#896 – Seth Godin On Failure & Shipping Creative Work/
- October 28, 2020
Seth Godin is back to chat about overcoming failure, finding your voice, trusting the process, the podcasting landscape, how to create for yourself, and his new book, The Practice: Shipping Creative Work.
On today’s episode of The Daily Talk Show, we discuss:
- Becoming better at failure
- Failing in a team
- Job security & no guarantees
- Finding your voice
- How Seth has changed personally over the last 12 months
- Flexibility, processes & meeting spec
- Trusting the process
- The difficulty of work & the sinecure
- Making a ruckus
- Software & adversarial interoperability
- The podcasting landscape
- Platforms & speaking to the next generation
- Audience & intention
- Hobbies & creating for yourself
- Starting & willpower
- Ultimate Frisbee
- What Seth’s excited about moving forward
Seth’s Blog: https://seths.blog/
Find Seth’s new book, The Practice: Shipping Creative Work in local book stores or on Amazon.
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Send us mail: PO BOX 400, Abbotsford VIC 3067
The Daily Talk Show is an Australian talk show and daily podcast by Tommy Jackett and Josh Janssen. Tommy and Josh chat about life, creativity, business, and relationships — big questions and banter. Regularly visited by guests and gronks! If you watch the show or listen to the podcast, you’re part of the Gronk Squad.
This podcast is produced by BIG MEDIA COMPANY.
Josh Janssen: [00:00:00] It's the daily talk show episode 896.
Tommy Jackett: [00:00:08] And we have a special guest returning to the daily talk show. Seth Goden. Welcome.
Seth Godin: [00:00:15] Thank you. I was told it would be 900. I'm very disappointed.
Josh Janssen: [00:00:18] I know people,
Seth Godin: [00:00:19] I know people needed to go before me, but
Josh Janssen: [00:00:23] I know early, early said. Uh, we don't have to do an introduction for you because we've been speaking about you nonstop.
Uh, over the last sort of 896 episodes, I actually put together a montage of the times that we mentioned, which I just play now, which will give people a sense of who you are potentially given a book for my birthday.
Tommy Jackett: [00:00:44] You want to set the gardens? Actually,
Josh Janssen: [00:00:45] I decided in December to rewrite Seth Godin's book
Tommy Jackett: [00:00:49] word for word and was saying about how it can be dangerous.
Josh Janssen: [00:00:54] Seth Godin has a book that he made. Seth talks about being your own CEO. And if the CEO talked. To you, the way you talk to yourself is your own mind. Insect them. I think it's probably in the same vein as like Seth Goden.
Seth Godin: [00:01:07] you haven't
Tommy Jackett: [00:01:07] subscribed
Seth Godin: [00:01:08] to his blog, do it. Yeah. There's that Seth Godin quote, where he's like,
Tommy Jackett: [00:01:13] I heard Seth Goden say, no one cares about you drain.
Josh Janssen: [00:01:16] I went on a train with Seth garden and
Tommy Jackett: [00:01:19] that's a dream I can get
Seth Godin: [00:01:20] here. Seth Goden is a great marketer. He's all about shipper. It's 80%.
Josh Janssen: [00:01:25] Good enough shipper. Seth garden talks about like the change you seek to make or Seth garden. Talks about like a pilot on a plane isn't being authentic. Sometimes I don't feel like fucking flying.
The plane is Seth Godin talks about, it's not about not being tired. It's where do you put the tire? But it was Seth garden tells a story about his friend saying how she was getting worried because numbers were about to be parodied and she was freaking out about it. And so he paid 170 bucks and got 10,000 followers for her birthday.
Tommy Jackett: [00:01:52] Say the guidance says if you're launching with a perfect product,
Josh Janssen: [00:01:56] you waited too long. The Australian podcast ranker. It sounds very official. I did send it to Seth gardeners. And what do you think of this? He said, and he did say
Seth Godin: [00:02:05] revolution's a messy,
Tommy Jackett: [00:02:10] you took his advice of make a ruckus. Yeah, I was watching guru, uh, our guru, Seth Godin today. He was doing a live live feed. Yeah.
Seth Godin: [00:02:19] Like I would say like Seth Goden a
Josh Janssen: [00:02:20] hundred percent is a mentor of mine,
Seth Godin: [00:02:21] but I have never said to him,
Josh Janssen: [00:02:22] Hey Seth, by the way, wouldn't you be my mentor? Rory asked which Seth Godin book.
Should he start on it?
Tommy Jackett: [00:02:30] Yeah. Are you feeling a bit down? Cause then the dip go,
Josh Janssen: [00:02:35] there's one called the Icarus deception.
Tommy Jackett: [00:02:38] Great. One to start on.
Josh Janssen: [00:02:39] And so the Icarus deception, I wast a rating that quit my ride yard job. Sorry. I was fired up after listening to that and winning. And
Seth Godin: [00:02:48] you want it to
Tommy Jackett: [00:02:49] fly? Like, what is it?
Josh Janssen: [00:02:51] Icarus was this fucking bird or some
Seth Godin: [00:02:54] shit, or had had wings I'm going to fucking butcher this story.
Josh Janssen: [00:02:57] But basically they said, dude, No
Seth Godin: [00:02:59] flaw, but you're too
Josh Janssen: [00:03:00] tired because if you fly too high, your wings, like the wax of your wings will mountain you'll crash. But then what Seth was saying was the story.
It actually changed. The original story said, but also don't fly too low. Don't go too low. Exactly. Don't go.
Tommy Jackett: [00:03:21] Fuck it.
Josh Janssen: [00:03:22] What do you think Seth Godin would do
Seth Godin: [00:03:25] on the daily talk show?
Josh Janssen: [00:03:31] And that's all we have time for
Seth Godin: [00:03:33] you find down the battery of my computer is so chagrined and you've also made me sad that I can't see anyone without a mask on. So it was thrilling and touching to see that. Thank you.
Josh Janssen: [00:03:44] Uh, thank you, Seth. And, uh, congratulations on the new book, the practice, Tommy and I have been, uh, rating it and super excited.
Cause I think it's something that it's very relevant to, you know, the sort of work that we do.
Tommy Jackett: [00:03:58] I will hand it over to you to say
Seth Godin: [00:04:00] I wrote it for the two of you. So that's good.
Tommy Jackett: [00:04:02] Thank you. Thank you. I mean, Seth, you've talked a lot about failure and getting good at failing. Clearly you saw us failing at trying to relay what you put out into the,
Josh Janssen: [00:04:14] into the world.
Seth Godin: [00:04:16] Um, what, what
Tommy Jackett: [00:04:17] needs to shift do you think to get good at
Seth Godin: [00:04:19] failure? Well, first of all, you did a fine job and it's always awkward to see it echoed in the world. But if I had to have two people that going yet, I would be delighted if it's the two of you. So thank you. Um, you know, the reason it's hard to get good.
At failure is because failure used to be the same thing as dying that if you lived in the Savannah or the jungle or wherever, and you failed, when you engage with that saber tooth tiger, or you failed in getting food for your family, you are going to die. And so. Deep down. We expect those two things are related.
And now in this industrialized world, we live in, they're not related. In fact, people who are able to fail with grace do better than people who are afraid to fail.
Josh Janssen: [00:05:09] How, how do you, uh, when you look back at, uh, and you reconcile the failures that you've had, w w is it always been comfortable or is it something that you've had to work to get good at?
Seth Godin: [00:05:24] It's never comfortable. I don't look forward to it. I mean, I use it as a compass to tell me if I'm working hard enough, but I would be lying if I said that I was looking forward to failing. I'm not, uh, but getting good at it is different than being comfortable with it.
Tommy Jackett: [00:05:39] You're the master of failure in way your students, once you nail it for yourself, how do you nail it within a team context?
Say a creative team where, you know, there's more at stake than just your own reputation.
Seth Godin: [00:05:55] I think that the people who work on a team may say that they trust you and are willing to follow you, but they've been lied to so many times before. It's not unreasonable for them to believe deep down that the minute they start trusting the process, you're going to cut them off at the knees and they're going to be in trouble.
And so they listen way more to what you do than what you say. And if the employee of the month is the employee of the month, cause they got everything right. You're making it very clear that what it's like around here is you have to get everything right. That if the only people who lose their jobs are people who make mistakes.
You've made it really clear what it is to accelerate here. If we want to reverse that, we have to say, all right, this person who never makes a mistake, they're fired. And until you're willing to do that, you're really not rewarding people for leaning into the process.
Josh Janssen: [00:06:50] You talk about no guarantees. I think that that's something Tommy and I have gotten comfortable with, but when you have staff, sometimes, sometimes it can freak people out.
There's, there's a thing called job security that people are actually concerned about. How do you reconcile job security when you look at no guarantees?
Seth Godin: [00:07:11] All right. So, you know, you're bringing up. How do we bring this mindset of creativity into the industrial setting? Industrial setting is where we make enough money to hire more people who do what we tell them to do so we can make more money to hire more people so they can do what we tell them to do.
That's how we built school. That's how most organizations work. You can't then. Sort of subvert, just part of that and expected, it will go easily. It won't, that's why studios are different than factories in a studio. You've got people sitting around a round table, each taking responsibility for what they want to take responsibility for shipping the work.
They said they were going to promise and repeating it and studios are rare. Indeed. They happen. But they don't happen organically. You have to work very hard to create that peer to peer studio model, but it's possible at an industrial scale. Most people who go to work want to be told what to do and want to be promised that if they do what they said they were going to do, they're going to be okay.
And that's not what happens in a studio, in a creative studio. The deal is a different deal.
Tommy Jackett: [00:08:21] Hmm. Um, I feel like your, your book, the practices landed in my Kindle app at a, at a very fleeting time. You know, it's like we're in the creative industry. We've been sort of trying to make things work for many, many years when it comes to, um, finding your voice because you do sort of dive into that.
I've always found that. You know, advice from somebody, find your voice, find your voice, um, kind of confusing the early days. What do you feel and what do you think it means to find your voice as a creative?
Seth Godin: [00:08:55] It has nothing to do with authenticity. It has nothing to do with who you were born to be. That's all nonsense.
Your voice is your brand. What do you sound like when you sound like you. And you get to decide what that is. If the two of you worked in an art gallery, your voices would sound different. If the two of you were, uh, sports trainers, your voices would sound different. What it means to find your voice is simply.
To pick your genre, show up with your craft, ship it, learn, ship it, learn and build a consistent platform so that when people are looking for someone who sounds like you, they will find you. You know, I, someone sent me a blog post. I wrote about nine years ago and I read it. I had no recollection of writing it, but I said, I think that sounds like me.
And that's the key. What would it mean to sound like you, that's your voice?
Josh Janssen: [00:09:50] And how, how have you changed over the last, last year?
Seth Godin: [00:09:54] Well, you know, there's been so much trauma around this worldwide pandemic and New York was a hotspot. Uh, I know people who have become quite ill there's in the U S a really long overdue focus on racial injustice and, uh, indoctrination and hierarchy.
Uh, And we're having an election here really soon. So it's very easy to get distracted from the work because you feel like the foundations that you used to standing on her too creaky. And one of the lessons is you can't wait for it to get back to normal because it's never going to get back to normal.
And that we only get this moment once, you know, I turned 60 during the pandemic and it was a moment to say, uh, you don't have. A lot of time to waste. And you might not feel like showing up with your best version of work that might not work. You might want to just curl up in a ball on the floor, but you're never going to get today over again.
Tommy Jackett: [00:10:59] Uh, with all of that said, when you're running a book in these times, what is, what are the shifts in your writing? Do you have any, are you seeing any that were coming up.
Seth Godin: [00:11:13] Um, well, I do different kinds of writing in different settings. Uh, writing a blog post is about a very specific set of boundaries of time and space.
And I've had 7,500 tries at it. So I can turn on my blog, writing hat pretty easily. Excuse me. Um, writing a book. Is different because you've eliminated both a time. Cause you can publish it whenever you want and space because it can be whatever length you want. And so you need to find new constraints.
Pick them embrace them and stick with them. So in the case of the practice, there's more than 200 chapters in the book, no room to write a 10 page chapter. And that forced me to think about the rhythm of it differently. Also, there was no opportunity to get onstage and practice. So I built it instead in an akimbo workshop with hundreds of other people, all engaging in the idea.
So I got to watch how people talk to each other and leaned into it. And that was a huge resource. And, uh, I think every one of my books would be better if I could write it based on a live workshop,
Josh Janssen: [00:12:26] uh, with the future of work, it feels like it's sort of, um, With 2020 and people working remotely, it's sort of, uh, you know, moving even quicker.
And the, the idea that you talk about around process and focus on the process. I understand that within the context of showing up and doing the work from a personal perspective, but I remember working at a tech company and they talked about flexibility. And one of the things I spoke about with flexibility is like, we just care about outcome.
Like as long as you get the work done, we don't care how. You use your time. How does that seat with focusing on the process? How can businesses work with the idea of not focusing on the outcome?
Seth Godin: [00:13:14] If I was doing a large scale programming project and had a bunch of well-paid engineers, I would trust them enough to develop their own practice, their own process. And I would say correctly, I think we need this code to run in this system architecture. We've already made very difficult creative decisions.
At the large scale, we know what the software is supposed to do. The UI is locked down. We now need it to do what it does. It needs to meet spec and meeting spec is the definition of quality, how we demonstrate how we get to quality. That is something you have to be able to trust somebody to develop. So what people don't understand about Japanese cars is Japan did not leapfrog the U S in quality in the 60 seventies and eighties, by trying harder.
They did it by pushing decision-making down to the people who knew the most, which were the people who were touching the devices so that those were creative acts on the part of the person who figured out how to speak to a supplier who figured out how to put systems in place that made the cars better.
So too often, industrial entities say don't. Worry about trust. We're just going to use a stopwatch and measure every single thing you do, every key stroke, what time you get to work, et cetera. And we're seeing that in the middle of it, pandemic, people are taking attendance by having endless zoom meetings.
And I think the alternative is, as you pointed out to say, look, we already did a lot of hard work on this architecture. Now let's figure out what it takes to deliver with quality, but we're going to treat you like a human and expect it. You will figure out a practice that gets us there.
Tommy Jackett: [00:15:04] When it comes to, you mentioned trust.
Um, and then within the, the creative landscape, how do you know if you're not trusting the process?
Seth Godin: [00:15:14] So trust is different than confidence. Confidence means you're sure it's going to work. And too often we hear in sports words like confidence. It's not, how could it be true in sports half the time you lose, right?
People are pretending that they're confident actually, a successful athlete trusts their practice, that if they do the work, they said they were going to do on the schedule. They said they were going to do it. That's the best they can do. And then if they lose, at least they know they showed up with their best intent losing or winning they side effect of the practice.
Good ideas hit books. These are side-effects. We don't say I did a bad job because we know what the job is. We can say, I didn't get lucky. We said I was outmatched, but the process, the practice, this is something we have to figure out and stick with regardless of. Today's outcome because in the long run, a successful practice is our best option,
Josh Janssen: [00:16:18] easy work versus hard work.
Uh, I heard, uh, you won Tim Ferriss and there was, there was a word that you use to describe, which I'd never heard. He was looking up the word as well. Do you remember what that word sinecure so I love this word. Can you, can you describe what it is?
Seth Godin: [00:16:37] A sinecure is a safe place to hide a sinecure is a bureaucrat, a professor with tenure, a, a person who can pretty easily fend off all comers and lots of organizations seek a sinecure because they would like to insulate themselves from competition.
Google has built an antitrust empire around the sinecure they have INSEARCH right. And so the question is, as creatives. How much time do we want to spend hiding in our sinecure and how often are we willing to lean into the practice and do original. Risky creative work instead, because you know, it would have been easy for me to do one sequel after another, because it would worked, but it wouldn't have made my life because my life is not about being in the sinecure it's about leaving.
Josh Janssen: [00:17:29] And so with your blog, because I even think about what we do. It's like in some regards, you know, we show up every single day. Um, like some days it's hard, but sometimes it feels really easy. And then I think about like, am I, should we be doing something different? Should we be adding more production values?
Should we be doing all that? Have you ever felt that the blog could become your sinecure or how do you make sure that it is something that's constantly evolving?
Seth Godin: [00:17:56] Yeah, lots of parts of it are. And same with your show in the sense that we need a foundation. It needs, we need a way to know that at least a little bit of tomorrow we'll be safe.
Um, but if you look at what I've. Put on my blog and how it has evolved over the years and how, you know, akimbo built would not, the alt MBA would not have happened if I hadn't had a blog that taking on organized education. I mean, that's not stuff I wrote about eight years ago. And so what I am looking to do at least once a week, hopefully more is to write a blog post that makes me nervous.
Tommy Jackett: [00:18:35] And what does that look like? How, what are the ingredients of her nervous, Seth Godin blog?
Seth Godin: [00:18:42] Well, if I, if someone says, uh, this disappointed me, I didn't understand this. You're going outside your lane. That's one of my favorites, right? Stick to your, whatever you should write about blank. Don't write about this other thing.
And I'm like, well, who decided that. It's my blog. You don't have to read it if you don't want to, but as I've added new lanes, sometimes I stick with them and now I have a multi-lane blog and other times I'm like, yeah, that didn't really resonate with me either. So I won't do that again.
Josh Janssen: [00:19:15] Talk to
Tommy Jackett: [00:19:15] me like you, do you feel like you're looking for that reaction from people?
If that's kind of, you know, you're wanting to do the one nervous bog awake. Are you looking for a
Seth Godin: [00:19:25] reaction? I'd rather not. I'd rather not for them. That's fine with me to not hear from people who don't get the joke. Um, it's more about, not about the outcome, but about my internal monologue, about what the outcome might be.
How can I lean more into this? And so some bod posts will take me a month because I'll be thinking very hard and cycling and cycling. Usually you can tell it's one of those. If there are typos in it,
Josh Janssen: [00:19:57] uh, you talk about making a ruckus, I guess, in some regards it feels like that's that that's part of it.
What's the difference between making a ruckus end disruption, which is what we hear so much sort of in the tech world.
Seth Godin: [00:20:12] Or just being an annoying jerk.
I define, I guess, a defined in any way I want, I define a ruckus as the generous act of showing up for other people to make change happen. Would they miss you? If you didn't show up to do that? That's a ruckus. So to make a ruckus means you can see something that needs to be improved. And, you know, in, in software it could be something as simple as, uh, developing Ruby on rails.
It could be something user-facing like building Slack. It could be just a new algorithm. That, uh, does it, uh, sort faster the way, uh, two programmers at Google figured out how to plant data on different parts of the hard drive so that if it was near the outer edge, the hard drives spinning faster. Um, That was a ruckus in the sense that then there were a thousand people who decided to go copy that,
Josh Janssen: [00:21:12] but by the way, did you ever sought out your Dropbox?
Cause when we came at episode 190, you're on the phone to Dropbox, uh, giving them some tips on how to fix it. Did, did you have, uh, did you ever get the. Can get it resolved,
Seth Godin: [00:21:26] you know, as soon as I love software, when it's at this early stages, I love being an early adopter. I just got off the phone, uh, with a guy who has built a really important, uh, software tool that you guys have probably used.
Um, it makes me very happy. And then, and then there's a day when they start acting like a monopolist. So for example, Gmail regularly email and spam. After I have sent a note to the person and they write back, right? The instructions are super simple. If the user sends an email to someone it's not spam, if they write back, that seems really simple.
Google's like, don't talk to us. There's no way to talk to us. We don't care about you. We're not going to change it. What are you going to do? Change your email address by and. When I encounter those things, it gets me really frustrated because software defines who we are and how we spend our days. And I think you have an obligation if you're going to make software and that's to make it better.
And if you're not going to do that, then as Cory doctor has pointed out, adversarial interoperability is really important. And I think. I'm hoping that a new regime of governments will require tech monopolists to enable adversarial interoperability. Because as soon as that happens, the whole playing field gets much better, much faster.
Josh Janssen: [00:22:52] And, and so on this just, uh, quickly around. So you had a whole campaign around the, uh, the marketing tab on, uh, Uh, J male around, you know, hiding, hiding this sort of
Seth Godin: [00:23:04] lost that one too.
Josh Janssen: [00:23:06] And so, but the thing is that. So I was, um, I spoke the other day on the podcast about the issues I have with Spotify around how we're all just like Spotify is the best thing for podcasting.
Everyone just be on there and people are watching the social dilemma on net. Flicks not connecting the dots that the risk is real, that this is going to happen. How, how do we cause the problem is that when we have these conversations, we can look like the fuddy-duddy podcast is in a closet or whatever that have no commercial viability.
How do you think about what's happening to the podcast landscape and the potential of what we're seeing in the social media space?
Seth Godin: [00:23:52] Yeah. I mean, when in doubt, realize that Dave Weiner is usually right. Dave Wiener invented podcasting. Dave Wiener invented RSS. Dave Weiner has a blog where he rants way more than I do.
And his point is simple. Don't forget what Google reader did. Right? Google reader came along and said, Hey, everybody move all your blogs to here. We'll organize your blogs for free. It'll make reading blogs better. And once everyone moved their blogs to Google reader, Google shut it down. They had no economic reason to shut it down, except they don't like blogs.
They don't like blogs because they don't know how to make money from blogs. And because it doesn't help their core business, they would rather have people searching all the time and then subscribing and. The tech Titans have an incentive to build Walt gardens to create significant lock-in and to make it so that there isn't a lot of portability.
RSS is completely open. Podcasts were built on the idea that. There's nobody between my podcast and the listener between your podcasts and the listener. And yes, Spotify is showing up with a lot of money for a few people. And now the cool kids are saying, you need to be there. But I just, I think when they write the history of these two decades, after they get past all the tragedies and horrors and governments, pitfalls, and anything else, there'll be a whole chapter on the death of the open web.
And fuddy duddies like us proud to be one can say, don't give up RSS people say, uh, Why can't I read your blog on this platform or that platform, and I'm like, just subscribed by RSS you and me private channel. No intermediary. It's the right plan. But unfortunately we've been brainwashed into being really lazy and the, all the other platforms make it easier.
By two seconds a day. And so I'm hooked on RSS, but most people don't even know what it is. Yeah.
Tommy Jackett: [00:25:54] Is it the issue that there are people that are finding huge success and usually they're the unicorns, you know, the ones on these types of channels with generating huge followings really quickly. That that is that's the allure.
That's what, you know, the person who's saying, why can't I find you over here? Like the good people are, although, you know, the successful people are.
Seth Godin: [00:26:16] Well, part of it. And I talked about this a little bit in the practice is that we are really confused about what successful means, you know, which podcasts are making a profit, maybe cereal, the most popular podcast for three years, stretch in a row.
I don't think cereal ever came close to making a profit. So what does successful even mean? Right? Successful to me means. Did you reach your smallest viable audience? Are you engaging with them in a way that makes a difference to them? And can you sustain it and do it some more tomorrow? That's enough that's success.
And beyond that, I want to know, have you made something magical? So Roman Mars and I did an interview last month and I've listened to 300 episodes of 99% invisible it's magic. It changed the culture. It's important. It's thoughtful. So yeah, Roman Mars is successful. I have no idea what his ad revenue is. I don't care.
Josh Janssen: [00:27:12] And, and so with these thoughts, how do you get to young people? Like, is that on your mind? Because you are a teacher and all these things are so important. How do you get to the next generation that are currently on Tik TOK and in that sort of social media space?
Seth Godin: [00:27:31] Yeah. So, uh, do you guys know who Jack Benny was?
Tommy Jackett: [00:27:35] No. No.
Seth Godin: [00:27:38] Okay. So I'm to, I'm going to talk that up to two Trans-Pacific distance. Uh, I have a blog post coming up about this. Jack Benny is famous. He was a meme in 1940. He was a radio star who moved to television. He was famous for two things, playing the violin and being really cheap. And he's doing a skit and, uh, a burglar comes up to him, a robber and says, points takes out a gun and says your money or your life.
And Jack Benny goes well, I'm thinking, I'm thinking because the punchline is, he was so cheap. He couldn't decide if he should give his money or get killed. Right. Someone said to me last month, are you checked? Benning me? And I instantly understood what he meant. And I was like, that might be the last time anyone's ever going to say that to anyone ever again.
It died, right? It's 80 years ago. That's it? There's no more room in the culture for Jack Benny. He's gone. He's going to be replaced by someone else. Now you can go look up Jack Benny and YouTube that didn't use to be possible. But the point is, culture has to forget the old stuff in order to make room for the new stuff.
And when. First when Twitter came along and then Tik TOK, I'm like, yeah, I could probably figure out how to do that. And I don't want to, because I don't want to chase that thing and I get that that's going to cost me. And that means that there's going to be somebody else. Who's going to be the voice of a different platform.
Um, that fan base, that platforms,
Josh Janssen: [00:29:09] the platform, I guess that the one thing is that there's, you can't disregard the importance of that. Audience, I guess that's part of it. And I just see the importance in the work that you do. Do you ever feel like putting, putting the information that you do in a book, um, you know, where that reaches versus, you know, doing, doing some sort of like, do you think that there will be.
In 20 years time, whether it's, you know, akimbo or old MBA, some version of tic talkers or, or taking the content and putting in a place that is, um, you know, palatable or that in line with the next generation.
Seth Godin: [00:29:50] Yeah, no, it's a great question. I'm also not very big in Lithuania or about Swana or Russia and so peop or China, right.
And people have said, why don't you translate all your work into Chinese and hire someone to be, because there's way more people in China than here. Right? I wrote off entire continents of the world, because I just can't.
Josh Janssen: [00:30:11] What about diversity? When that comes into it? There's one version of that, but then now what we're starting to realize is things like unconscious bias.
And so these decisions can have these bigger impacts. So there being certain things that you've disregarded, but then realize that you actually need to change it based on bettering society.
Seth Godin: [00:30:33] Well, I mean, I think highly of myself, but I'm not sure I'm the only person who's bettering society. Uh, the question is, uh, am I being fair?
Am I being open? Am I indoctrinating people in a way that I'm proud of? And so I hear from 17 year olds and 25 year olds all the time. I'm just not big on their, their platform, the same way, Joni Mitchell, isn't big on their platform. And the question is how can I serve people who are enrolled in the journey?
And I'm just me. I have no staff at kimbos and independent company. I'm not part of it. And the more I can lean into the body of work, the more likely it is, the people I teach can teach someone else. So what I'm really hoping will happen is somebody. Takes my best work makes it their work and shows up on a platform where they can do what I did 25 years ago, because I am not vain enough to believe that I could dig in sufficiently to teach on all these other platforms to people whose life experience is so different than mine.
Tommy Jackett: [00:31:41] I feel like you have your marketing hat on all the time and observing things that, uh, you know, playing out in everyday life and taking the lessons and applying them to your marketing teachings. What are you seeing from that? You know, speaking of Tik TOK, these young, you know, superstars that are coming out of the platforms, what, what nuggets of gold are you seeing?
Seth Godin: [00:32:06] You know, I wrote a book more than 25 years ago called the smiley dictionary. I've actually had the very first book ever. Yay. Do you have the Japanese edition, the Japanese additions even better? I love that. I love that it was the first book ever written on emojis that I know of. And. What's happened in just the last five years is we have created a new language, a non-verbal language that is spoken by people all over the world.
When I add that to how visual these new platforms are, I think we are entering, I'm not ready to say post literate, but a, uh, enhanced literacy in which short. Visual emotional interaction is the dominant force of culture. Sure. And that has pluses and minuses, right? It makes it much harder to teach Newtonian mechanics or to get people to understand the reality of science.
It makes it much easier for people to see other people. Without a veneer in front of them. Cause it's hard to lie when you're dancing. Right? And so I think this new blend is fascinating in that the world feels a little less stable because there isn't a universal truth for us to point to equals MC squared.
But at the same time, more people are more engaged with more people than ever before in the history of the world. And the question is, where will we take that? And I don't know.
Josh Janssen: [00:33:43] Do you think that, uh, as you get older, Tommy and I were talking about this the other day, do you get more conservative or like, do you, like, I think that in some ways the, with everything changing, talking about being a fuddy-duddy like, I don't see myself as a conservative person, but I feel like as I get older, is it just going, is there's going to be more progress and then I'm just going to struggle to keep up, keep up.
What's been your observation.
Seth Godin: [00:34:09] Oh, I think that's universal. Um, and I think that when somebody who's 80 or 75 or 70 starts hanging out with the kids these days, it looks weird and wrong to us because we understand human beings define who they are. And the effort to redefine that keeps going up. It gets harder and harder and harder because you have some costs.
You have expertise, you have a whole bunch of instincts that make it more difficult. So, you know, John Hammond was one of the greats of the music business. John Hammond discovered Benny Goodman, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and George Benson. That's like a 50 year span, but to do that, he had to put in an enormous amount of emotional labor to go from it's 1936.
And here's a guy playing the clarinet too. It's 1980 and here's Bruce Springsteen. That's just over one man's life. We can look at that and say that doesn't happen very often.
Tommy Jackett: [00:35:16] Um, Seth, I was talking to my mum the other day, very proud of her, you know, unprecedented times needing to pivot as everyone is.
She's had a yoga business for 40 plus years meditation, and she's gone and now she's teaching online and she's getting paid for it. The conversation turned towards audience, and I started asking her a few Seth Godin questions about our audience and it kind of glazed over mum. She's like, what do you mean audience?
And I, and. It was an interesting, um, sort of perspective she had on not seeing what she'd created as an audience. She's just in, in the process for someone starting out early days and, and coming into these conversations around audience, how do you kind of see what you're doing and put an audience lens on
Seth Godin: [00:36:03] it?
So, uh, for those who have not listened to all 890 episodes, what you're talking about is doing things with intention, right? Your mom says, I know how to teach yoga to the people who show up are my audience, the end. And. If we examine it, that's not actually the case. There's a very specific mindset and persona of person, who's willing to show up whether it's at her physical location or online, and if she could be intentional about it, she could serve them better, put up a flag that would more people.
Well like that people like us do things like this has nothing to do with skin color. It has everything to do with how we choose to see the world. Right. And every successful marketer is doing that. Whether or not they're doing it on purpose. So with that said, for me, it's always been people who say, there's gotta be more to work than this people who say, uh, How can I level up people say, uh, what's interesting people who say, how can I be of service in a way that I didn't do it yesterday?
All of these questions, the questions that my listeners slash readers have in common and that's who I'm writing for. And that's why I don't write books about tactics. It's why I didn't write the permission marketing handbook or 17 steps to be remarkable. That's the mindset of I'm falling behind please quick, give me the cliff notes so I can go back to work.
Tommy Jackett: [00:37:35] Is there a time it's whoever create for yourself versus having that lens of audience early days in a creative endeavor?
Seth Godin: [00:37:45] Well, when I create for myself all the time, that's my hobby. Right. I built a Cedar strip canoe in my backyard. Uh, I cooked dinner. I, you know, mess around with this thing or that thing.
I'm playing with some programming stuff, but I'm not promising anything to the outside world. I'm doing it for me. And the minute I tried to sell, one of my handmade canoe paddles is the day my hobby would be ruined because then I would start saying, well, wait a minute. How do I maximize this for someone else?
But I've been maximizing it for me. And I think it's a trap to say my work should be my hobby or my hobbies should be my work.
Josh Janssen: [00:38:24] Yeah, I think, uh, Austin Clay on, uh, mentions about your hobbies have become side hustles now. And yeah, I can can very much. Yeah,
Tommy Jackett: [00:38:33] I wouldn't buy the paddle though.
Josh Janssen: [00:38:35] I wouldn't buy it yet.
If you give me a good price. It's other thing there's other hobbies? Um, no, I love the quote. Um, there's like, uh, knowings not doing, cause I know there's been a bunch of things, you know, you can read the book. She can, you can, you can be pretty good at theory, but unless you're actually doing it, isn't actually.
Serving, uh, ha has there been any times in your life where, uh, or areas of your life. Where you haven't been able to enable the practice and the things that you talk about. So I was thinking last, I was like, has Seth ever like really wanted to get abs, you know, like for me, like I might try. Yeah. Like you can.
Cause the thing is like, I'm really good at doing podcasts, but for whatever reason I can't get. So, I mean, I probably like, there's a few more steps beforehand. How, how do you say those things?
Tommy Jackett: [00:39:27] And do you have ads?
Seth Godin: [00:39:30] I'm not going to show you my hat, but I am lucky enough to be at I'm lucky enough to be able to swim every day.
And so compared to most of my peers might have too. Yes,
Josh Janssen: [00:39:42] that's a snippet. That's a quote on Instagram.
Seth Godin: [00:39:45] There's a lot of things where I have not been prepared to pay the price, to develop the practice, get good at something. And it could be something as simple as when Photoshop went from version to diversion three.
And I was like, No, I see all the things alpha channel. No, I just, I'm just not prepared to drag myself through that mud to get to the other side. I would like to be on the other side, but now I don't want to be on their side enough to want to go and go do that. And. There certainly have been, uh, activities that are sporting related that were similar where I wasn't, I mean, I really wanted to learn to be a barefoot runner and I just couldn't slog through the pain to get to the other side.
It was just easier to do the next thing instead. Um, Literature is another example. I have huge respect for people who can read difficult books. I can't read difficult books, I just get too distracted. And the next thing you know, I'm onto, you know, Oh, look a puppy. And, um, am I smart enough to read a difficult book?
I probably am, but the energy, the emotional labor, it would take to build a practice around that. I just make other choices.
Tommy Jackett: [00:41:05] Yeah. I mean, it's funny what we're into or what we stick at doing. We're doing a walking challenge at the moment. And, um, you know, when there's, when there's a bit of competition wrapped up in things, maybe it's why we stick at it.
Is there anything for you that you've found that, you know, you'll stick if you put that, you know, filter on it?
Seth Godin: [00:41:28] So when I wrote the dip, what I was talking about was developing the muscle of. Starting or not starting. And I'm pretty introspective about this. I have a lot of willpower. Uh, I haven't had dairy in 25 years.
I have no itch whatsoever to have some,
Tommy Jackett: [00:41:47] I also heard that you haven't had it since 1978.
Seth Godin: [00:41:52] That's true. Because if I S it wasn't 78, it was 85 because when I started working on my own at home, It's just so tempting when sales aren't going well, when things just take a nap. And I knew if I took one nap, I would become a napper and then I would just go to sleep and never wake up.
Josh Janssen: [00:42:17] Have you ever had an accidental map?
Seth Godin: [00:42:20] Well, if I'm ill, you get, you get to nap when you're ill, but that doesn't count. Um, but so, you know, th the commitment is. You can noodle around. I know you had Pete shepherd on and he's the world's best noodler. You can noodle around and yeah. Decide that there's going to be a day.
You need to decide and then you're in, or you're not in. And so what I try not to do is start something. And then lose my nerve or my will halfway through. I'd rather not start it at all. And I've been very careful about what am I going to get into and what am I not going to get into? Cause I really don't like quitting in the middle.
Josh Janssen: [00:43:03] Uh, I feel like I attach my yeah. Identity, think to things in a big way. I know that, uh, I think some of your early books you talk about dropping the narrative. I definitely love building a narrative that one of the things I'm working on at the moment is I want us to build an equip, uh, sports equipment, a duffel bag at the office.
So we can all play sports. I've started playing a bit of baseball. I know that you used to play ultimate Frisbee. Uh, what is it like as a, as a sport? And is it something that you can play just with a small team? Oh,
Seth Godin: [00:43:36] if you're asking for advice then to what goes in the duffle, you got to have an ultimate Frisbee team.
Uh, I used to, the last time I played competitively was when I was at Yahoo. They had the Yahoo, uh, Frisbee team. And so David Fila, who was one of the co-founders was on it. Um, I had a lot of trouble with Northern California, ultimate Frisbee because it was way too competitive, but you can. You can easily have a ultimate game with six people.
I think six would be the minimum though. 303.
Josh Janssen: [00:44:08] Okay, great.
Seth Godin: [00:44:08] Yeah, it's a very special sport when it's, when it's played the right way, because you call your own fouls and that's called the spirit of the game and embracing the spirit of the game. You learn a lot about other people when you watch them either.
Call their own vows or fail to call their own fouls. And I'm sort of like if you, if I can't trust you to play ultimate Frisbee, I'm not sure I can trust to work with you either.
Josh Janssen: [00:44:34] Any blowups on, on the, uh, in a match, I could imagine.
Seth Godin: [00:44:38] Yeah, it was, it gets w it was disappointing when ultimate got to the next level.
And I played quote, varsity unquote in college. Um, when, when it got to the next level, they actually brought in referees and that really broke my heart because it's like,
Tommy Jackett: [00:44:56] it. Yeah, I was just gonna say, is it true now that ultimate Frisbee is now turned into ultimate fighting championship. It's actually the UFC.
That's how competitive it got
Josh Janssen: [00:45:09] a nice pivot.
Seth Godin: [00:45:10] Well, all I know is my, my nephew went to the same college. I did it and I dug out the t-shirt and I hand it was so worn. You could like see through it. And I handed him my official 1981 ultimate and he's like so much better than I ever was.
Josh Janssen: [00:45:26] Seth before we go, what are you looking forward to?
What are you excited about for the rest of the year and 2021?
Seth Godin: [00:45:36] We're not going back to normal, but we are going forward and there is going to be a vaccine and there is going to be a chance for people to decide what's really important to them. We accelerated by five years online adoption for a lot of people, uh, And we're adding AI into the mix.
And when you look at all of those things, there are glimmers of hope for me. I think we're going to start focusing on carbon. I think that we're going to start keeping track of what really matters and not just how much can we produce. So I'm optimistic about all those things, but I'm wrong all the time.
So who knows? Awesome.
Tommy Jackett: [00:46:14] Well, Seth, thank you so much for joining us, mate. We, um, we've enjoyed your chat today. It's um, it's been a long time between podcasts, but we're grateful to have you back on
Josh Janssen: [00:46:24] and Seth it's, it's a special time. It's a special time in Melbourne because we've just come out of. Uh, our big lockdown.
This is our first day. So what I'd recommend for people is, uh, go to a local bookstore and buy the practice. Uh, I think that, especially in this time where the bigger companies are getting bigger, going out and supporting, uh, local. And so, uh, thank you, Seth. And, uh, daily talk show. Uh, definitely get the book.
We'll send him our guys have a good one.