Tribes by Seth Godin
Wanna know what Skunk2's mission is? A while back I was reading a book called Tribes
. It was written by an author by the name of Seth Godin. In Tribes
Godin describes the rapidly evolving marketplace and how it has changed the paradigm by which companies must function to survive. The "tribe" as Godin describes is any community(s) of users and enthusiasts, and ultimately the goal of good companies should be to listen to and support the "tribe." This book puts into words a general philosophy that we embrace and consistently work toward at Skunk. I encourage you to read this book (it's short and easy), but if you don't have time, I will post some of the basic ideas discussed as well as some of my own comments.Crowds vs Tribes:
- Two different things: A crowd is a tribe without a leader. A crowd is a tribe without communication.
- Crowds are interesting and they can create all sorts of worthwhile artifacts and market effects. But tribes are longer lasting and more effective.
Improving a Tribe:
- Transform the shared interest into a passionate goal and desire to change.
- Providing tools to allow members to tighten their communication.
- Leveraging the tribe to allow it to grow and gain new members.
*My comments: We need to improve the quality and means by which we communicate with each other (enthusiasts). Often times the import performance community acts more like a crowd/mob than a tribe. We need to understand that mobs are bad and tribes are good! Leaders within the tribe need to promote a positive attitude and a method of communication that fosters interest and enthusiasm. We need to be more objective and less adversarial in our communications. No one is perfect, but the key is that we try. When enthusiasts learn and grow, the tribe benefits and we create a positive upward spiral! Skunk2 will continue its efforts to communicate and support the tribe. We welcome members to engage us in productive dialogue. Let's work together to make our scene better.Heretics: The New Leaders
- Heretics are engaged, passionate, and more powerful and happier than everyone else. And they have a tribe that they support (and that supports them in turn).
- Challenging the status quo requires a commitment, both public and private. It involves reaching out to others and putting your ideas on the line.
- Part of leadership (a big part of it, actually) is the ability to stick with the dream for a long time. Long enough that the critics realize that you're going to get there one way or another...so they follow.
- Heretics are the new leaders. The ones who challenge the status quo, who get out in front of their tribes, who create movements.
*My Comments: At Skunk we have always been heretics. We've always marched to the beat of a different drum, and we are happy with who we are and where we are going! We take the road less traveled and it has made the difference time and again. We know we have our critics; always have and always will. But we will never allow our critics to stop us from achieving our goals. We are not perfect, nor do we proclaim to be, but we are committed to continuous improvement and doing our best. Over the past 15 years, we have seen the critics come and go, and despite their efforts, Skunk is still standing and continuing to serve the tribe better than ever before; we hope someday we'll win over our critics as well.Organizations:
Organizations give us the ability to create complex products. They provide the muscle and consistency necessary to get things to market and to back them up. Most importantly, organizations have the scale to care for large tribes
*My Comments: This is an interesting concept. In our industry there always seems to be a new flavor of the week in terms of new companies that enter the market. Ultimately the ones that stand the test of time are the ones that not only develop great products, but also develop the organizational capabilities to support the tribe and its products. For automotive performance companies, an investment into R&D infrastructure and technology, the right (passionate and skilled) people, and a commitment to customer service, is required if they are to support the tribe over the long haul. It is unfortunate when enthusiasts support "copy cat" performance companies to the detriment of the companies that actually innovate and are passionate about our industry. Almost all of these "copy cat" performance companies will fail to stand the test of time, and unfortunately they might drag the tribe down with them. Support of these companies actually weakens our industry and brings meaning to the adage "penny-wise, pound-foolish."Products:
- The marketplace has raised its voice. It's now clear that we want novelty and style and, most of all, stuff that's great!
- "Good enough" stopped being good enough a long time ago. So why not be great?
*My Comments: Skunk2 has consistently introduced innovative products to the industry that defined various product categories, but we know we can never rest on our laurels, and that is why we stay sharp and continue our involvement in professional racing and continue to improve our R&D capabilities. Now more than ever, we want to and need to create innovative and great products for enthusiasts.