Seth Godin is the author of ten bestselling books and has been called “America’s Greatest Marketer” by American Way Magazine. He is consistently one of the top 25 most widely read bloggers in the world. Seth’s latest book, Linchpin hit the top ten on Amazon the first day it was released.
It’s the most challenging yet encouraging book I’ve read in many years. Since many of his books relate to the work we do with our clients (helping them identify their unique callings and moving forward), we wanted to ask him some questions…
Mike: You’ve probably given away as much free content as any other author – maybe the most! What’s your take on the much debated future of “free”, especially in terms of creating content as art?
Seth: Free doesn’t mean give everything way. Free is a marketing strategy that allows ideas to spread. Obscurity is the alternative, and that doesn’t work for anyone.
I actually stumbled onto Free because my goal wasn’t to do marketing, it was to merely spread ideas. What I discovered is that the more I gave away, the easier it was to sell things I chose to sell.
Mike: Looking back at your early career, did you consciously choose to be a linchpin as you define it, or is it fairly recent revelation?
Seth: I decided to do the work of standing out when I was 17. As a canoeing instructor at a camp in Canada, I didn’t have a lot of choice… if I had worked to fit in, I would have failed. It turns out that being generous, being remarkable and working hard to make a difference are not only effective, they’re fun as well. Once I started I was hooked, and it’s actually difficult to stop.
Mike: One of the great things about your book is its beautiful and challenging content for both leaders and employees. Both business and non-profit leaders can feel pressured to “play it safe”. What would you say to leaders of organizations about being a linchpin, and creating a culture where this mindset thrives?
Seth: I’d offer them the alternative of being standardized and boring. If you do that (fit in), why exactly will we choose you? Boring is not a growth strategy.
Mike: I’ve heard you’re preparing a version of one of your books for the iPad. How essential is additional multimedia artistry for important books of the future? Or will a great book (text only) always be a great book, and stack up against any multimedia marvel?
Seth:Actually, it’s Unleashing the Ideavirus, at least right now. I think some people will refuse to read a book under any circumstances. I like books, but that doesn’t mean everyone does. If I can open up a new form of media, happy to give it a try!
Here’s a link to Seth’s book site: (http://sethgodin.com/sg/books.asp)
Have you read Linchpin? How has it changed your personal approach to work, leadership or actions in your organization?