary is jammed. Secondly, there is nothing to suggest the post is aimed at you and you are further surmising that you are not in the top right.

So he's a bit curt? We can all be a bit curt at times, so cut the guy some slack and stop beating yourself up over this.

Whatever Seth says does not diminish you after all. We still love you (even if some of my posts don't always suggest it!).


Anonymous said...

Sorry to Rachel and all, damage done, all my accounts have now been deleted forthwith.

Furthermore C, I was not anonymous, anyone here had the opportubity to speak and or meet with me, and some did take that opportunity, ie, Rachel (God Bless her Heart), Stephen, Hani, Leona, MikeB and the that wonderful man Bradley, hope I have not left anyone out, if I have please accept my appologies.

I have nothing to hide, well only issues that go way way back, and yes for some strange reason appear to be playing havoc these days.

And I actually don't need your strange sense of humor C, by way of stealing my name. It was more than just a nickname and it mean't alot to me, it had a certain meaning, and in many respects manifested some great experiences and opportunities.


Stephen said...

There is an invisble power matrix that pervades the Internet. Seth Godin is one of the Gatekeepers of this invisible power matrix.

In fact through his work he is one of the people involved in designing this power matrix. So Seth is a Gatekeeper and together with his friends at Google and his Squidoo Web2.0 monster service he continues to develop his desire for power.

When they say "Don't do Evil".

They mean. Don't do anything to screw up out investment in the Power matrix.

Serious arrogance, i'm afraid.

Rachel Elnaugh said...


I think it was a volte farce because when I approached him earlier he said along the lines of 'I'll be in the UK in February, subscribe to my site and when it's announced contact me' - which I did.

Yep, paranoia, I am the Queen of it! In this case justified.


Rachel Elnaugh said...


Sorry - Volte Face - doh!


Rachel Elnaugh said...

Or maybe I did mean 'farce'...

Rachel Elnaugh said...

PS Anyone who thinks he/she can control the internet is sadl;y delusioned. Ego, power and control are the domain of the power seekers of the past. The future belongs to those who work with the power of Infinite Intelligence and who ride the wave of the rising Collective Consciousness.

Peter Cook said...

Aha, I see some of the detail now, some comments, since I have studied a range of psychology and spirtuality programmes over the years.

Less than 10% of communications are the words ... so a curt reply on e-mail can seem very harsh indeed... Despite my rock'n'roll exterior, I too get too easily offended when people reply with one line or one word, especially if that word is 'delete' and so on. E-mail can be very curt adn there is research which shows that (especially) men use it to say things they would not dare do face to face. I was asked the other week by e-mail if I would like to sponsor a large bank to the tune of £1200 at an event (I am a 3 person business), as it would be 'good networking' for me. I did not know whether I should be flattered or insulted. After 'Live Aid' it seems we now have 'Bank Aid'

It is sadly my experience that some people (a minority IMHO) get their kicks by kicking those a few rungs down. I have had a few people say things like 'who', just to get them off. It does hurt, probably comes out of my working class chav background in my case, and was behind my question about what gets you back up when you've been knocked down.

Sheer persistence may be the hard salespersons coping strategy (blocking out negative responses and so on), but, to quote the jargon, an 'emotionally literate' approach is often better evrn if it hurts at the time. In other words, you can be hard headed and curse when you get replies like the one you had, but chances are there is no learning in that. By remaining a little open and therefore vulnerable, it is much more risky, but chances are, you learn more. I guess that's the difference between 'if at first you don't succeed, try try again', implying pure persistence and the 'if at first you don't succeed, try something different', implying an approach which learns and adapts.

I took a great lesson from my Dad who was 67 when I was born. He was always put upon by people, but insisted that you could not adjsut your way of life to the lowest common denominator (my words not his). When life kicks dirt in your face, we have choices as to how to respond. Granted I don't always rise to the high ground, but I do try to bear it in mind when I can.

Finally, the truly great leaders I have met are gracious with others, whatever their rank / position and so on. We may never know whether it was Seth's digits that typed the e-mail or an assistant, but either way, there is some simple common sense learning to be done.