Seth Godin

  • The rigor imperative

    When the project is emotional, or urgent, or loaded with resonance, it's easy to dispense with rigor. It is, after all, an emergency. No time for the process, for doing the hard part first, seeki ...

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  • Noticed vs. missed

    Will they notice that you've left? There are lots of ways to be noticed. You can be loud. Argumentative. You can be sour, difficult, a bit of a diva. You can take umbrage at every opportunity, crack jokes at the expense of others, or merely scowl. You can use hyperbole, drama and shame to get your way. You can spam people, yell a lot, interrupt our day.

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  • "Is the noise in my head bothering you?"

    The monologue that runs in our brain is loud. It's heavy-metal loud compared to the quiet signals we get from the rest of the world. All day, every day, that noise keeps going. It's the only voice that has seen everything we've seen, believes everything we believe. It's the noise that not only criticizes every action of every other person who disagrees with us, but it critici ...

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  • Status roles

    "I don't have much, but I have more than you do..." The second episode of my podcast is out today, and it's the result of perhaps fifty blog posts I wrote but didn't post, because the topic is too important and it's too nuanced for something as short as a blog post. Status roles are at the core of who we are. They change how we spend our time, our money and most of all, our imaginations.

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  • "The Luckiest Lottery Store..."

    Really? That's the headline in the paper. Of course, there's no such thing as a lucky lottery store. And rational, long-term citizens never buy lottery tickets, because it's a lousy bet. But the idea of the lucky store is precisely what someone is paying fo ...

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  • A changemaker's triangle

    Editor, publisher, instigator. The instigator is the author, the dreamer, the writer. She creates a screenplay, founds a non-profit, says what needs to be said. The editor curates. Picks and chooses. Amplifies the essential and deletes the rest. And the publisher scales it. Turns it into a business or a success on some other metric. Throughout the ages, there have been world-class editors.

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  • Building, breaking, fixing

    We spend some of our time building things, from scratch. New ideas, new projects, new connections. Things that didn't exist before we arrived. We spend some of our time breaking things, using them up, discovering the edges. And we spend some of our time fixing things. Customer support, maintenance, bug fixes... And most of all, answering email and grooming social media.

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  • Quick or smart?

    Your smartphone makes you quick, not smart. Every time you pick up your quickphone, you stop inventing and begin transacting instead. The flow of information and style of interaction rewards your quickness. It helps yo ...

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  • "I'm not selling anything"

    Of course you are. You're selling connection or forward motion. You're selling a new way of thinking, a better place to work, a chance to make a difference. Or perhaps you're selling possibility, generosity or sheer hard work. It might be that the selling you're doing costs time and effort, not money, but if you're trying to make change h ...

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  • Looking for seekers (who are looking for you)

    "Don't go to the supermarket when you're hungry." The reason is obvious--when you're hungry, you're likely to buy things. The risk is that you'll buy something you don't need, because, of course, all that buying isn't actually making you less hungry. The same thing is true for just about anything we seek to sell.

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  • Akimbo, my new podcast, launches today

    Akimbo is a posture of strength and possibility. The chance to make a difference, to bend the culture. It's at the heart of my work. Your work too. The work of making change that we're proud of. And so, a new podcast. A different kind of podcast. No guests, no fancy production, it won't remind you ...

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  • Born to paint?

    More than a hundred billion people have ever lived. Perhaps 1,000 have been widely heralded as artistic geniuses who painted in oils. And perhaps there were another thousand genius physicists and just one Nobel-Prize winning folksinger. We sell ourselves short when we argue that there's something magical about creative work, something that can only happen if we're born to do it.

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  • The first law of organizational thermodynamics

    Energy is either created or destroyed. Newton was right about physics, but in organizations and cultures, the opposite is true. You're either the person who creates energy. Or you're the one who destroys it. You might be the one who initiates projects, who asks, "what if?" or eagerly says, "I'll do it." The person who finds and amplifies and supports the good work of others. The spark.

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  • What is extraordinary contribution worth?

    I know it's worth a lot to the recipient, but what is it worth to you? We all know what normal contribution looks like. It's what happens when a qualified person does the job, meets spec and keeps a promise. But extraordinary contribution is rare. It's when we surprise the system, and perhaps ourselves, by showing up with something unexpected, far beyond the common standard.

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  • What do you see?

    A better question might be, "what do you choose to see?" If I take four professionals to the Whitney: The architect sees the building, the sight lines, the way the people and the light flow. The framer notices the craftsmanship and taste in the way the paintings are framed and hung. The lighting designer can't help but comment on the new LEDs.

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  • Reversing Alinsky's rules

    In Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky laid out 13 principles that can be used in zero-sum game political settings to discourage and defeat enemies. Alas, this approach is often used by both sides in just about any issue, and tears away at civil discourse. When you're so sure you're right that you're willing to burn things down, it turns out that everyone is standing in a burnin ...

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  • The respect of 'why'

    "Because I said so," ends our inquiry, shuts the door and disrespects the questioner, all at the same time. Explaining what we need and why allows us to engage. It creates a connection of mutual respect. When a bureaucrat or authori ...

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  • Ignore sunk clowns

    Yes there was supposed to be a clown at your birthday party. No, he didn’t show up. That’s a bummer. But! But your friends are all here, and the sun is shining and you’ve got cake and a game of pin the tail on the donkey ready to go. The question is: how long should you mourn the loss of the clown? How much more of your party are you ready to sacrifice? The same question co ...

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  • Empathetic doesn't mean doormat

    It's essential to find empathy for the people you hope to serve, to teach, to work with. Without it, you can't find the place they're stuck, you can't help them move in the direction they seek to go. But it's entirely possible that your empathy will lead to a moment where you need to say 'no'. "I just bought a new car from you, drove it for a thousand miles, but now, I've br ...

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