|Here is the original podcast. This is a partial transcription of the important points to me. SG = Seth Godin, TF = Tim Ferriss.|
TBA - Early parts of the talk
TF:How do you navigate big transitions in your life?
SG:This might not work and that's my job to do something that might not work
The # of projects I've done exceeds most people and the # of failures dramatically exceeds most people & I'm super proud of the failures
Transitions aren't easy
TF: Why a daily blog vs. a weekly or other frequency? (31:55)
SG: top 5 decisions. Have a practice that resonates with the people I need to resonate with
Leaves a trail, No promoting, analytics, comments
This is what I noticed today and I think I'll share it with you
Writes 5x a day but posts 1x/day
TF: Why 5 posts a day will you discard 4 or publish later?
SG: Try to improve on post, no method
TF: What program do you use?
Went to biz school with Chip Conally and @ Tue night met in anthropology dept. for 4 hrs & brainstormed > 5000 biz ideas over course of 1st yr of biz school. This is only place they did it because when you walk in the room it's the only thing you'll associate with the room. (34:43) feel same way about my blog if I'm in Typepad editor I know exactly what my brain needs to feel like and then the writing happens.
TF: What is your writing warmup? in AMs what time?
SG: Steven King's pencil. Best writer of all time what kind of pencil does he use? It doesn't matter. There's no correlation on how writer's write and how good there work is.(35:53)
TF: When I feel blocked, Po Branson, what to do when blocked, "write what makes you angry" helpful to get hand or brain moving. What to do when blocked?
SG: Write. Write poorly until it's not bad anymore and then you have good stuff. People that have trouble coming up with good ideas will tell you they don't have many bad ideas. But people with plenty of good ideas have even more bad ideas, so goal isn't to get good ideas it's to get bad ideas (38:03) cause when you get enuf bad ideas some good ones have to show up.
TF: All the brainstorm titles for 4hww were atrocious. What were some other of the top business decisions you've made?
SG: Sell something that people want to buy.(38:59) My friend Lynn designed toys every toy co was mean and rejected her. I said "Toy cos don't like toy designers" Come into the book biz because there are people waiting for good ideas to come across they're desk. They're eager to buy what you have to sell. Within 2 months she did decks of cards 52 decks and sold more than 5 million decks, that's because they appreciated her. If you think about how hard it is to push a biz uphill when you're starting (40:03) start a different biz one u cn push downhill.
TF: Maybe your model is too difficult. Any other..
SG: Knowing when I'm wrong is a useful skill. Lots of people have trouble knowing when they do good work. other people pivot too soon. 1994 I'm running 1 of the first commercial email cos sees world wide web and thinks that it's stupid. Then 1 day I looked at it again and changed how I did my biz.
The same with cover of All Marketers are Lyers. The title and covers were super clever but wrong (41:57) Convince publisher that paperback should have different title and cover
If you're gonna try a lot of things your gonna fail a lot
TF: How do I discern between an Idea that gets rejected vs. a bad idea that gets rejected. How to answer that
SG: Entrepreneurs vs. Freelance. Larry Ellison doesn't code at Oracle. What does Larry do? His job is to think about something that needs to be done and hire someone else to do it over and over again, something bigger than himself.
I'd ask "Are you an entrepreneur or a freelancer?" If entrepreneur you've signed up for a series of choices and challenges, again start with selling something that people want to buy no reason to invent a need when there are so many needs and wants that are unfilled.
People didn't wake up and say I need an Uber but the did think I need an easy and inexpensive way to get from point A to point B. Once you can go to someone and say "I have that." People will say "I want that." But if you saying I'm really clever I know what you should want and you tell people what it is, they don't want it, you're either talking to the wrong people or you made the wrong thing.
The blog post is called "First 10'. It's a simple theory of marketing that says: Tell/show/share it with 10 people who already trust you and like you. If they don't tell anybody else, it's not that good and you should start over. If they do tell others you're on to something (45:20)
TF: And for people who here your def of an entrepreneur and say that's what I want. They currently work 80 - 100 hrs/wk. They desperately want to go from wantrepreneur to entrepreneur, if I had a sticky note on my computer to help me make that jump what would it say?
SG: Two different kinds of entrepreneurs:
1. Whose need am I satisfying today? Can I assemble assets in a defensible way so that I don't have to be the cheapest?
There's a need for show shoveling. If you take time and effort you can arrange a team of 10 snow-shovelers, who don't have the initiative you have. You can use existing almost free tech to assign the snow-shovelors to where they need to go. You're not going to win on being cheapest price but you can get to customers faster and efficiently. This is available without talent or creativity required.
Make a list of the 1000 things people need and want make a list of the kinds of connections and assets you can build and you go do it and do it until you're big enough.
2. The other kind to quote Michael Strake?? the purpose of my business is to change people from something to something else. This is the kind of biz we remember generations later
Changed disrespected disconnected outsiders to respected family members insiders(47:37). That's what you get when you pay $12K for a motorcycle, because if all you want is transport buy a Suzuki. No one gets a Suzuki tattoo.
You can decide that you want to be tattoo worthy, that you want to change a population in a way that makes you indispensable. That kind of entrepreneurship requires insight at a different level. There is nothing unattainable about it, it's a higher stakes game than being the person who applies systems thinking to an existing clear need. That's a big post-it by the way.
TF: Are there any checkboxes to determine that they should not become an entrepreneur, if you look at the covers of biz magazines that everyone is being encouraged to become an entrepreneur and start there own company. In what cases do you discourage people from starting there own company
SG: ... The same thing that causes writer's block cause entrepreneurial block
TF: Steven Pressfield - War of Art very worth reading.
SG: The War of Art, at least for me, when I finally found out about it, why wasn't I informed? Why did it take this long for this book to land on my desk. ... Steve's book was hidden in some little corner, I super glad I tracked him down and published the sequel "Do the Work"... Reading The War of Art is essential and painful.
People get Entrepreneurial Block for only one reason, not qualification or passions, it's because they are afraid. You need to be clear with yourself with
TF: Sounds a lot like Stoicism, meditation, not trying to suffocate these negative emotions because they're going to be constant companions so you have to befriend them or accept them.
If we look at fear, in the 4HB "the fears of modern men can be boiled down to 2 things getting fat and too much email." If we look at email you are known for responding to many emails ... How do you process email?
SG: ... Email is a problem for me and I'm not sure I want a way out, if I wanted a way out I could find one. I decided a long time ago as the author of Permission Marketing (52:26) a book about antiipated personal and relevant messages to people who want to get them non-anonymous email I could certainly try to spend the time to write back. It worked for a really long time for someone with ADD like mine it's a thrill because its something that looks like productive work needing to be done ATEOTD (at the end of the day) if all you've done is answered email unless you work in Help Scout ... you probably haven't created any enormous amout of value. I need to work harder at disciplining myself to not live in my email box because I'm really good at it, it makes people happy but its not part of the change I'm trying to make. I don't want to say to people "You're the last one. The person after you doesn't get a response. I don't want to hire someone because every word every written has been written by me and so I sojourn on but I say to people like you who have a platform ... write to Tim instead of me.
TF: I tend to not respond to many. Many people make unsolicited introductions. You've met 3 or 4 times and sometimes they have your email address and say "Hey Seth I'd love you to meet Doug SoAndSo CEO of Such and Such... I'm sure you guys will get along. Do you have a coping mechanism for that?
SG: This is a problem you've created largely for yourself. I don't invest in any companies, don't take pitches from my blog and I don't go to meetings. I can write back "I don't invest, take pitches, go to meetings, How can I help you? Because most of the time they want one of those 3 things. So if there honest we're done.
TF: Do people come to you? Do you make exceptions. How do you deem who makes the cut?
SG: Going to LA to meet with Rick (who?) is on my list but haven't scheduled it. One of the things that happens if you live 40 minutes from the worlds greatest city, if I'm meeting someone I usually end up in NYC.
TF:What other activities do you categorically say no to?
TF:I said yes to everything when first starting as a public speaker. I had to say no to all of it because if I didn't I had to filter stuff anyway
SG: Bingo, this is about cognitive load, the dip and seeking to be a crafts person. I don't use twitter. I saw it early and thought I could have a lot of followers. I said what would that mean?
Will either of these 2 things make me better at the things I want to be good at? No
Will there be a thrill that there will be a little fearful edge every time I interact? Yes. But I have conservation of fear I have to be careful because if I'm busy sorting through more stuff the Cognitive load goes up and I can't do what Neil Gaiman does. Neil, famously has said, that the way he writes a book he makes himself extremely bored and if he's bored enough a books gonna come out, because he needs to entertain himself. The problem that most people don't understand about social media, it wasn't invented to make you better, it was invented to make the companies money and you are an employee of the co and the product that they sell. They put you in a hamster wheel and they throw some treats now and then you got to decide what's the impact you're trying to make this still comes back to the fear thing and one of the biggest misunderstanding of people into the quantified self they are confusing quantifying the self with dancing with the fear and they're completely different things to do (59:44). One is Taylorism, scientific management we need to move these widgets from one place to another what's the most efficient way. And I'm glad we got good at industry because it makes our lives more rich but our economy, world and soul aren't fulfilled by that they're fulfilled by people who do something that's never been done before and if it's never been done before you can't quantify it. To be good at it you clear the decks so all that's left is you and the muse and the fear you and the change you want to make in the world. I can't think of something that's more productive for the kind of people who are lucky enough rich enough to focus they're energy on. We don't need people like that to go from 90 words per minute to 105 words per minute when they type it's not a factor. What we need is from the types of things that's worth reading (1:01:01)
TF: I'm so glad you brought up Neil Gaimen he's one of my favorite writers ... Make Good Art is his commencement speech, an incredible message, I needed that at a particular point ... I encourage everyone to listen to it.
Do you think if you were coming off your first bestseller and u were thrust into the limelight, would you choose to do the blog the way you're doing it or choose different tools?
SG: Everyone should blog even if it's not under there own name every single day. If you are in public making predictions and noticing things your life gets better because you will find a discipline that can't help but benefit you. If you want to do it in a diary, that's fine but, the problem with diaries is cause they're private you can start hiding. In a public blog there it is. 6 weeks ago you said this, 12 weeks ago you said that. Are you able every day to say one thing that's new that you're willing to stand behind. I think it's a huge, wonderful practice, but that wasn't you're question. Your question was trust and attention because those are the 2 things that are scarce in an economy that things use to be scarce not so much anymore and attention as you have built your arc around is scarce because we're not making any more of it and there are ever more tools to interrupt ever more people but interrupting people well is not easy and it doesn't scale. The first thing we must do is earn attention. If we earn attention over time we gain trust. If someone says Tim Ferriss is going to give a speech tomorrow, the other person doesn't say "tell me exactly what he is going to say and I'll decide if I want to come." They say "Tim Ferriss, I trust him, I'll come." That's what we seek to build. The book industry is magical because 500 yrs. of the book industry someone at a publisher picked you said to their readers, I care enough about idea that I'll spend $x to bring it to you. The book store said before infinite shelf space there are a lot of books we could sell you but we picked this one because the publisher is so excited and by the time the reader touches it it's a trust worthy object. Now that's being hacked, you can buy your way onto the NY Times bestseller list for not much $. You can self-publish that looks like a real book. Anyone can publish for the kindle so anyone does. We're stripping away the trust-building element of the book industry, but if your book did work and people encountered it and now they trust you then the job is to find a social media platform, there isn't one right answer where you can continue to connect people, tell stories so you earn more trust, more permission which gets you more attention which gets you more trust which lets you make the change you want to make in the universe.
TF: What opportunities were you offered that your glad you turned down. (1:04:40) are there any particular examples that come to mind? For me it's reality TV. In retrospect extremely happy I said no
SG: TV runs deep in our culture so they wanted me to be on Super Famous, I never hesitated in saying no because that's the moments when you decide who you want to be so I paid extra careful attn to the question and answer and it resonated I wud say the biggest shift for Silicon valley people there a game I've opted out of is when I was at yahoo in 1999 Bill Gross asked me to be head of marketing for the co he was building it had Steven Speilberg on the board. It was teed up to be the 7th next IPO and there were a billion dollars in stock options on the table. If I said Yes I decided what I do for the rest of my life which is to say yess to the next one because I don't need to say yes to this to buy Cilantro and Vodka. Why wud I say yes, it's because I like the game and I didn't say yes. Even though the billion $ in options never came around I think I'd be more proud of it as if they had because $ is a story once you have enough for beans and rice and taking care of your family and a few other things, money is a storey, you can tell yourself any store you want about $ and it's better to tell your storey about $ that you can happily live with.
TG: Could you elaborate on this a little bit? What's your storey with money? Is it what you just said because this is an really important point that I'm trying to mull over in the last year or so
SG: Well let me start with the marketing story which is take a $10 bill and go to the bus station. Say to someone "I'll sell you this $10 bill for $1 and you should actually do this, no one will buy it from you and there are a few reasons for this; know one goes to the bus station hoping to do a financial transaction. The second one is only an insane person would try to sell you a real $10 bill for a $1 and dealing with insane people is tricky so it must not be a real $10 bill so you should just walk away. Now, let's try a different thing. Put a $10 bill in your neighbor's mailbox when he's not home and run away. Do it the next day. Do it the third day on the fourth day ring neighbor's doorbell and say "I'm the guy that left 3 $10 bills in your mailbox. Here's another one do you want to buy it for a dollar?" You'll sell it because your neighbor knows your crazy but in a very particular way and you've earned trust that it's a real $10 bill. We assume that $10 bills are worth $10 but no it's a mutual belief and if the belief isn't present they're worth nothing. Now we get to our internal narrative about $. Is $ that # on a screen is that a reflection of your worth as a human? (1:08:47) The things that Derek said on your podcast that I sort of disagree with is that being rich is a symbol that you created a lot of value for a lot of people. I thinks that lots of time that actually not true. There are lots of ways you can create value for people and most of the ways do not involve money. So what we have to decide once we're ok not living on $3 a day, we have a roof, have health care, how much more $ and what wud I trade for it? We alway trade something for it unless we're fortunate that the very thing we want to do is the thing that gives us our maximum income and I don't think merely because some blog thinks that people with big valuations are doing better that doesn't mean you should listen to them. My parents were successful (1:10:00) becuase of how many people they mattered to. My friend Jacelyn Novegrats who I think should win the Nobel prize who runs the Accumen fund. She's insanely successful. She's changing whole continents of the earth by bringing an idea to the fore and doing it relentlessly year after year. And then I think about people in my neighborhood who are successful because they get to shovel their neighbor's walk who is elderly and it snowed last night. That privelege and trust lets them live a successful life.
TF: Is there anything you've changed your mind about in the last few years?
SG: other than the web being done. I changed my mind about the book industry not mattering and now it mattering in being in a sad but slow decline. I've changed my mind about the big cos in the center of the internet. I think that they changed around the same time I changed my mind maybe before that. They went from being really profoundly useful (1:11:24) important public goods that created enormous value to being public companies where there's so much pressure on management who work there to make the stock price go up that they don't often make decisions in the public good any more ... and I was naive to think they would keep doing it. They are stopping.
TF: What are some things you believe that other believe is crazy or insane?
SG: deep down I'm certain that people are plastic in the positive sense, flexible and able to grow. I think almost everything is made not born. That makes people uncomfortable because it puts them on the hook, but I truly believe it.
TF: What is the book you gift the most besides your own if you've given your own
SG: I want to talk about my own. Your supposed to talk about your movie if you're an actor but you're not supposed to talk about your book if you're an author. I wrote Your Turn so I could give it away and so I spoke at a high school and gave every student a copy before I got there. There are very few books that are written to be given away. Most books are purchased by the person intent on reading them. And you write a book differently if your intent is to give it away, but I have given away many copies of Cory Doctros books. If you're into 3D printing Makers. If your into security and privacy Little Brother Tons of copies of the right kind of Science fiction. Let me distinguish between a couple of kinds. The movies have ruined SciFi because they have created this sort of violent distopian, we all ought to become survivalists, zombie fueled scifi that it wasn't for. The other kind of sci fi is the kind that fundamentally rewires your brain. This is one reason why live tweeting speeches makes no sense or taking notes on certain types of books makes no sense because as Scott McCloud pointed out in his book Understanding Comics which I've given out many times I've give copies of all the action in comics happens in between the panels. That's why comics are an art form. In panel A something happened. In panel B something happened but it's what happened between A and B that changed your mind about anything the action's in your head. The same thing is true about a great science fiction book. If you read Snow Crash
TF: (interrupting) Such a good book, such a good book
SG: It's such a good book but you can't give it to someone now, I've tried, it doesn't work. You have to read it before you've been on the internet, then it changes your mind. If you read Diamond Age before you've thought about molecular anything or 3D printing, then it changes your mind. He wrote that book before the iPad, Kindle. That shift, now I tell you the shift the book doesn't work the way it would of if I hadn't told you the shift. When it shifts in your head, so if you read Dune and you don't read it for the plot and your read it for standing geopolitics suddenly something clicks in your head. If you read Pattern Recognition by William Gibson, you don't even have to finish it just read the first 5 chapters and suddenly you will understand what a brand is. Those are the kinds I give away a lot, separate from the books in audio which I give away and I've been saving for you to ask me about because audio is my focus for today (1:15:45) TF: .... please take the mike
SG: Certain books work because they cause something to flip in your head. Than can't be digested, they set you up and they take you to the next step. Audio is different because you can listen to it again and again and again. You listen to it when you don't thing you're paying attn and it's working. When I make a list of books that profoundly influenced me they tend to be books I listened to so many times I wore out 72 cassettes and I had to buy more $500 set. Thats when I didn't have $500 to spend on 72 cassetts. That's Zig Ziglar. Zig is your grandfather and mine. He's Tony Robbins grandfather. None of would be here if it wasn't for Zig and some of his politics and outlooks on life are extremely dated, I disagreed with them but the fundamental principles of goal setting and motivation and the fear of people have saying yes when you sell to them, those were the 3 sections of the stuff just kept me going again and again and again. I told Zig any time I need to stand in for you I can do the accent because I listened to it so many times.
TF: Is there a name to the series or is there one audio set by Zig
SG: 3 Series, 1 on goal setting, 1 on how to stay motivated and 1 on secrets of closing the sale. In the Secrets of closing the Sale Zig tells a 17 minute store of the guy who is shining his shoes. If you just listen to one story if you're into selling listen to the story 10x and you'll become a different salesperson and if you listen to the story about his friend in Canada you will understand what motivation is to him talking about how we rewire our brain with goal setting and I encourage it.
Number 2 almost the flip side the recorded works of Pema Chodron. She is a Buddhist Nun with a monastery in Nova Scotia and she will get under your skin in a different way. She is a disciple of Chung run trumpa Rimposhea who was the first full Buddhist monk in the US. The way to understand his teaching is in one tiny little parable which is "we are falling falling with nothing to hold on to and nothing to slow us down. The good news is there is no ground to land on."
Inspired by them I wrote for charity Leap First the short audio book that captures some of the things I was trying to teach people about this, you can get this at Sounds True.
3. The Art of Possibility which is very hard to find on audio and is totally worth seeking out it's by Roz and Ben Zander. Ben is a symphony conductor in Boston and Roz is a social worker and the two of them will completely change the way you think about possibility, enrollment, leadership. I listen to it once a month in the car.
4. The War of Art. Steve's voice is fascinating.
5. Just Kids - The single best audio book ever recorded by Patti Smith. It might change the way you live. It's about love, loss and art, non-confidence and confidence and about having a best friend. It's magic.
6. Debt - David Graber. I recommend in audio because Dave is repetitive and sometimes elliptical and in audio it's ok because you can listen to it again. David was on tenure track at Yale, he co-founded the Occupy Movement and they threw him out. He's and anthropologist and he studies lots of things in our ancient history. His theory about where did money come from is mind blowing and I'll give you the short version.
"Every economics text book, 7 of them, teaches people got tired of carrying around a goat to trade for sheep and it's hard to cut it up to trade for some butter or bread so with all that trading in the little village square like in Salem MA someone said 'Let's have money instead' and everyone was happy. It turns out that there is no evidence that this happened once anywhere in the universe and instead he argues very persuasively that money was invented to keep track of debt which predates money. This is a book about simple debt, the debt that leads to prostitution, marriage debt, debt that leads developing nations being billions of dollars in debt to the rich world merely because the dictator stole a lot of money. I found it completely rewired the way I thought our world actually worked, I'm not ready to stand on the battle lines of the next occupy movement but I really have far more color and insight now as to what money is and how it changed everything because it's all about debt.
TF: Which of these do you think I should start with?
SG: It's important to realize that audio books are a practice that real books are not. You can read a chapter and decide if chapter 2 has earned it or not. I find that like dieting you're not going to get any benefit if you start it and and see how it goes. So for me:
I don't think people should listen to debt 10 times.
TF: ... Can you think of any $100 or less purchase that has heavily impacted your life in the last 6 months or recent memory?
SG: Once the stereo is working it doesn't make sense to buy more stereo equipment because that's just silly and you can do better than that, but what you could do is become obsessed with artisanal bean to bar chocolate. I'm saying one could not that one should. So I did. I worked my way up the ladder. About a year ago I was going to start my own chocolate co. because it's not that hard. I bumped into a few brands that were doing it better than I ever could.
There is a company in western Massachusetts called Rogue Chocolate and you can only buy their stuff pre-order by mail. $12 for a chocolate bar but I'd pay $20 happily, because a party happens in your mouth. It's a whole new ball game. So, everyday I have a huge pile of artisanal chocolates here, only dark chocolate please. I'm actually an adviser to a new acumen??? company called Cacao Hunters in Columbia but there are 2 chocolate companies I want to highlight.
Rogue which I mentioned and Askinosie. Roque because I don't belive it's possible to make better chocolate than they are. Satan works with them. And the second one Askinosie, because Sean who use to be a lawyer is living a life that's worth noting and possibly emulating. He not only buys his beans from farmers in the Philippines and other countries who he meets but he puts there children through school and he has built a practice of creating a worthwhile luxury good that directly benefits people. Not sort of, not a little but directly.... I don't do the marketing .. because it would probably have a different name. ..
Anyway this chocolate habit is the vice I've been looking for my whole life. I can tell the difference between one continent and another. I can tell how long they conked it for ..
TF: Conked it? I don't know what that means... What is conked?
SG: Here's how you make chocolate .... (1:27:36)
TF: ... I made truffles in Saratoga. I recommend to everyone to take a chocolate making course. ...
And on the subject of eating .. what does your diet look like?
SG: Yea it's really not good. ... it's not good because I'm bored by it.... I don't eat wheat, I don't eat dairy, cilantro, meat, because each time I adjust what I eat I feel better (1:30:56)so ...
TF: What does the say first 2 hours of your day look like? What is a typical breakfast?
SG: Breakfast is one more decision I don't make. It's a frozen banana, hemp powder, almond milk, a dried plum and some walnuts in the blender and then I make coffee for who ever comes over that morning and for my lovely wife meanwhile I've probably done an hour and a half of stuff online before 7:30. So I know the world didn't break while I was asleep and then I can get to work.
TF: What is the 1/2 hour of internet triage look like. What types of things are you doing in that half hour?
SG: The most important thing, did the blog work. because if it didn't I have to take evasive action but I love the guys at Typepad. It's the best $29 a month I spend because it doesn't crash, it works. Then I try to clear the email box. I've lived in email box 0 before the term was coined and now my brain is free so I try not to be an email hound until I've actually done productive work. Then I come to the apartment where I work and other people join me here sometimes.
We work on the altMBA which is a school I'm building and that's what I do for work.
TF: When was the last time you worked from home if you ever did?
SG: If there's a laptop or I not unconcious I'm at work in a sense that what I do for work is notice things.
TF: ...I've long considered getting an office as opposed to operating out of coffee shops and miscellaneous locations. That is the context behind the question.
SG: I do much better in this room