Ask anyone who they’re most excited to see at HubSpot’s Inbound 2015 marketing convention and best-selling author Seth Godin is likely to be in their top 2. The conference’s first keynote speech in the Boston Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom was packed 30 minutes before Seth even took the stage. In case you didn’t have the pleasure of hearing his wisdom and anecdotes about losing to Lamb Chop (yes, the sock puppet) and why Harley Davidson matters, I’ve recorded some of his best quotes from tonight’s talk.

Seth Godin’s opening line:

“Can we start by acknowledging that golf is a really bad spectator sport?”


On the question you must ask yourself:

“What change do you want to make?”


On taking initiative, because no one hands it to you:

“Don’t wait to get picked.”

“Put yourself on the spot.”

“You have to be the person who says, ‘I am going to do this.'”

“Most organizations are obsessed with authority, which informs most bureaucracies in life. Look for responsibility instead.”

“Responsibility is always available. You aren’t given responsibility, you take it. People who take responsibility get responsibility.”


You have to be the person who says, 'I am going to do this.' - Seth Godin |


On the art of marketing as enacting change in others:

“The way we change others is by being human, being connected, being generous, and by doing something that might not work.”


On why people do what they do:

“What matters to customers is not evidence, but what people like them do.”

“When someone in LA is thinking of joining the Crips or the Bloods, they don’t ask for a brochure.”

“Modern marketing can be best summarized as: People like me do things like this.”


On not waiting for the right time (hint: there isn’t a “right” time!):

“We are spending an enormous amount of time just getting our ducks in a row.”

“The question is… once you get your ducks in a row, what is the duck for? What was the point? Are we trying to win a tiny race or trying to change the world?”

“You already have what you need to get to the next level. You don’t need more ducks.”

“It is always too soon to take the leap.”


It is always too soon to take the leap. - Seth Godin |


On focusing on the big picture:

“The point is to make change happen.”

“It’s not about how do we get bigger, get more likes, more followers, but how do we choose to matter.”


On how what you make is for “someone”, not for “everyone”:

“If people don’t like what you make, just say, ‘This isn’t for you.'”

“The only things that go to the Best Seller List are books that are for some people.”

“Crappiness is all the edges we sand off to make ‘everyone‘ happy.”


On pointless meetings (hint: they’re all pointless!):

“Meetings are about compromise. Meetings make products worse.”

“Meetings are a whole bunch of people sitting in a circle waiting for someone to say, ‘I’ll do it.'”


Meetings are a whole bunch of people sitting in a circle waiting for someone to say, 'I'll do it.' - Seth Godin |



On writer’s block:

“There’s no such thing as writer’s block, because there’s no such thing as talker’s block.”

“The reason you get writer’s block is because you don’t want to be responsible for the outcome.”


On seeking reassurances in life and business:

“We don’t need more reassurance. We need more action.”

“Reassurance is futile. There will never be enough reassurance for your lizard brain.”

“It might work and it might not work. You have to hold both ideas in your head at the same time.”

“Only a fool does something for the first time ‘knowing‘ it will work. Only a failure says it’s guaranteed not to work.”

“The less reassurance we can give you, the more important the work is.”


On the massive platform the Internet provides:

“The Internet can save your life. It can save you from a lifetime of doing what you’re told.”

“If you have a laptop or a smartphone, you are connected to more than a billion people. “

“The economy used to be about making things. Today’s economy is about connecting people.”

“When someone notices you and cares about you? That’s the original social media. We’re trying to replicate this idea of being seen. “

“It’s a new economy of connection.”


Seth Godin’s closing line:

“I’m not exactly sure what the question is, but I know the answer is, ‘Yes’.”


I'm not exactly sure what the question is, but I know the answer is yes. - Seth Godin |

Thanks for reading my first blog post. Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite quote was and why it resonated with you! And if you were at Seth Godin’s keynote speech, leave a comment with another great quote I missed.

– Ellen Coule



Learn more from Seth Godin by reading one of his many best-selling books:

  • What to Do When it’s Your Turn (and it’s Always Your Turn)
  • Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
  • All Marketers Are Liars
  • Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
  • Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable
  • The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)
  • Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers
  • Poke the Box: When Was the Last Time You Did Something for the First Time?
  • The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?
  • We Are All Weird: The Rise of Tribes and the End of Normal
  • Graceful
  • Unleashing the Ideavirus: Stop Marketing AT People! Turn Your Ideas into Epidemics by Helping Your Customers Do the Marketing thing for You.
  • Unleashing the SUPER Ideavirus
  • V Is for Vulnerable: Life Outside the Comfort Zone
  • Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck?: And Other Provocations
  • Leap First: Creating Work That Matters



Check out these awesome sketch notes of Seth Godin’s speech by Dennis Kardys (@dkardys).

Coule Company | Dennis Kardys Sketchnotes of Seth Godin’s Best Quotes from Inbound 2015

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