We Are All Weird – The Seth Godin Interview

by Tellman Knudson

“here’s a photo of me, with hair, being weird, in a solo canoe, photo by
now famous photographer Jill Greenberg” – Seth Godin

We Are All Weird

A Weird Interview With Seth Godin
& Tellman Knudson


Seth Godin and I just did a 5 day E-Interview.

Each day I sent him a question by email.

Each day he sent me an answer.

…And on the last day he sent over the *weird* pic you see above.

Q1: Tellman:

1. You wrote “The Manifesto on Weird” – and as a long-time oddball-outcast – that usually feels out of place in almost any group – it really connected with me personally and was a breath-of-fresh-air as a Entrepreneur and Marketer.

Can you explain why “Weird” is overtaking “Mass” and how you think Internet Entrepreneurs should respond to this change?

A1: Seth:

The epic battle of our generation is between the status quo of mass and the never-ceasing tide of weird.

It’s difficult to not pick sides.

Either you’ll want to spend your time and effort betting on mass and the status quo—and trying to earn your spot in this crowded mob—or you’ll abandon that quest and realize that there are better opportunities and more growth if you market to and lead the weird.

Do you want to create for and market to and embrace the fast-increasing population that isn’t normal?

In other words, which side are you on—fighting for the status quo or rooting for weird?


Are you confident enough to encourage people to do what’s right and useful and joyful, as opposed to what the system has always told them they have to do?

Should we make our own choices and let others make theirs?

The opportunity for entrepreneurs starts here:

if you make average products for average people, if you are using a funnel analysis to figure out how to sift through millions to find the dozens that will send you money for something they could have bought for someone else, you are playing precisely the wrong game.

The internet is making it easy to find and connect tribes of outliers, to find the weird and connect them, amplify their voices and challenge them to become weirder still.

That only happens if you bring humility, passion and respect to the table.

The dignity you give to someone when you embrace their choices instead of pushing them to conform is priceless, but it requires you give up the mindset of factory and mass and the notion of merely churning it out by the book.

Q2: Tellman:

As Entrepreneurs, how do we figure out the difference between a “Weird” group of people that is worth taking the time, effort and energy to build a business around…

From a “Weird” group of people that is likely to be an energy “black hole”?

In other words – We knew what was likely to be profitable in a world of “Mass” – but in a world of Weird it seems like uncharted territory.

What have you found to be good ways of looking at The Profit Compass when going into Weird markets and tribes?

A2: Seth:

Part of the art of marketing is understanding good taste. And taste is the ability to figure out what your tribe, your audience, wants.

The assumption built into this approach to the market is that people within a tribe are somewhat homogenous.

That is, if ten out of the first fifty do something, it’s likely that 100 out of the next 1000 will as well.

This is less true of random populations, which is why it’s even possible to considering marketing to a tribe.

So, the way we develop taste is to test, to be part of the tribe, to see the world as they do.

Not what they should want, but what they do want.

In the world of net, testing isn’t just cheap, it’s free.

It’s cheaper to roll out slowly than it is to roll out big.

The quest, then, is to develop the good taste to continually queue up amazing stories that compel the tribe to pay attention, renew permission and spread the word.

Q3: (from 18,000 feet on the way to Phoenix) Tellman:

It sounds like you’re talking about Starting and Maintaining a movement within a tribe.

So, this one’s courtesy of Joe Polish:

How do you start and Maintain a Movement while embracing the growth of The Weird?

A3: Seth:

As far as I can tell, the only people who join a movement are weird.

Joining a movement IS weird!

There’s never been a movement that was joined by everyone, all at once.

Early adopters, by their nature, are weird.

Q4: Comes in from one of my subscribers, Joshua Brinckerhoff:

I’m stoked that you are doing this interview with Seth Godin. I just read purple cow a few months ago.

Question to include in the interview: What do you consider “sacred” in marketing? Is there such a thing?

A4: Seth:

I think the only place there is something sacred is in our own standards, our own approach to the world.

You’re responsible for what you do, how you say it, what you ask for.

Pointing to archaic standards, competitive behavior or the status quo is a cop out.

If it’s sacred to you (whatever it is) then preserve it.

Otherwise, it’s all up for grabs.

For me, then, what’s sacred is a willingness to sign your work, to own what you say and to do your marketing as if people are watching.

Because they are.

Q5: Tellman:

Seth, In We Are All Weird you talk about The Four Forces For Weird:

  1. Creation is Amplified
  2. Rich allows us to do what we want, and we want to be weird.
  3. Marketing is far more efficient at reaching weird
  4. Tribes are better connected

To wrap up this interview with an Immediately Implementable idea…

What is your best advice to solo (or small biz) Internet Entrepreneurs as to how to most effectively, and immediately implement The Four Forces For Weird in our Hyper-Flexible Internet Businesses?

A5: Seth:

The idea is that if you can push these things forward (instead of fighting them) the market will come to you and it will stay with you.

Creation is Amplified
–make it easier for your weird to step up, speak up and share their passions.

Highlight those in the tribe that are on the leading edge.

Give them a platform to brag or share or cajole.

Rich allows us to do what we want, and we want to be weird.
–give your audience choice, more choice than just large and extra large.

Figure out how to find and source and make products for your customers, instead of always looking for customers for your products.

Marketing is far more efficient at reaching weird
–whenever you have a chance to go for mass, walk away.

If it’s not obsessively focused on a corner of the tribe, it’s worthless to you.

Tribes are better connected
–build a community.

Hire a community organizer.

Bring together people in the real world or online.

Your job isn’t to be 5% cheaper.

Your job is to be 45% weirder and to be the organizer and leader of the tribe.


Seth Godin is a GREAT marketer and fantastic author (of numerous best-selling books on marketing).

His Most Recent – We Are All Weird is a perfect fit for you, if you liked this interview.

You can get updates on all his most recent weirdness at http://www.SethGodin.com


If You're Unstoppable:


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian Knox

G’day Tellman,
I really enjoyed your e-mail exchange with Seth Godin. Throughout my lifetime, so far, I have found that one of the most difficult things to do is be yourself. I was blessed with a father who questioned everything and taught me to do the same. I was the kid at school, and then University, who asked the (stupid questions), you know , the ones that everyone wanted to ask but didn’t. In my working life I have ruffled many feathers by asking uncomfortable questions. Funnily enough not one person has ever laughed at me, made fun of me, or even ridiculed me. I have dined with the Governor of Queensland Australia, met royalty and sat with a bunch of blokes in a shed having a beer and a good laugh. I don’t really know what (Weird) is. I accept people as they are, and being my own person has made me what I am, (Warts and all).


Ian Beveridge

It amazes me that people don’t realise that the scariest thing in the world is being “normal”! You’d have a median IQ of 100, believe that the “justice system” is fair, be overweight approaching obese, run in thickly cushioned shoes and have a 65% chance of injury at any moment, buy degraded quality MP3 music from iTunes, be plain brain dead, follow one religion and hate every other one.

Don’t EVER call me “normal” please! Weird is the only sane option available.


Tina Falasca

And to think of all the time & energy I’ve wasted trying to fit in! Thanks Tellman & Seth for giving us permission to be weird!



Hi Tellman,
Thanks for sharing the interview. Great words from the wise!




thanks Tellman as always for your gifting of good things and mischief to see one’s way to new creating, to wierding one’s path …



A goood scenary


Ellen Owens

Great interview! But what’s weird about a person in a canoe? I was thinking about trying it for the first time with a new boyfriend and I am 56.



Dear Ellen Owens, with a good Welsh name like that luv, I am surprised that you don’t know the original meaning of wierd or wyrd…sigh! So here ’tis, and it comes through your own culture and tribe also, though there are also roots in the old Norse mythology with the Norns (Wagner’s Ring cycle is fun as a place to learn about them..!). Wierd originally meant: the creators of destiny, creating destiny…
and my guess is that is the definition that is being followed here. Also used in the context of creating one’s own…
cofion gorau, G Sid



ps, canoing is great fun! the one in the back balances and maintains direction, the one in the front is responsable for seeing, reacting quickly and reporting, and adding movement..
sitting or kneeling low keeps the best control and balance, and it’s magic to glide silent through water as one does…
enjoy, and remember to take a bit of homeopathic arnica before on the first day..you’ll be using muscles you probably didn’t know were there!


Stan Starsky

Very interesting…I think that most people are pretty intuitive. They will sense if you are trying to hard or pretending to be something that you are not…So it is great to hear that you should embrace whatever unusual perspective or personality that you have.
Really good stuff…Thanks



Just looked up Seth Godin Quotes and got one that I like. ” The easiest thing is to react. The second easiest thing is to respond. But the hardest thing is to initiate.”


Rick Aster

I had never thought of it quite this way, but it makes sense. You can help people pass themselves off as being the same as everyone, or you can help them be themselves.


Steven Barnes

We waste a huge amount of energy pretending to be like other people. When we drop that, and trust in our own being and individuality, we reclaim all the energy invested in maintaining our masks. The result…is liberating.
Thank you so much for this interview, Tellman!


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