The first book from the pile to read was also the first book I’ve ever read by Seth Godin. He’s gotten many a rave review so I nabbed the first book by him that I could find. Apparently folks like to steal his books, since many of the are marked as ‘extremely overdue’ or ‘missing.’ *sigh*
The book is a little bigger than a paperback (7x5in) but feels tiny compared to the ‘normal’ hardbacks in my pile. But there are 232 pages of relatively dense information, so it’s not the speed read I’d feared.
The book was written in 2007, which made me a little leery in picking it up. Since the internet has an attention span of roughly fifteen minutes, I wasn’t sure how much was still going to be accurate. Turns out I didn’t have to worry, the fourteen trends covered in the book didn’t seem at all stale.
The basic concept behind this book is that there are two types of companies. Older companies built around older marketing methods are meatballs and newer companies built around ‘new marketing’ are ice cream. New Marketing itself is the whipped cream and cherry, it goes great with ice cream… not so well with meatballs.
The book then covers the fourteen trends that Seth sees as driving the change between the two types of company. This is the bit where I skipped back and forth, reading as I had time. It’s a great way to fill in those spare minutes and the book didn’t seem to suffer for being read out of order.
Oddly, other reviews of this books seem to center around the fact that meatballs are bad… but I didn’t get that from my own reading. Seth seems to be saying that meatballs are fine and dandy, but meatballs and new marketing aren’t meant to be.
A point he stresses is that to change from meatballs to ice cream a company has to fundamentally change: it’s not just rearranging, it’s changing the starting ingredients. Now I’m sure and iron chef could whip up a meatball-based ice cream, but larger established business built around meatballs are going to stay built around meatballs.
It’s the new companies, ones with flexibility that are able to dump out the plate and start over– or just start out by grabbing the ice cream scoop.
It’s a fascinating book to read, even if you aren’t in marketing, and it’s one I renewed when I started to settle down and think seriously about starting up the home business again. I’d recommend it to anyone who has an interest.
I also really like his writing style, so it’s time to see what else the library has that hasn’t been stolen… to the website!