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Seth Godin on being indispensable

Posted by: Helen Walters on February 4, 2010

This morning, I headed to Soho House in Manhattan to hear Seth Godin talk to an assembled audience of 100 or so ad/brand/marketing/design folks. The $195 a ticket event, organized by hip trendwatchers, PSFK, was a way for Godin to tout his latest book, Linchpin, the subtitle of which asks the question, “are you indispensable?” Godin, who is clearly in his element in this type of scenario and whose shtick blends just the right amounts of self-deprecation, flattery of his audience and nimble wit, had some stern words for anyone whose instant response to the question was less than flag-wavingly affirmative. In fact, he offered four main calls to action for those within branding and marketing who are looking not merely to exist in the modern world but to thrive in it and shape it for themselves:

1. “If there is a map or a set of rules, reject it. You will not get paid fairly if all you do is follow the rules.”

2. “What you must do is [create] generous art, gifts that change people, connect with people, lead with people, make change that matters.”

3. “Ship it.”

[This referred to the tendency we all have to talk ourselves out of doing something, instead convincing ourselves that it’s too soon/not ready/not a good time/we’ll be laughed out of town if we try it now, clearly we should delay. From the nodding heads and murmured approval around the room as Godin described this concept it seemed like a familiar problem. And, of course, the idea of shipping something that might not be perfect isn’t just creatively liberating, it’s really the only way to exist in a world where if you don’t launch your great idea, you’ll miss your moment altogether.]

4. “Treat the platform as an opportunity to give gifts and make change, not something to survive to get to tomorrow.”

Smart food for thought, as well as a copy of the book that all attendees left clutching. I’m looking forward to reading more.

Oh, and in case you missed it, do check out our interactive, talking Seth Godin action figure. Makes me laugh every time.

Reader Comments

Mallory Pickard

February 19, 2010 2:44 PM

Constant source of active inspiration. Starting Linchpin tonight.

Erik Johnson

February 19, 2010 4:33 PM

Just finishing up the book. Seth's take on things is always "remarkable." One idea I loved from the book is giving. Too often we are receiving and taking, not giving. We can all look for ways to give back.

Great book.

Erik Johnson

Randy Schrum

March 1, 2010 11:26 PM


Thank you for the fresh reminders brought to us by Seth.

Sometimes you have to break the rules...
in order to become indespensable.


Brad Furber

March 9, 2010 2:36 PM

I agree with all the above, especially Seth's advice to "ship it".

While it is important to do your best to do it right the first time (especially if it's a consumer safety issue - e.g., Toyota), for many Internet related opportunities it's imperative to simply let the butterfly fly...


March 22, 2010 9:49 AM

Constant source of active inspiration. Starting Linchpin tonight.


China Wholesale

March 29, 2010 5:07 AM

What you must do is [create] generous art!
so good ideas!

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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