Seth Godin on What’s Now and What You Can Do About It

by Mike Brown

Seth Godin on What’s Now and What You Can Do About ItWhen seeing a music superstar in concert you hope for a greatest hits performance covering their best recordings. You really hope the hits sound something like the original songs. You realize some songs you wanted to hear won’t get played. And nobody’s surprised when the artist beats a hasty retreat for the door at the performance’s conclusion.

Why should it be any different when you see a superstar blogger/author such as Seth Godin? Yet there were grumblings about him simply going over topics straight from his books and questions about why he departed so quickly from his Business Marketing Association Unleash luncheon keynote last week.

If you ask me, Seth Godin put on a veteran rock star performance.

I’ll admit to thinking Seth Godin is a lot better blogger than book author. His blogs are focused and insightful. His books, however, seem like under-edited compilations of blog posts with focus replaced by redundancy. In person, he equaled his blogging performance – a few big ideas, lots of pithy quotes, and stories (both old and modern) to set it all up smartly.

Rather than try and play back all of his remarks, here are paraquotes from six themes Seth Godin touched upon which resonated with me:


Seth Godin admitted he can’t really address what’s next since change is so rapid and dramatic. The best he can do is talk about what’s now. And now, in the digital age, everyone has access to the means of production – a laptop and a high-speed internet connection. While making things was difficult in the past, it’s now relatively easy. The digital revolution has created opportunities which go against our instincts; the act of giving freely is one of them. Ideas that spread are ideas that win.


Your job is not figuring out how to show up one more day at work and still get paid. Your job is to figure out how to use what you do as a platform for art. And what’s art? Art is a human being solving a problem in a way it’s never been solved before.


If you want to reap the rewards of value, realize we give all the value to people who are solving problems in new ways. The second person to solve the problem isn’t getting the value anymore. In solving problems, you have to consider the experience. We pay for the way an experience addresses our needs because there is value in the experience.


There’s a difference between being fearless and reckless. Strong entrepreneurs are calculated and fearless, not reckless. We spend a lot of time building our fears by imagining problems in advance. This happens because of our inner voice which tries to protect us from danger. As soon as you can talk back to your internal voice, you’ll know you’re working on the right things when it (“The Resistance,” as Seth calls it) surfaces. That’s when to keep going.


It’s your job to invent the new product which sells itself. Don’t base your business on your customers not having a lot of knowledge, because they can find things out elsewhere. Competence alone doesn’t cut it either; competence isn’t scarce. If you can write down how to do something, it can be done more cheaply by someone else.


Avoid models that work like bowling, where perfection is the best you can do. In bowling there is no reward or even possibility of over-the-top performance. Instead, find work you can do that’s off the charts.

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Mike BrownMike Brown is an award-winning innovator in strategy, communications, and experience marketing. He authors the BrainzoomingTM blog, and serves as the company’s chief Catalyst. He wrote the ebook “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” and is a frequent keynote presenter.