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October 2008

A Pleasant Surprise

There was a plain brown envelope in my mailbox today. Inside I found a complimentary copy of Seth Godin's new book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. What a pleasant surprise! Tribes_2

You see, waaay back in August I responded to Seth's public invitation to join a members-only tribe for marketers, leaders, those focused on building communities or creating products or spreading ideas. He was in the process of publishing this book that talks about the evolution of brand management to tribe management; in a nutshell:

It starts with permission, the understanding that the real asset most organizations can build isn't an amorphous brand but is in fact the privilege of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who want to get them.

It adds to that the fact that what people really want is the ability to connect to each other, not to companies. So the permission is used to build a tribe, to build people who want to hear from the company because it helps them connect, it helps them find each other, it gives them a story to tell and something to talk about.

Inside the book was a letter that reads, in part:

I want to thank you for believing in the Tribe, for signing up sight unseen, for buying a book you hadn't read yet, hadn't heard about yet, hadn't browsed yet. You went first, took the lead, took a (small) chance with your money and a big chance with your time. Thanks.

Here's an advance copy of Tribes. An early copy, for you, before anyone else gets one. Please read it and keep it. And when the one you paid for comes, I hope you'll give that one away. In two weeks or so, when it arrives from the bookseller, take that second copy and spread the word. If all you do is file it away, I've failed.

There's more, but you get the idea. In return for joining Seth's tribe and agreeing to pre-order a copy of his yet-to-be-released book, I get an advance copy and a feel good moment.

Not everyone's a fan of the approach, but I think it was brilliant. I'd venture a guess that the handraisers who joined his tribe are all influencers -  bloggers, podcasters, CONNECTORS. They're going to get this package and letter and talk about it...at the water cooler, in blog posts, on podcasts. Beyond the exclusivity of the advance copy and the kind cover letter, headshots of the tribe members grace the inside of the book jacket (I can't tell if I'm in there or not). There's a lot to talk about, and I haven't even read the book yet!

I'm sure Seth's team is actively monitoring this chatter (Hi, Seth! Thanks for the book!) and enjoying the related buzz leading up to it's official release date (Oct 16). I plan to tackle it this weekend and will report back. And of course I'll be happy to share the copy I paid for when it arrives in a couple of weeks.

The Seamstress

I finally finished reading The Seamstress: A Novel by Frances de Pontes Peebles and it is sooooo good.
Seamstress At 641 pages and covering a period of about 7 years, it's an epic saga reminiscent of Gone with the Wind but set in 1930s Brazil, rather than 1860s America.

It is the story of two sisters whose lives take wildly different paths, but through it all, they are able to maintain a strong connection.

It's a fictional story full of action, adventure, drama, romance, and political intrigue, but it was inspired by real-life stories from the author's Brazilian family, and she skillfully weaves in historical events - including the revolution of 1930, the drought of 1932, women's suffrage in Brazil, and tales of the infamous Cangaceiros - the rural bandits that were the Robin Hoods of their times.

Fascinating characters and a seemingly accurate representation of 1930s Brazil - from the landscape & livelihoods to the fashions & etiquette - makes you feel like you're right there, experiencing it all first hand.

Five stars.

Weekend Happenings

Lot's of exciting things happening in the city this weekend:

The Rose Kennedy Greenway Opening Celebration takes place Saturday from 8am to 8pm. Walk the entire length of parks (where that ugly, elevated highway once stood) and experience free yoga classes, arts & crafts, a farmers market, petting zoo, and live music, among other things. There's even a text-messaging-based scavenger hunt: sign-up by texting GRNWAY to 80108 or visit m.go2.com/grnway on your mobile phone and enter your phone number. There's a treasure map available to download here (pdf).
Check out the full schedule of events; afterwards, be sure to share your event photos with the Greenway Conservancy's Flickr pool, and friend them on Facebook!
GreenwayTomorrow is also the last day to catch Exiles at the Museum of Fine Arts. The film chronicles a day in the life of a group of twenty-something Native Americans who left reservation life in the 1950s to live in LA.

If you're looking for something a bit more frivolous, then head down to the Seaport for Harpoon Brewery's 19th Annual Octoberfest.

And finally, on Sunday, the South End Open Market hosts Baked Fresh, a day of live music, food, and products from over 120 local artists, crafters, and entrepreneurs.