- Seth Godin is a best selling author and founder of the Domino Project
- book publishing is going to scarcity instead of abundance
- Seth wants people to see what’s he’s doing and steal the idea
- after 4 years Amazon sells more than hard and soft covers combined!
- Poke the Box
- Seth’s goal is to fail more times than anyone else
- make smarter failures
- experiment, poke, discover enough not to make it fatal
- READ Seth’s blog
- we don’t get talker’s block
- Seth starts five blog posts to every one he writes
- make a decision to notice things and be honest enough with yourself to write down what you notice
- everyone should have a blog, it’s a useful habit
- Phillippe Petite, Shepard Fairey and Jacqueline Novogratz are a few people who inspire Seth
- a freelancer gets paid when she works, has many bosses, but works on her own
- entrepreneurs build businesses bigger than themselves, business that makes money while they sleep, one that they can probably sell one day
- Seth started in high school, he bought $40 worth of ice-cream from a distributor. He set up a stand and sold them all in about 10 minutes. He repeated this each day and made $600 for the band by the end of the week. He even got a job in the band!
- entrepreneurs are people who take the initiative
- our future belongs to artists. Artists are human beings who solve problems in a natural new way
Seth’s tip every entrepreneur needs to know
- If you need someone else’s map, you’ve already given up most of the value. The opportunity of our lifetime is to solve our own problem in our own way.
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Jumpstart theme song “DLDN Instrumental (ft. Onlymeith, Mellotroniac)” by: St. Paul from ccMixter.
Dave: Welcome to Jumpstart. I am your host Dave Delany. My very special guest today is Seth Godin; author of twelve books including Permission Marketing, Purple Cows, Tribes, Linchpin, and most recently Poke the Box. Hi Seth, welcome to Jumpstart.
Seth: Thanks for having me.
Dave: Thank you.
Seth: Good to talk to you.
Dave: Yeah, you too. So on your most recent book; Poke the Box which is excellent by the way.
Seth: Thank you.
Dave: Was the first one to be published by you. And I wanted to learn more about the Domino Project I’ve been reading about, but I wanted to maybe – if you could share a little bit with our listeners.
Seth: Well, I’ve been writing for ten to fifteen years about how the book publishing industry was going to change. And I’ve been lucky because I’ve had major contracts with most major publishers, so I have access to a lot of people in the know, and I like these people.
Seth: But they are on a path to doom. And you know, we saw Borders declare bankruptcy and Barnes and Noble just got sold today.
Seth: There’s a lot of transitions going on in the industry. And basically I felt like the fundamental precepts behind book publishing were going in the wrong direction; toward scarcity instead of abundance. And I realized I was being a hypocrite because I was still publishing with them. So I put my money where my mouth is and I started my own publishing company; powered by Amazon. It’s doing things in as many different ways as we can, not because we’re sure we are right nor because I want to be the biggest book publisher in the world, but because I’d like people to see what we’re doing at work and steal it.
Seth: Because I like books and I like publishers. And I think that there is lot of new things to think about. The last statistic I’ll give you, Amazon announced yesterday that after only four years, they sell more kindle books than hard covered books and paperbacks put together.
Dave: Gosh! I know the hard cover’s statistic just came out like only – maybe a few months ago, and now it’s everything.
Dave: Wow. Well – and it’s interesting, you talk about Poke the Box – and obviously this show’s specifically for entrepreneurs and people starting out and doing it for themselves. And a big thing in Poke the Box – in what you talk about is – you know, not being afraid of failing. What has helped you gain the courage of avoiding failure – not necessarily avoiding it; just embracing it?
Seth: Yeah, well, I mean the book isn’t just for entrepreneurs.
Seth: It’s for everybody.
Seth: And the reason is that in times of change, defending the status quo is really stressful.
Seth: But seeing the revolution for what it is is a great opportunity. You question which you altered half-way through…
Seth: the key to the whole thing. My goal is to fail more times than anyone else.
Seth: That – you know, if you think about that, what that means is if you only fail once but really big – that doesn’t work. And if you fail never – that doesn’t work. The goal is to fail more than anyone else. And the way you get the right to do that is by making smart failures and succeeding enough in between that your judgment is actually pretty good. Right?
Seth: And so I try to set up situations and scenarios where I have a chance to experiment, to poke, to discover and still have it not be fatal.
Dave: And you write a lot about that on your blog as well, which is an amazing blog that all our listeners should be subscribed to if they’re not already.
Seth: Well, thank you.
Dave: It’s great. I’ve been reading it for years now. So, and – you know, you write a lot about thought provoking blog post that – you know, daily – that it amazes me – the stuff that you write. I’m curious where it all come from.
Seth: Well you know, very few people I know have talker’s block.
Seth: That – you know, we sort of honor this notion of writer’s block. But no one wakes up in the morning and goes (Mumbles).
Seth: And I’ve spent thousands of dollars with plumbers and I’ve never come across one of their plumber’s block.
Seth: The plumber doesn’t shout “Oh, I don’t think I can deal with this sink. You have any whiskey?”
Seth: I mean that does not happen. I write like I talk. And I try to – you know, for every post you see – I probably start five – and I don’t believe it’s a particular gift. I think it’s a decision, and the decision is to notice things and to be honest enough with yourself that you can actually write down what you notice.
Seth: I think everyone should have a blog because it’s a useful habit.
Dave: I agree. I definite should write mine more often. So you’re definitely inspiring me for that. And speaking of – you leave us really excited and inspired by your books and your blog posts. And I’m curious who inspires Seth Godin?
Seth: Well, it’s more people every day because the internet brings everything into sharper focus.
Seth: You know it’s people like Philippe Petit who didn’t say “I’m going to walk across the world-trade center because I’ll make money and it will make me famous.” He did it because he felt like his art left him no choice. Or people like Shepard Fairey who’s been to jail more than thirty times, but does it because the act of sharing his art is really compelling to him. But it’s also people who have jobs in big dear credit companies but go out of their way to treat colleagues or customers with a level of respect and dignity that’s out of the norm. My friend Jacqueline Novogratz who runs the Acumen Fund is sort of a hero to me and her ability to take on the world’s single biggest problem, and to relentlessly work on it for twenty years in a row.
Seth: You know they are everywhere. I think that we probably don’t need to look at somebody who’s got an eighty-nine dollar e-book that promises you success to find the inspiration you need to do great work.
Dave: Uh-hm. And I often ask my guest – you know, when the entrepreneurial bug bit you. And – you know, as far as look back in your history, you seem to have been doing it yourself for a very long time. Was there a point in your life even as a child that you discovered that – you know, you are like a born entrepreneur?
Seth: Well let’s understand, there’s entrepreneurs and there’s freelancers; and they’re very different.
Dave: That’s true.
Seth: A freelancer gets paid when she works. A freelancer has many bosses but works on her own. And there’s nothing wrong with freelancing; most of the time I’m a freelancer. There’s an entrepreneur and sort of builds a business bigger than themselves; a business that makes money while they sleep, a business that they could probably sell one day. So when I was fifteen, I started in a new high school that was brand new; their cafeteria wasn’t finished yet. And it just – I never hesitated. I picked up the phonebook and I looked in the yellow pages for someone who was an ice cream distributor, and I bought forty dollars worth of ice cream sandwiches delivered. And I set up a stand in the cafeteria and sold them all in about ten minutes, took the profit, and then did it again the next day. And by the end of the week, I had made six hundred or so dollars for the high school band.
Dave: That is brilliant.
Seth: And – you know, if nobody bought it the first day, I would have been out forty bucks.
Seth: But the interesting thing about the story is I didn’t have anything that the four hundred kids in the school didn’t have – except I just did it.
Seth: And so if we just find that sort of person – one who takes initiative, one who goes out on an adventure – which is the literal definition of entrepreneur – then I probably started when I was fifteen. But the notion of building a business bigger than myself; one that made money when I sleep and one that I could sell, I didn’t start doing that until I was much further along.
Dave: What – just out of curiosity, what happened to the ice cream business? Did the school shut you down when they realized they could make more money doing it themselves? Or…
Seth: Oh no, there never was an ice cream business. Right in [Inaudible – 00:08:01] opened…
Seth: That was the end of that. But I got to play in band for the next three years even though I was terrible because I was the only guy who knew how to raise money.
Dave: (Laugh) That’s great. Well listen, I don’t want to keep you but I would love to learn three tips from you. And I often ask my guests just to close the show off with three tips that any entrepreneur or freelancer even, might be able to take and run with.
Seth: Well, don’t take this the wrong way, but there’s one tip which is don’t ask for three tips.
Dave: (Laugh) That’s good.
Seth: That – the tip is that if you need someone else’s map, then you’ve already given up most of the value.
Seth: That our future belongs to artists, and artists are human beings that solve problems in a natural, new way. And if some says do this, do this, do this, then you’re not going to make it. You know I look at the Web2.0 entrepreneur bubble, and I don’t think there’s a financing bubble. But I do think there’s a huge number of hipsters who are headed to San Francisco to follow in the steps of all of the guys who came before.
Seth: To do what just they did, and hope that it works – and their missing the point.
Seth: Right? And the opportunity of our lifetime is solve your own problem in your own way. And that’s the only tip I’ve got.
Dave: Okay, and that’s a really good one actually so thank you for that. Just to close off the show then, where can people find you if they don’t already know?
Seth: Well, if you type Seth into Google, I think there I am.
Dave: (Laugh) Fair enough. Hey Seth, thank you so much for the time today. I really do appreciate it.
Seth: Well, thanks for the work you do and for sharing it. I’m glad that I got to talk to you. Take care.
Dave: Great! Thanks! Bye!
Posted on June 12, 2011