Seth Godin: How to Do Work That Matters for People Who Care

– Hey everybody, what’s up? It’s Chase, welcome to another episode of the Chase Jarvis Live
Show here on CreativeLive. You all know this show. This is where I sit down
with incredible humans. I do everything I can
to unpack their brains with the goal of helping
you live your dreams in career, in hobby, and in life. My guest, you will know him immediately as I start revealing some
of the things about him. He’s, I think he’s done 18
books, global bestsellers. He created a couple of start-ups, he is the creator of altMBA. We’re here to talk about his new book called “This is Marketing”. It’s the one and only, the inimitable Seth Godin in the house. (energetic percussion music) (applause) We love you. – Thanks, man, thank you for having me. – Thank you so much. – Been looking forward it. – Oh, well, I confess, we
were talking a little bit before the camera started rolling. We have done another interview
a couple of years ago and I, it was super engaging for me. I personally have watched
it a couple of times to take the nuggets out of it that you have put into your books. I just devoured this, I got galley. Thank you for overnighting it. I don’t know, maybe,
Stephanie or someone– – Yeah, she’s great. – Overnighted it and
just crushed this thing as I was flying across the country to come sit with you today. This to me feels different
than a lot of your other books. You know, books like the Purple Cow, there’s 18 of ’em so I won’t list them, but I felt like those all
took on very specific things about marketing, about
audience, about engagement. This to me is like a bible. This to me is like you
put it all into one place. So was that intentional,
am I reading that into it or is that intentional
like you packaged it all? To me this is like– – Yeah, I don’t think that was the intent; it’s what happened. The intent was– – You started out with
something and, yeah. – No, I spend a lot of, I
don’t do any consulting, but I spend time with people I care about helping them achieve
where they’re trying to go and it tends to be
something that many people would call marketing problem. And to help them, I
built this online seminar called The Marketing Seminar
and 6,000 people have taken it. And the cool thing, as you
know from doing the same thing is you can watch what’s
resonating, what’s changing people. – Yeah. – So it’s 50 lessons, it takes 100 days. And I’m taking notes and adjusting it, and then I realize some people aren’t gonna devote that kind of time. – Yeah. – I have something I wanna teach them and that’s what led to the book. And as I was writing the book
I realize it’s really a book about how we market to ourselves, about the story we tell ourselves, about our sufficiency, our worth, our assertions, our contribution. And so I had to lay that
whole groundwork out. And then on top of it talk
about how other human beings hear us and see us.
– Yeah. – So there are no pages that say, Tuesday afternoons are
the best time to tweet. And there’s nothing that says, here’s how you make SEO work better Because those are tiny, tiny tactics. And they don’t separate
winners from losers. What matters is doing work that
matters for people who care. And a lot of the people
who are watching this want to do work that matters. But we trip ourselves up because we think that we then have to
become an evil marketer and spam the world and I
don’t think that’s true. – Well, you’ve laid out
a very convincing case and there’s lots of places where we could start this conversation. I don’t wanna just talk about the book– – Absolutely, yeah. – But I do wanna like get
right into it because it’s, having just consumed it’s
very, very fresh for me. But talk about the smallest audience. – So that’s probably the
most controversial idea for the first pass through the book. You may have heard about
lean entrepreneurship and you should make the
minimum viable product. – MVP as they call ’em. – And if you look back to the
early courses you launched you wouldn’t launch one of those today. But you need to put it into the world, not ’cause it’s lousy,
’cause it wasn’t lousy, but because it’s primitive. But what primitive means
is I solved a small problem for somebody and I can see how it works, and that has been proven to
work over and over again. Well, in marketing, I wanna argue that we’ve all been trained to pitch the largest possible audience. Because for spams–
– Total investable market where we’ve got all these acronym– – Exactly. – And talking about how you’re
supposed to only think big and words like scale
total addressable market that drive me crazy, but– – Exactly, gross rating
points, gross, right? What if we did the opposite? What if we got specific? What if we said, if there
were 100 people I changed, 200 people I taught, 1,000
people who were my patrons, what if we could do
that, would it be enough? It wouldn’t be magic, it
wouldn’t be a homerun, but would it be enough? If the answer is yes,
then we become specific and obsessed with that. Because if you can’t pull that off, well then you’re not an artist. But if you can pull that off,
you know what they’ll do? They’ll tell their friends. Because it’s so extraordinary
they have to share it and then it gets bigger and bigger. But we begin by having
the guts to be specific as opposed to hiding behind infinity. – So you said, I gotta make that enough. Enough for what? Enough to get started,
enough for life, enough for, like what’s the enough for? Give me the–
– Exactly. So there are two kinds of enough. The first enough is, is it enough for me to make my next piece of work? Is it enough to fuel this journey? Because artists can be insatiable. They can want more ’cause they think they have something to give. We’ve noticed that. (laughs) But then the second enough, which I don’t talk about in the book which I’ll talk about a lot in my book, is what happens to your happiness, what happens to your craft when you define whatever you have as enough for now? Because if you can live in sufficiency, it’s way easier to be generous
’cause you’re not drowning. Drowning people don’t offer
life jackets to other people. But the act of offering a
life jacket to somebody else that connection that comes from that actually supports our craft,
but we have to tell ourselves the story of sufficiency, not I’m done. But I did that, this happened, now what? – Yes, I think there’s something about it feels complete, the
way you just phrase it, it feels completely
different than our product because you’re just, you’re trying to give people that, in that small subset in
experience, an 11 experience– – Exactly. Exactly, right? – And it feels, to me
they’re like tours of duty, I don’t like military analogies really, but it’s like you get in,
you did a tour of duty, you gave them what they
needed at that moment and then you’re learning. And it’s not, I’ve always had this debate inside of CreativeLive
or whenever I looked at other founders and friends
who are building products, you hear this MVP, and
if you look at a triangle of like the bottom is
like it actually does what it supposed to and
then the middle is like it’s got some nice polish
and the top is like it’s extraordinary,
everybody tries to slice through the bottom middle section, like it does a little bit of something which there’s no emotion around it. I hate minimum viable products– – Well, but that’s a
wrong definition of MVP. That’s what people are
telling you an MVP is but they’re wrong. – They’re slicing it the wrong way. – Correct. – Yeah, I don’t remember,
I saw a diagram somewhere. And so the fact that I don’t love MVP helped me really get
into this very quickly, but I think that the
idea of a small audience is it feels risky to people. – That’s right. – And is it a thing you have to get over or is this a risk that you have to sell inside of your organization? Like what’s, how do we think about it? How do we give, people who
are considering doing this, how do we give ’em tools to persevere? – This is brilliant. You should edit my next book. These are brilliant questions. There’s a difference between
feels risky and is risky. The risk is–
– Say that again. There’s a difference
between feels and is, okay. – Right? The riskiest thing you can
do is make average stuff for average people and
pitch it to the masses. The riskiest thing you can do is, say, we’re gonna be the next
Banana Republic, right? This is like not a lot of
chance that that’s gonna work. The safest thing you can do is, say, there are eight people at table four, if I can go bring magic to table four even though I’ve got a
long shift ahead of me if I act like it’s there, the only chance those people ever gonna have ’cause it is, to have the experience of
a lifetime here, right now, that’s the safest thing you can do. Not worry about the people who haven’t even clicked on open table,
not worry about the people who are thinking about
a restaurant to go to. Table four, what’s happening at table four ’cause if you can change
their life even this much– – Yeah. – They’ll come back and
they’ll bring their friends. And when you think about
the growth of my projects, of your projects, isn’t that
what they’re about, right? Like the brilliant insight,
I was telling my wife about the brilliant insight of here it is, it’s live, for the, people
came for free, great, and now it’s going to cost. How can that make sense? Well, because the people you changed are now your sales force. – Yeah.
– Right? And so does it feel risky, you bet. Why does it feel risky? It feels risky ’cause you
have to make an assertion, because you have to go to
people and say, I made this. And if you say to a
special person I made this and they say I hate it, it hurts. Whereas, if you just
stand on the street corner and say to everyone I made this, there’s so many bystanders, you feel safe. So what I’m pushing people to do, because the internet feels vast. – Yeah. – It’s not a mass medium,
it’s a micro medium. It’s the smallest medium ever created next to a billion other small media. So you don’t get to be
in front of the internet. When I was at Yahoo, the
homepage was sold out two years in advance ’cause
amateur marketers with money say let’s buy the
internet, buy the homepage. But it wasn’t worth anything. – Remember those takeovers
and stuff, I remember that. I remember that, yeah.
– It was worth nothing. Because it was way better to
be in front of the right person on the right day for
the right reason to say, this thing, instant yes. And if you can’t build an instant yes, then all the spamming of
your friends and family isn’t gonna make it any better. – So you talked, I loved how you framed it which is, it’s actually the
least risky thing you can do is focus on one table. But you have to believe, like somewhere in the back of your head, you’re letting fires, other fires, burn. – Sure. – ‘Cause like you said, somewhere someone’s having a problem on open table, somewhere, I love the
restaurant analogy by the way and I think a lot of us had been servers at some point in their
lives so we can relate, and you’ve got table six
which they just got sat and you haven’t given them their drinks but the willingness to
focus on table four, is it table four, I’m already lost. – Yeah, table four. We love table four.
– We love table four. But the willingness to focus on them. When you put it as you have, it’s unequivocally the right thing to do. And then the challenge, the
next challenge that I see– – Exactly, is what do you
do with your resources? – Is, yeah, what next? So I did, I was super excited, I did a great job with
table four, but now– – Does doing a good job
with table four take time or does it take love? And that’s the distinction. So most of us are super lucky, we don’t do physical labor anymore, we don’t dig a ditch for a living, we don’t work in an
overheated nuclear power plant fixing gaskets, right? We do emotional labor. And emotional labor is also
exhausting but it’s different. So you have seen in the last 12 hours a receptionist or a frontline person coasting through their day. They’re not getting paid enough, they’re not led well,
they have bad conditions so they’re not exerting emotional labor. The question is in the
same amount of time, could they have made a difference for you? A flight attendant, a waiter, a senior vice president
of talent relations go anywhere on the spectrum. What does it mean to look
someone in the eye and say, I’m really glad you’re
here, ’cause that exchange didn’t take any longer than
your tables over there. – Yeah.
– Right? So I’m not arguing that we need to make every restaurant
the Union Square Cafe. What I’m arguing is the
sense of sprezzatura, this Italian word for
“effortless care”, right? I’m here for you, that
takes emotional labor just as much emotional
labor as making a painting that isn’t like everybody else’s painting. In both cases, we’re having to wrestle with that other thing inside of us called heart, if you want. That is why most
conversations about marketing tend to be about tactics
’cause now I don’t have to expose my fear. – Right. – And that’s not where I’m going. I’m trying to help people see there’s more opportunity than ever but you’re not gonna find
it by learning tactics, you’re gonna find it by
marketing to yourself and believing that the world
deserves what you have to say. – So I wanna hinge Max’s question around the point you
just made about seeing. So give us the connection
between seeing and being seen. – Right. – I think it’s a really
central point of the book. I think, it might even be– – The subtitle, yeah.
– Yeah, is it? Oh yeah, you can’t be seen
until you learn to see. So help me understand exactly
what you mean by that. And I think, I understand
you don’t want it to be too tactical, but what does that, what precipitates when you understand that you can’t be seen until you see. What precipitates from that? – So toddlers have a deservedly bad rap because they’re selfish, narcissists. (laughs) Me, me, me all the time. The toddler never comes
up to you and says, how was your day, right,
’cause the toddler just wants to be seen and fed. Marketers are like toddlers
and that they’ve worked hard to make something and now me, bring it on, I want more clicks, I
want more page views, I want better Google traffic, right? The thing is that selfishness cannot stand in a world where we have lots of choices. ‘Cause if I can bestow
my attention on anybody, why should I bestow it on a toddler? I don’t need to. I’ll just go over here. So what it means to see before being seen is to say that person I seek to serve, what’s the story in their head, what’s the narrative in their head? There’s this great new word called sonder which means realizing that other people also have a noise in their head that way you have a noise in your head. And for most of us that’s a revelation. You mean other people have a noise and it’s not the same as my noise? So once you accept that there’s
that noise in their head that they don’t know what you know, that they don’t want you want, that they don’t believe what you believe you can learn to see them for who they are and where they’re going. If you can do that, you
know what they’re gonna do? See you in return. But we have to go first. And particularly when we’re
not a Fortune 500 company, when we’re the sole
practitioner, small folks like you and me and the artists, that’s all we got, but it’s
enough, it’s more than enough because everyone is thirsty for that. And in the altMBA we spend
an enormous amount of time teaching people to see,
to see the world as it is, to see that other people
have their own narrative. And once you gain that
empathy you can serve better. – So that makes a ton of sense to me. And I’m, as, I think hopefully
everyone who’s watching and listening they’re like thinking about how this applies to them. So I’m sitting here doing
the same thing, selfishly, trying to create a conversation here– – It’s not selfish at all. That’s why I came, yeah. – I’m trying to like learn in the process. And I remember writing a blog post some time ago and it was called Stop Trying to Get
Everybody to Like Your Work. – Yeah. – And it’s I think been
shared 18 or 20,000 times or something–
– Deservedly. – And what I realized
at some point is that if you’re so busy trying to
get everybody to like your work when the reality is, is just
do the math for a moment and like how many do
you actually need with, especially if you’re
an independent artist, solopreneurs and like that, how many people do you actually need to make your thing successful? And what I learned from you
is it’s not even successful, how you like do tour of duty number one, like what is that number,
and when you realize how small that number was– – It’s even worse, though, ’cause if you try to please
the person in the back– – Right. – You’re gonna stop pleasing
the people you care about. So I gave a speech in
Mexico six months ago and I’m ashamed at what I did. And I’m saying this story out loud so I could tell it to myself. So it’s in a convention center, worst place to give a speech. It’s simultaneous translation, worst conditions to give a speech. And it’s 2,000 people and I’m up there and I’m doing my work and I feel like I’m doing it pretty well
and in the third row is a woman on her cell phone. She’s not listening to her
cell phone, she’s talking. – Oh. – She’s talking on her
cell phone in the third row while I’m up there doing my thing. And I just, my mentor Zig
Ziglar taught me not to do this but I couldn’t help myself. I focused all my energy on this woman and I kept interjecting
references to social media and how we can’t put it
down and hang up the phone. – She’s talking louder.
– Right. I got, can you be quiet, please. I’m on the phone here. And I know that I deprived
the people in that room who were there for me of my best self. How dare I do that? And it’s even worse when there
isn’t someone on the phone, you’re just imagining so that
when you’re sitting there typing or drawing or,
you’re imagining the troll, you’re imagining the non-believer and what they’re gonna say. Maybe it’s your mother-in-law,
maybe, who knows. And then you start averaging
it out to make them happy. You start delving it
down to make them happy. No, no, no, no, wrong, do the opposite. How can you make them even more unhappy? How can you make it even
less of what they want? So if you’re a contemporary artist, don’t make it more like Norman Rockwell because Norman Rockwell
already did Norman Rockwell. He’s taken. Make it more like you. And the person, the
Morley Safers or whoever, who hated contemporary art, not for you. Don’t even come in the building. – Yeah.
– Not for you. Warning sign: this is not for you. And as soon as you have the freedom and the confidence to do that, your work keeps getting better. – It takes guts, though.
– Yeah. – I think this is, like you
have to let things burn. And part of, especially for new, oh, actually I came to say I like it. And every table that I’ve ever sat at at a bunch of different levels that is not the commonly held belief. – Right. – ‘Cause there’s a desire to please. – Plus we gave the critics a microphone. They didn’t used to have one, now they do. – Right. So I’m gonna reference Brené Brown, she keeps a very short list of people, about six people, in a
little teeny piece of paper, fold it up in her wallet, she brought it, she showed it to me
before which is a great, I think it’s a great way of thinking which this is what I care about, these are the people that
I care about what they say and if you’re not in the
arena, you’re not in this list, I don’t care. And what I took from your book is that if we can take a similar mentality and focus it on how we
talk about our products or services and who we are– – Yup. – That we’re gonna be
infinitely better off. – Happier and more of service to the people we’re
trying to serve, right? If you run a non-profit and
you’re trying to raise $100,000, who is the best person
to raise $100,000 from? Someone who’s never given money to charity or someone who gives money to charity? It’s pretty clear, right? Okay, among people who
give money to charity, do you wanna call on people who donate to the American Care Society, the American Heart Association and one other old school charity or do you wanna go to people who are eagerly on the frontlines? Well, it depends what
kind of charity, right? So you’re doing work that
matters for people who care and they demonstrate how much they care through their actions. So find people who are already
acting like people who care and make something for
them that they can’t help but be glad you made. – Smallest possible audience. – Viable. ‘Cause possible is one,
you can’t live on one. So what’s the viable,
what’s the one I can live on that will get me far
enough to do it again? And my friend, Brian Koppelman
talks about the question he gets asked the most,
is how do I get an agent. Because the mindset is my
agent will help me get picked. – Yeah. – Well, the way you get
an agent is actually doing work so that an agent will call you. – Yeah, totally, being so busy– – So that an agent will find you. And the way that happens
is you make YouTube video, it doesn’t work, you make
another YouTube video, it spreads a little, you
make another YouTube video, 500 people watch it, now
you’re on to something. Your next one maybe will
only reach 5,000 people but it will change them, it
will change the way they see, the way cameras work, whatever it is. Oh, now the phone rings,
because you did something worth seeking out. – How do we get people, I’m saying, well, maybe people refers to me or someone who might be listening, how do we lean in to this concept? I can understand intellectually that, hey, as soon as I make
something for everyone I’ve actually made it for nobody. I understand the math but
actually doing that thing and it’s sort of an inward journey– – Yup. – How do we make that habit when it is certainly not intuitive? It’s not what you’ve been told. This information is not in other books, it’s about total addressable market, how do you make a product that scales– – Exactly. – And I know and understand
and respect those people who build those huge scale businesses, the Airbnbs, the LinkedIns
that they’ve been on the show. – Sure. – So how do you reconcile that we have to make something small and individual and unique and (mumbles). – Try this trick. – This is what I’m looking for. I tricked you into giving me a trick. (laughs) Yes! – Think about the best
teacher you ever had. This teacher did not use
test in measure compliance, standardized testing, and this teacher was not the best teacher
everyone ever had. This is the best teacher you had. What happens if instead
of thinking about yourself as a marketer, you think
about yourself as a teacher? And you are teaching not everyone but people who are enrolled in the journey where you are going. And I would argue, Airbnb and LinkedIn are perfect examples of businesses that did not try to be
everything to everyone. They try to be important to
a very small group of people. And those students of theirs
who were in the early classes said, oh, teach me about this, teach me what it’s like
to be an Airbnb member, teach me what it’s like to have these kinds of interactions in LinkedIn. And as students, you
didn’t have to yell at them because they were
enrolled in your journey. And as a teacher, you’re thinking, oh, that leap was a little too fast, let me go back and do
this a little bit slow, let me find out where that
person is holding back. And once you realize
that you’re a teacher, a generous teacher, not the
kind who’s yelling at people, but a generous teacher,
everything that I’m talking about suddenly fits into place. – I figured I kinda
shot myself in the foot ’cause as soon as I’ve asked that and you started talking,
I was like, wait a minute, and so I had Joe from
Airbnb on and he was like, what they did is they,
originally it was for, they rented their apartment and literally put air
mattresses on the floor at South by Southwest because
they knew that the city would be sold out and they needed to make money to make rent. So talk about small. And then ultimately what
tipped was they came, they opened the market in New York and they came here and they, individually, the founders and a friend, and photographed the insides of Airbnbs ’cause they realized that the photographs were very unappealing. – Yup. – Very non-scalable, very, I
think they did 20 in a weekend. – Exactly. – And that was the thing that Joe credits as tipping the business. – Right, which leads to this
next cool idea as you scale. And you have done this masterfully, which is people like
us do things like this. That sentence is what marketing is. People like us do things like this: establishing the culture. So if you’re a supreme fan, that’s, you know when to go to the store, you know which one hat to wear and which hat you’re
not gonna wear anymore, you know what to sell and
what not to sell, right? That if you ride to Staten
Island Ferry everyday to work you know what people like
us do when we commute. The rules are very clear. Where they did they come from? They’re not laws of physics, they’re just the rules in this moment. So people like us, contemporary artists who are working in 2020,
what do people like us do, where do we show, what is our format? People like us do things like this. So who gets to invent those rules? The cool thing is we do. – Yeah. – So you’re either a victim of those rules or you’re following those rules or you are the inventor of those rules. And because of the way
I came up as a teacher, as someone who helped run a summer camp, inventing cultures, this is what we do. We use expressions like this,
not expressions like that. And when I was running
my internet company, there were 50 of us in one big room, and there was one person
who had a bad temper and I knew that because he had status, if he persisted, it would
be okay to have a bad temper in my company and the
culture was brand new. And I took him aside and I said, if you lose your temper
again in the office there’s no warning, you’re just fired. And he knew I was serious
and he never did it again. He needed to leave the
room then he could lose the temper all he wanted
when he wasn’t around us. But people like us, we
do things like this. And that’s why it’s
different when you walk to the halls of IBM than to
walk to the halls of Microsoft. That wasn’t an accident. Someone picked people like
us do things like this and you get to do that with your work. And as you build your call
them a tribe, the community, whatever you want, you’re
the one who’s determined what those are if you can make assertions and if you could own it and
then we get back to the fear. Who am I? Well, you’re you that’s why
we picked you to go do this. – That is like, I think
that’s a major unlock for a lot of folks. And let’s go back to
the individual creators, the entrepreneurs, people
wanna start something for whom. Deciding, there’s this
fear, I remember this fear in my own work that, but
I wanna show a portfolio that has everything in it. Because when I’m showing
a prospective buyer and they’re gonna look at it and say, oh, he shoots, not just action sports, he also shoots puppies. – Right. – And because I want, I need the money– – Yup. – I need to, but of
course I quickly realized that this is sort of poison
because this is nobody, this is, I do everything for everybody– – Yeah, this is $12 an hour. – Yeah. – So let’s do the freelancer
rift ’cause it’s important. Freelancers are different
than entrepreneurs and most of the people
watching this are freelancers. – Yeah. – I’m a freelancer, I
like being a freelancer, nothing wrong with being a freelancer. But stop pretending
you’re an entrepreneur. Freelancers get paid when they work. They don’t build an asset
bigger than themselves, right? – Yeah. – So I don’t have a building. Okay, great, you’re a freelancer, how do you move up as a freelancer? The answer is you can’t work more hours, you need better clients. Better clients challenge
you to do better work. They respect your good work. They pay you more, they tell other people. Your good work spreads the
word that’s how you move up. Get better clients. So if you go to people and
say, I will do what you want, what do you need, that’s
the kind of client you’re gonna get. But if you go to a client and say, I have a point of view and I’m leading, the only clients you’ll get are ones who have a point of view and are leading. Is that who you wanna be? So will it be much harder
for you to get those clients at the beginning? For sure, that’s a dip.
– Yeah. – But the ones you get through and get to the other side, right? What you want are people
in the world saying, get me Chase, and someone
says, Chase is busy, they say, okay, get me someone like him. That’s what you want to have happened. But first, you gotta
have that first sentence, be true about you, and if you’re the one who does sports photography and puppies, no one’s gonna ask for you. – For sure. There’s something also about,
let’s go back to the story we need to tell ourselves to
believe that we’re good enough and we’re worthy, I think that’s, for, again we’re gonna,
we’ll stay on freelances or independent creators. There’s a I’m not worth
it, I haven’t earned it, I had plenty of advantage, I grew up in a safe home,
I don’t have this brutal, artistic struggle in my history, I don’t have anything to say,
I don’t have a point of view, how am I gonna be, how
am I gonna breakthrough? And what would you tell someone, because I believe that of the 10, if there’s 10 people listening
or watching right now that eight and a half of
them have that feeling. So what do you tell them–
– Me too. – Yeah, okay, me too, that’s good. What do you tell them? – The first thing I’d say is you’re probably not good enough, and no one is, but you could get better. And if you keep getting better, then sooner or later you’ll be better and that’s the journey. So at the beginning, we’re going to people who have a problem and we’re going, not in our head, but trying
to get it into their head what is your problem. Your problem is you have a deadline. Your problem is you have to tell your boss you got this problem solved. Your problem is you feel insufficient. Your problem is the last three people feel like that, blah, blah, bla. But you know what your problem isn’t? Your problem isn’t that
you can’t find a freelancer who is the world’s best at blank, because that’s actually not
part of your narrative at all. That may be the freelancer’s narrative, is that I’m insufficient and incompetent, but that’s not what the
client’s problem is. So if you present to the
client as this person who will make promises and keep them, who will exert emotional
labor to be easy to work with or difficult to work with if that’s what the client is working for, right? But you make an assertion
about what role you are playing as their teacher in that moment. If that’s the story they need to hear you’re doing them a service. And that service is just
like the service you look for when you go out for a nice dinner. When you go out for a nice dinner, the chef isn’t saying to himself, I’m better than David Chang, the chef is just saying,
I’m making a promise, and if you want this
dinner for $24 here it is, and if you don’t want my
point of view about food there’s an Ethiopian restaurant
right down the street. But in order to be a
productive professional we have to present to world and say, I will make this for you,
and they keep the promise. And if you wanna get
better at it tomorrow, please, go get better at it tomorrow. But you can’t wait until you’re perfect before you can present to the world ’cause you’re never gonna get there. – That goes back to the non-MVP, MVP, and when I put something
out in the world– – Exactly. – Make it better, make
the thing that you do, make an 11 out of a 10 and
then make another course or another thing. So when you set out to write this, was this a project that you said, all right, I need to write
the definitive thing, Again I’ve opened with this, it seems different to
me than your other books because it puts its arms
around more big ideas, there’s not a lot of tactic, as you said, and I’m gonna try and
get you to get tactical. I knew you’re gonna resist– – It’s all good. – But did you set out to write that book where you put your arms around, I mean the title was
like “This Is Marketing”, it sets a very bold like,
yeah, it’s right here. – So I’m not good at making
up stories that aren’t true so my true story is this. I did that with Linchpin. Linchpin is the best
book I’ve ever written. I can’t write a better book than Linchpin. I spent a year of my life trying to craft a testament on paper
that I could not deliver in any other form. And I experienced what that felt like and I don’t know if I could do it again. Maybe I could find a reason to care enough to go through that pain. But in this case, what I’m trying to do, as I’m often trying to
do is deliver a value in a format that’s
appropriate for the value I’m trying to deliver. So in the Marketing Seminar, I said, if I can get 6,000 people to
come on this journey with me every day for months I can change them using new teaching technologies we built and it works. But it’s arrogant for me to say, that’s the only way to learn marketing, ’cause a lot of people will say, I don’t have that kind of time, I’m not willing to put
myself into that position. – Yup. – Well there’s this 500-year-old medium that has magical powers and
its biggest magical power is that you can hand it to
your friends really cheap and that you can all go on
the journey at the same time. Your colleagues can all
read it at the same time. So I haven’t written a full-length book in more than five years
because the publishing industry has its own issues. And I said to myself, wait a minute, I have this nail, I have this hammer, why am I, I’ll be a hypocrite, I’ll go back into the
book publishing world because I care to serve people who want to read it in this format. And I am fully aware that
most people on earth 99.9 will not read this book ’cause
they don’t wanna read a book or ’cause they don’t wanna
read a book about this. Fine. But for the people who
wanna go on this journey and bring people around them with them, this was my best effort to do that. And so when I read it as
a book and write as a book I’m not under the illusion that
this is Tequila Mockingbird. I wish I could write Tequila Mockingbird. What I’ve tried to do
instead is share the way I care about people who are
doing this work that matters. And I’m really hoping that people who do the other kind of work
won’t read this book ’cause I don’t want them to
use some of these approaches to manipulate people. We have to own the work we do and so I’m giving people a toolkit and I’m saying, please,
do a work you’re proud of. – Is this an attempt to capture people who wouldn’t
otherwise take the course? – Well, I don’t think
capture is the right word. – Yeah, serve.
– serve, exactly. So I’m trying to teach people– – I’m learning, I’m
slow, but I’m learning. – ’cause you will soon
discover that writing a book is a not very smart
financial endeavor, right? I’m never gonna stand on the corner and try to sell my books,
it’s not worth my time. What I am happy to say to people is if you’re doing work that matters, and I’ve tried really hard to signal everywhere in this book,
that’s who it’s for, then I’ll tell you
everything I know for $20. – Trust is as scarce as attention. – Yeah. – For those who are
listening and watching, I just read the name of, this
is the name of a chapter, Chapter 18. Explain that. – So attention used to be strip
mined by the big marketers. So if you’re over 30 years
old you remember network TV. And network TV was a bargain for 40 years. You always made money on
the TV ads you ran, always. And then cable came and
then the internet came and suddenly attention
is not longer a bargain ’cause there are more
people trying to buy it but they’re not making any new attention. There are more choices
but they’re not making any new attention. So the race for attention is characterized for the last 20 years, that’s
what Purple Cow is about. Okay, so now we’ve got that understood. But then trust has been strip mined where someone says, oh,
I’m in your email box, you sorta know my brand
name or you’re in the store, buyer beware ’cause I
can rip you off once, but I can’t rip you off twice. And so what we’ve done is taught a billion people not to trust, we’ve taught a billion people
to think everyone’s lying, a billion people to be hesitant. – Yeah. – So if you can earn
attention through permission, through the privilege
of having a newsletter or a broadcast like this– – Or subscribing to
someone’s YouTube channel in the case, that example you gave. – Exactly. And you can be trusted, everything else takes care of itself, done, done. – So let’s go then grab
a little of attention a little bit more because that’s, I think that’s what we feel
like we’re always competing for in this day and age. How do you think about attention ’cause I’m trying to think
about a small audience, like what’s the smallest viable audience? – Right. – And then attention,
the attention seems like this big thing that you
need to get a lot of people pointing at you, you need to get people, you need to get people, right, (mumbles). – It’s a great, yes. No, you’re setting it up beautifully. If you have a funnel view of the world you need a million people
to get 10,000 people to get 20 people, right? But if you have the
smallest viable audience view of the world your
classroom has 26 people in it, they are eager to be there. If you didn’t show up, they’d be angry. 26 people, that’s not a
funnel, that’s a classroom. That’s magical. So Banksy doesn’t have to
go do a media tour, right? Banksy doesn’t need a funnel. Banksy is Banksy. And the people who care
about Banksy follow Banksy. He doesn’t even want them
to follow him sometimes. And that is where you
wanna go as an artist, is that your work matters enough that people will choose
to pay attention, right? Jerry Garcia didn’t have
to do a sponsorship deal with Dove or Axe deodorant, right? He was Jerry Garcia. People lived in a bus
to follow him around. – Yeah. – Now please don’t say,
but I’m not Banksy, and I’m not Jerry, because their genes are the same as yours. This is not about God-given talent, this is about caring
enough to change a small group of people and it
doesn’t have to be very many. The initial years when The Dead
was really becoming The Dead they grossed a couple hundred
thousand bucks on the road, it wasn’t huge amounts of money, wasn’t huge numbers of people. But the song lives on
because in that moment an exchange was made between people who wanted to be in the room and musicians who wanted
to be in the room. And what’s worth noting is
they had only one top 40 record their entire career even
though they were one of the top 10 grossing
live bands for decades. And the one record they
had almost ruined them because it brought the
wrong people to the show. – That’s fascinating to
think of it like that. Brought the wrong people to the show. – Yup, that’s when the
violence started showing up, the drugs got out of hand
because the people who came for Touch of Grey were outsiders and they didn’t get the joke. – I’m reminded by that story of a friend of mine, I don’t know, he’s a New Yorker, maybe a
mutual friend of Brandon Stanton, who created the Humans of New York. – Yeah. I don’t know him but everyone says he’s– – He’s incredible. And what I love about
his sort of origin story without going into details, he
was a bond trader who failed, lost his job in Chicago, moved
here like with the goal of being in control of how he spent his time, not how much money he made. – Beautiful. – And so, it’s a beautiful set up. And then he tells this
great story about how his first sort of like
and his second like. And it’s hard to think now of someone who the second that they put out a book. It goes to literally the
very top of the list, stays there for several weeks because he’s in an audience
of 25 or 30 million people who’d buy anything that he puts out. And it’s very hard to think of, and that’s why he tells the
story of here’s a photograph of the first photo I ever posted. Actually, it had one comment and no likes. – Yeah, it’s horrible. The first ever comment he did, could you even bother to like it? – Exactly. It’s an extra click and I’m tired. But I think it’s hard for
people to believe or to, I think intellectually,
you can understand it, but emotionally, it’s very hard to believe that going from zero to one is a win. And then from one to two and two to three and that’s where actually if your focus is really on that group because you just don’t see how that, it’s sort of like compounding interesting. You just, what is it if you gave someone– – Double the pennies.
– Yeah, double the pennies. – Takes a month to make a million dollars. – Yeah, takes a month to
make a million dollars or would you rather have
some other big number. So, is your book, we’re trying to just put an end to that and you feel like that’s the stake that you’re trying to put in the ground. It is like stop trying to think big, you have to start small. And is that the core of this book? – I think that it sits in sort of a trio or quartet of ideas. The idea of big is challenging. So if you talk to someone who admires art and you mention Amanda Palmer, they’ll say that the music she’s created,
the footprint she’s made, she had the most successful
music Kickstarter in history, what they don’t realize is when she was in the Dresden Dolls, she got kicked off her label because there were only 20,000 people who are following her work
and buying her record. And when she did her Kickstarter, the most successful
Kickstarter in history, she had 20,000 people. So it’s not millions, it’s 20,000 makes you Amanda
Palmer, that’s all, right? So, don’t sacrifice your
work for a big number ’cause guess what, you probably
won’t get the big number, you’ll just have sacrificed your work. And number two is the big number
isn’t gonna fuel your work, your work is gonna fuel your work and the people you’re teaching. But next to that idea, which
we haven’t talked about yet is two ideas that sit next to each other. The first is status roles,
which is super important when we try to understand the story someone is telling themselves. The short version comes
from Keith Johnstone and, who works in theatre,
but works everywhere, who eats lunch first? When two animals meet in the jungle, who’s gonna eat lunch first? Who’s up, who’s down? Where two characters
meet in the Godfather, who’s gonna move up,
who’s gonna move down? Status roles, they’re everywhere. When you get on the bus, who’s
gonna sit, who’s gonna stand? At the Art Gallery, why
did someone just pay a million dollars for
this painting at this, at Mary Boone, but the same painting on the street corner couldn’t have sold for
100, what did they buy? Looking for status roles. Once you see them, you can’t unsee them. And you can play with are
you trying to sell to people who are moving up? Are you trying to sell people
who are eager to move down? Surprisingly, there’s a market for that. Are you trying to sell
the people who are just working hard to stay
where they are, right? So when the fall fashion stuff comes out, why do people run to buy fall fashion, they don’t have any clothes? Obviously, they have clothes, but they are trying to
maintain their status. And if they don’t have the new clothes, their status will go down. Next to that is this issue of
are we measuring affiliation? Who are we with? Who is like us? Where do we stand with them? Or are we trying to measure dominance? Who are we above? So professional wrestling is
a competition of dominance and that’s all they do is manipulate who’s up and who’s down status wise. And if you’re a fan of Hulk
or whoever it is on top, that makes you feel good. Affiliation is at the parade who’s marching side by side, arm in arm. So one of the challenges
we have as creators is temperamentally, we’re affiliators. Temperamentally, we wanna be in sync. Oh, everyone is wearing
a black turban like– – What do you mean temperamentally? – Before we get to our
craft, we think about– – Before we even start, we
haven’t even started yet. Now, we’re just looking around, right? – We’re not a pro-wrestler
kind who did I beat today? I’m part of a crew kind of person. But then when we do our work, when we do our work, we
have to be willing to break from the system. We have to do something
that hasn’t been done yet. It’s not people like us
do things like this yet. First is just I do things like this. And if you wanna affiliate with me, you’re gonna do things like
this too, and that’s super hard. That’s why if you look
at 10,000 TEDx talks, 9,500 of them are the same because it’s scary to get up and do one. But 500 of them, well, I
never heard that before and they say that person is
an idiot and you delete it, we say, now I believe. You taught me something new,
I wanna be people like that. And that pioneering spirit,
the assertion-making, that’s all artists do. It’s not a craft, it’s the
art of making an assertion that I didn’t know before and now that I know it, you’ve changed me. – You said earlier, but I’m not Banksy, but I’m not fill in the
blank, fill in the blank, what about the people who
are at home saying, yeah, but like, what do I have
that’s original to say? Like what’s my corner of the world? – Yeah, and I don’t think
you’ve tried hard enough. That if you say I have writer’s block, I say show me your bad writing. Once you show me 50,000
words of bad writing, then you can tell me
you have writer’s block. But first, do some bad writing ’cause over time, your bad
writing will get less bad. If the magic of the DSLR is for 300 bucks, everyone has a state of the art object. But you’re a lousy photographer. Do you know why you’re
a lousy photographer? ‘Cause you didn’t take
enough pictures yet. Show me 10,000 pictures. Put the pictures in the
world one at a time. Listen to how they’re resonating with the people you’re seeking to serve. Take more pictures, take more pictures. It doesn’t cost anything,
then come back to me and tell me you have
no photographic talent. But first, do the work. – That is gold. If you are listening to this, you need to hit that 30
second backward button. If you’re on the podcast right
now, you need to play that. I wanted a photography book. It is called The Best Cameras. The one that’s with you. It was the first book
on mobile photography and it’s said in there
that’s the dirty secret in photography is that you
have to take a lot of pictures to get your work and to find your work. And that is the thing, I just did a great, co-created something with
Apple called Photo Lab, where this program is
in all 500 Apple Stores worldwide every day. And one of the things that
we’re trying to cement in there is that the difference between
a pro and an amateur is that pros see something and
they’ll take 10 pictures of it versus you just see the Grand Canyon, you walk up to the edge of
Grand Canyon, you take a picture and you wonder why the pro, I mean, sure there’s other
distinctions, but you wonder why the pro got a better
photograph than you did and it’s because the pro hiked down, took 10 pictures from down
below, took 15 from above, took pictures of their friends, themselves and I just love the concept of the work. I think it resonates with people who are actually committed to it. Is there a way that that
separates the people who are allowed into the club? Is this like people like
us do things like this? Is doing work a reasonable divider ’cause the people who’ve done
it, the people who haven’t? – Yeah, well, there’s a bunch of dividers. One of them is slowly
fading, which is the divider of what you look like,
where you came from. It’s totally unreasonable, but
it’s true in a lot of places particularly in photography with gender and things like that. Fortunately, I think that
we’re gonna see that fade. But there is a tiny group of lucky people. A tiny group of people who
their first video went viral. I tell you people who from
the day their blog went up, they just kept going and going. I wasn’t in that group
when it came to my writing. I did 120 books as a book packager before I became an author. I wasn’t in that group with my blog. 20 people read my blog every
day for months or years before it was 200, blah, blah, blah. But then I got lucky ’cause Fast Company let me be a columnist. But that luck happened
because I had already written 50,000 words, 100,000
words before that occurred. So, yeah, I think you can look at people. I look at you and say, this
guy has been working generously for decades at this. And people don’t notice
until you had the last zero. And they’re, whoa, look at that. Shake Shack, right? We’ll talk to Danny Meyer
how long Shake Shack took. – Right, the 10-year overnight success. – Maybe 20, yeah. – Probably 20. All right, I wanna read
another chapter title and that’s around price. – Okay. – I think this is an area– – Yeah, I like this one a lot. – This is an area that I
think screws up a lot of even startups like how
we price our product. And certainly, if you’re an individual, I have told the story about
realizing, oh, my gosh, if I charge this much,
I literally only need like 30 clients a year
to make a great living. Oh, my gosh. So then it became about pricing. I think people are two things. One, afraid of talking about
price and experimented with it and two, they’re just
they’re ignorant about it. They don’t know. So, to me, there’s a bunch
of wisdom here on pricing and if you could like put
your arms around that force about how you talk about the book. – Okay, so I’ll start
in a surprising place. If you’re selling to businesses,
begin by understanding it’s not the person’s money, it’s their boss’ boss’ boss’ money. So their engagement with
money isn’t the same as yours. If you’re imagining how you would feel paying $5,000 five for a photoshoot, that’s the wrong question. This person is going to go
to their boss with a story and that story might be all
photographers are the same. I got this one for $500 less. If that’s a story you wanna give them, be prepared to be the cheapest. But there’s a different
story you can give them, which is this trade show
is super important to us. And I managed to pay double so we will never have to worry about whether the photography
comes out all right or not ’cause I got the best person. Well, that story is actually
more appealing to them because that story shows their
boss they put the effort in. So if you are the one and only, if you are the specialist at
shooting trade show booths in Tucson, Arizona, this can
be a waiting list for you. If it’s true, right? Because it’s worth paying extra for that. The low price is the hiding
place of the average creator that you say, well, I
can’t afford to be better ’cause I’m the cheapest. Well, the opposite of that is I’m the best so I can afford to charge extra for people who want the
best, and that is the key. The story they are telling themselves is if I am paying extra, it must be better. I’m the kind of person who wants better, so therefore, I insist on paying extra. And I don’t think it’s immoral
to bring this emotional labor and this effort to somebody
who wants to tell themselves the story they like paying extra. In fact, if you get a choice
of your minimum viable market, why would you pick people
who like paying less? Just pick people who like paying more. – It sounds so simple, but
it’s literally like it’s, the way I talk about it is that it’s like it is almost exactly the
same amount of effort to sell something for
$100 as it is for 1,000. It’s just a different buyer. – Yeah. – So put that lens on the people who are listening right now. Put that lens on it. – Well, if you are going to do the hundred versus the thousand, perfect! – Reframe it as your market.
– No, perfect. Please understand, you’re
not a greedy megalomaniac. If you sell one-fifth as many, you’re still gonna make
twice as much money, right? You can do the math. Hit positive on that. Which means you’re gonna get turned down 80% of the time, right? One-fifth. Fine. So when you get turned
down, what you just heard was not that you’re inferior
that you’re a bad person, what you just heard is
I’m not the kind of person that likes to spend $1,000 on this. Great, congratulations. Here is the phone number of several who likes to sell for 100. Great. I don’t hate you and you don’t hate me, you just want to me, I don’t sell, right? So if you wander into a
fancy boutique and say, hi, I’d like to buy a $9 pair of sneakers, they shouldn’t hate on you, they should just say, the
Payless is six doors down. We don’t sell $9 sneakers,
we sell $900 sneakers. And when you’re ready by
$900 sneakers, we’ll be here. And if you can accept that,
then selling $900 sneakers and making them worth 1,000 is
a fine way to spend your day. – That’s I think a brilliant, that’s another thing you have
to rewind to listen to again and I think that that
creators get that wrong over and over and over again. And that’s the sort of trying
make some for everyone, making it for no one, the
same is true with price. I have found that in small, and again, what you ultimately I think realize this took me a while is
that the sea of people that you’re gonna
encounter is not that huge and there’s a lot of crossover. And for every person that
you are wildly polite and engaged and positive around, but you steer them to somebody else, if they say, oh, it’s 10
grand, oh, I’ve got five and you say no problem. I can introduce you to a lot
of $5,000 fill in the blank. And they’re like, but I really want you and I’m like, oh, no sorry, I’m at 10, and let me introduce you to a five. And what people get hung up on, I’d like to hear your comment about this as soon as I finish my little
narrative here, which is, but when I get 10, I’ll come hire you. Just do it for five now. And when I have a spouse is, that if you become that person, when they get 10 grand,
they’re going to the person who risk 25 and then
they’re gonna offer 10– – ‘Cause that’s the kind
of person that they are. – They’ve categorized you as that person. – And they’ve categorized themselves as the bargain seeker, right? So the challenge in that
setting as you’ve pointed out is that once you lower
your price to that person, you have signaled to them
I’m the kind of supplier that likes to work with
people who negotiate and hassle about the price, and if that gives you
pleasure, call me, right? And it also makes them at
some level disappointed because they are thinking, I
could’ve gotten them for four. And if you pick your customers right, if the pricing is a
signaling strategy for them, they want you to charge more. And there are plenty of
fields where this is true. Contemporary art,
photography, public speaking that’s what the way it works is, boss, you’re gonna be so excited. He said yes. Not I got a bargain, but they said yes. That’s what you’re bringing to the table. The challenge is the acting as if and the getting the momentum. So one of the ways around it for people for example for photography
is have two kinds of clients. Clients where you work for free and clients where you work for a lot. So if you do photography
for zoos, nonprofits, kids’ schools, et cetera, that filling your portfolio to the edges, you can then look a
corporation in the eye and say, I’m $10,000 a day and they say, yeah, ’cause those are charities. When you started charity, please call me. And so now, I’ve divided the
world into different buckets and that’s totally appropriate. Another way to do it. Shepard Fairey, if you want to
the original Shepard Fairey, it’s $80,000. But every month, he puts 100 lithos on his thing for $800 and you can sell them on eBay for profit. He doesn’t care. That’s all good because
he’s put this into the world treating different people differently. But if you’re gonna treat
different people differently, you gotta have rules ’cause otherwise, everyone’s gonna feel like you’re not treating them fairly. – It’s a really interesting distinction. I like to say work free or full price, but stay out of the middle. – Yeah. – And when someone is asking
you to sort of negotiate down, that’s when you wanna send
them to somebody else. I think it is the pricing
psychology is fascinating and I could talk about it forever, but I wanna move on to something that is I wanted to get to it, but you
just gave me the perfect door and that is it’s not about
sort of them hating you because you cost 10 grand
or you didn’t negotiate and you want to negotiate, it’s separate the creator from the work. You did a beautiful job, sum
that up at the end of the book. So I think that’s also a big hang up for the people who are
watching and listening and give us a way to think about
it that deliver us, please, from this challenges that we have. – If Jerry Seinfeld gives
a standup performance in a club in New York and no one laughs, it could be ’cause he’s
having a bad night. Or it could ’cause
everyone in the audience is from an Italian tour group and doesn’t speak a word in English. He shouldn’t beat himself
up if it’s the second one. They just speak a different language. So when you go to somebody
and say this is what I make and they get angry at you or in your head, you think
they’re angry at you, that’s not really what’s happening. What’s happening is they have
their own noise in their head. They know what they know,
they want what they want, they believe what they believe
and you can dance with that. And they maybe wanna be seen
by you having those feelings. Or maybe you just wanna disengage, but has nothing to do with your work. – You’re the human.
– Right? They’re not saying, how dare
you even breathe the oxygen on the same planet as me. What they’re saying is it’s not for me and they’re just not polite
enough to say it that way, and you, your own worst boss,
are busy beating yourself up for being inferior as opposed
to saying who does want this? Who does want to dance
with what I’ve made? And then you have to be
honest enough to say, you know what, it’s not that good. I’m gonna make something better. – That’s huge. I think a reframing, if
you’ve had that self-doubt, which is I can say I believe
we all have at some point. There is this reconciliation between when you put something
out there in the world and it’s crickets, what’s your response? Was it not good enough? Was it about me or did I do
something that was disingenuous? Was it that I served table
four’s food to table six and they got there like, I did not order the chicken cacciatore. Like all of those things are possibly true and we have to fix them
the internal self-talk, which is the problem
for this cross-section of the people that I think
we’ve decided to serve. – Right, and the good news is you and I will never run out of stuff to talk about ’cause it’s not like we say, okay, done because it’s so deep. It’s there for a long time. You just have to dance with
it, you can’t make it go away. – I promised I would handcuff
you to the chair if I could. I’d promise to use–
– Tactics, bring it on. – Okay. So, I wanna get some tactics and I know you don’t
love talking about them, which is part of the reason
I want you to go there, but there are set of
habits that have created the books that you’ve put out there. There are set of habits that
whether their daily habits or work habits or how you
think about things help us, I have never really heard you
talk about like your routines and I think it’s, I don’t know, I’m not even gonna fill
in the blank for you. But can you give us something,
like what does it look like? And I understand that people, like these are potentially
very esoteric things, but I hope that they help
other people understand what’s possible. You can actually craft your own thinking. You’re not beholden to
what your phone says the first thing in the
morning when you pick it up, but what are some of your
personal habits for creating? – Here are the ones that
I think are universal. – Well, don’t tell me
everything about everybody ’cause they need to
*know nothing about me. – No, habits of mind that
I think are applicable to other people, right? The fact that I’m a vegetarian,
probably irrelevant, and I don’t think becoming a vegetarian will make you a better *man. – Fair. – Neil Gaiman’s said
that when he feels stuck, what he needs to do is get bored because if he gets bored
enough, he invents something to keep himself entertained. That’s how he gets unstuck. So, I’ve tried very hard to eliminate all the things that I can
that make me feel like I’m busy and productive when
I’m not actually productive. So I don’t go to meetings and I don’t have a television. So right there, I have seven
or eight hours every day that most people don’t have. I don’t use Facebook
and I don’t use Twitter. That’s another hour and a half not to mention the
drama that goes with it. So already, I start every day
with an eight-hour head start over almost everybody else. And then what I’ve chosen
to do is pick places or digital spaces that are sacred in the sense that I only enter them with the intent of
coming out with a trophy, with a gift with something to share. So, I’m not gonna open this word processor unless I’m there to write
a certain kind of writing. And for me, with my blog, I
was on Typepad for 15 years. The Typepad user interface
made me a better writer because if it opened, I
knew why it was there. I knew why I was there. I knew what this was for. And so these practices, every few years, I invent
a uniform for myself that I wear at work ’cause if I put on the smock,
if I put on the lab coat, I just got one the other day the new one. If I put that on, there’s a reason. We’re here to do stuff. And surgeons are great at this. They wear a mask, they wear gloves. They’re like bank robbers,
except they don’t just like say, yeah, I’m having a coffee. Okay, I’ll do some surgery now. There is this process
that makes you a surgeon. And salespeople, famously with some guy who’s bothering him finally sat down and he said I’m not here
to sell you anything. And so he’s like, then why
are you wasting my time? If you’re here to sell me
something, sell me something. Well, say to yourself, I’m
here to get better at my craft. I’m here to get better photography. I’m going to shoot 400
pictures of this tulip and I’m not gonna stop until there is 400. We do reps in the gym, we
should do reps with the camera. And so for me, if an editor
comes back to me with a book that I’ve handed to them with comments, I don’t get all defensive,
I say thank you. Can you believe that this person
cared enough in this moment to say something to you for you? And as soon as I say thank you, I’m wearing a different hat, right? Whereas Amazon reviews,
haven’t read one in five years. I don’t think anyone should
read their Amazon reviews or their Yelp reviews. I’m never gonna write that book again. Why are you giving me feedback
on the book, it’s done. I’m never gonna write it again. I’ve never met an author
who’s better at writing ’cause they read their one-star reviews. What those one-star reviews
say is this book wasn’t for me. Thanks for letting us know. We don’t need to read anything else, you just announced it’s not for you. Okay, get it. Thank you. And so, if I’m asking
for advice from people, which I like better a word than feedback, I’m asking the right people who are gonna give me
advice in the right spirit. I’m not walking up to a
stranger on the corner interrupting them and say,
and what do you think of this? Because it’s not for them
and they’re not trained in how to give me a good advice. – It’s so obvious when you
think about it that way. I’d love it. Sorry, keep talking because– – No, no, I mean, so all of
these things are the practice of someone who calls
himself a professional and we expect it from surgeons. But somehow, we expect that
writers will just drink a lot, not dress very well and
complain about writers block That’s not what Isaac Asimov taught me. Isaac wrote 400 hundred
books as a published author and he wrote 400 books by
getting up every morning and typing until noon ’cause
he was a professional. So, generally, when I see people who, the reason I don’t share
what I had for breakfast is because that puts me
in a different place. And what I’m trying to argue
is I’m in the same place, but I’m trying to do it as a professional using these tools for a reason. This book is not me. I wrote a book, if you don’t like the book, it doesn’t mean you don’t like me, it means you didn’t like the book. And if I didn’t do that, I
could never write another word ’cause the thought that
there are tens of thousands of people who will now
announce they don’t like me, I’m not up for that. I can’t handle that. – So, you just gave me a thing
that I haven’t heard from you on any other place, which
is like this is a process. I’ve been reading your blog for, how many years you’ve been doing that now? – Off and on, like 20. – Ken and me are the first
people on that platform and certainly one of the last. Didn’t like WordPress environment. – Yeah, it’s a long story,
but now it’s at – Okay. What does it mean to
write to write every day? Like you sit down and– – How can you not do that? Why wouldn’t everyone do that? I don’t understand, it’s free. You can put in someone else’s name on it. The fact that I know that
tomorrow, a blog is going out makes me a better thinker
and a better human today because I know I’m going
to write something tomorrow that has my name on it,
that’s going to stick around about my view of the world. Why wouldn’t everyone
want to be able to do that even if no one read it? I would definitely write
my blog if no one read it because this chronicling
of what did I noticed today helps me see the world for free. And I get to feel like
I’m producing something even if I don’t get paid for it, even if I don’t have to argue
with a publisher, an editor, it’s just here. I thought of this. Use it if you want to. I’ve never once had a blog
post win the Internet. I’ve never had one of my
posts go viral and be a hit. Some have more traffic than
others, but it looks like this, it’s never like this and
I think that’s great. ‘Cause if this happened
to me, I would be tempted to try to make it happen again. Top 10 ways to increase
your creative performance. I share my secrets in this
exclusive post, right? But I don’t wanna do that ’cause that’s not what the blog is for. – You just captured probably
10 million blog posts, but like almost probably word per word. I love it. All right, so the book
“This Is Marketing”, you talked about a couple
of the other class, let’s talk about the longer class. – So there’s the altMBA,
which is my flagship doing it. and that is a 30-day intensive. People in 45 countries
have taken it so far. We’re up to 2,600 alumni. It changes people’s lives. It’s really cool. I’m not in it. There’s no video, there’s
no secret content. That’s not what it is. It’s got coaches and video conferences and cohorts of people who
become friends for life. So that’s our flagship in the sense that if you’re enrolled in that leveling up and you wanna commit to it,
we have a place for you. And then the marketing seminar, which starts in January 2019 again is this community discussion board that’s only for the
people who’ve signed up. There’s a video of me every two days, seven minutes long or so, and then I give you a challenge. And then the whole group shares their work and comments on their work. So when it’s up and running, there’s a new post every minute. Every three minutes. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and you can’t fall behind
’cause it’s always happening and it unfolds over 50
videos over 100 days, but we keep it open for 200 days. And what people come in and
say, how can I find a tactic to sell more fur coats? And they leave with this
whole student-teacher mindset of service and maybe a different project, but it’s the connections
between and among. I’m just there to start a fire. It’s that that that’s
the future of education as far as I’m concerned. I think free video online
is gonna stick around ’cause it’s powerful. If you’re gonna pay for it,
I think it’s gonna involve interactions with other
people to get you to be momentarily uncomfortable
on your way to being better. – Beautiful. Congratulations on the book. “This is Marketing”. Mr. Seth Godin, you’re a legend. Super honored to have you on this show. You didn’t realize that you’re handcuffed and we’re gonna talk
for another two hours. We’re gonna turn the cameras off and talk for another two hours while
I got him here in New York. No, huge thank you. Inspiration to so many. I appreciate you being on the show, man. – Thanks for everything. – And for everybody home,
you know where to get Seth. Pick this up, it is a gem
and thanks for tuning in. See you tomorrow. – Go make a run. (relaxing music)

73 thoughts on “Seth Godin: How to Do Work That Matters for People Who Care

  • Another excellent interview! I found myself taking notes and saying oh there's more! Thank you for this rich and engaging conversation this morning.

  • On the pricing, it's a little hard to hold firm on your prices, when you're the one going after a new client. I mean, how do you position yourself as the expert who commands the higher price, when you're the one approaching them?

  • “The art of making an assertion I didn’t know before, and now that I know it, you have changed me.”
    Fabulous interview, thank you for creating this and sharing!

  • Tremendous value and depth here. The biggest thing I took away from this is that feedback, whether positive or negative, on something I create is not a reflection of me necessarily. It could just be it’s not what they are looking for. Instead, focus on creating for who you want it to be for…and focus on the process of always getting better.

  • "You're probably not good enough. But you could get better and if you keep getting better sooner or later, you'll be better" – I listened to that about 4 or 5 times. So solid.

  • Seth, I hope you'll take this as constructive criticism: It's hard to hear/understand what you are saying when you lower the tone in your voice (which is common in the way you're speaking), especially if one is listening in a car or an environment a bit noisier. If I turn the speaker up, the other parts get too loud. It would help me and maybe others to stay focused the conversation at hand. The rest is great, as always.
    To note that I actually have the same issue in my speech, I mumble the last words of a sentence, but gotten better in the past years 🙂

  • "Show me 10,000 pictures … take more pictures, take more pictures. Then come back to me and tell me you have no photographic talent. But first, do the work." That is perfect. Such a great answer. We let ourselves off the hook by using the no talent excuse. Talent BUILDS. Talent is DEVELOPED. Do the work.

  • I love listening to you (Seth) talk about this book on all my favorite platforms! Great questions, Chase. SO much of this resonates with me. I sing/play guitar in a band, and performing to intimate/small audiences is so much more pressure in a way. ALso, if someone "boos", it is good reason to Rock Harder. Much Love to you both!

  • lol 1300+ uploads in and still getting better sloooooowly. I can feel the tension growing for a snap though, like on a fault line.

  • "Film is like water." my first photography teacher said if I remembered nothing else, we should remember that. That was a black and white photography class before digital came along and made it even easier to carry around than water! I have taken hundreds of thousands of pictures. Most of them are crap. Every now and then I get a great one. Just recently I am actually confident enough in my writing, filming, photography, singing–all my modern-day storytelling mediums to put my creativity on display, receive feedback, and slowly get better with practice, practice, practice.

  • One of the best interviews with Seth during this book launch tour. Thanks so much, Chase. New to your work, but a long time Seth fanatic. Subscribed.

  • really great conversation! thanks for sharing. One suggestion though – why is there little yellow scratchy marks in the video? If it's for visual effect, I think you don't need those, it's a bit distracting.

  • What a great interviewer you are. You follow your interviewee beautifully, something that is hard and not done by most interviewers on YouTube. Thank you!. You are both brilliant.

  • Chase, you might want to check your encode settings for the glitchy upper right corner on Seth's camera angle. I get similar errors sometimes when using Adobe's "maximum render quality" when exporting (assuming you're using Premiere).

  • GREAT conversation! I rewound the part about pricing 3x's. It totally changed my perspective on how to deal with potential clients wanting services I don't sell at the low price that they want to pay.

  • “Jerry Garcia didn’t have to get a Sponsorship deal with Dove Soap or Axe..” 😂😂😂😂

    I LOVE Seth Godin.

    He ALWAYS provides the most valuable insights into human needs and how to help others…

    He’s the Dalai Lama Of Marketing.

    He comes from a place of compassion.

    He always starts with the fundamentals of serving others…

    He distills everything down to a core message:

    Care first, serve first, offer your help to those who need the help, they’re the ones who want your help.

  • I've been listening to "This is Marketing" on Audio since listening to this as a podcast. I've been rewinding chapters so I don't miss an idea. Absolutely awesome to inspire me to keep going.Thank you Chase for sharing Seth Godin's latest work.

  • This video should have a million likes! The depth was amazing. Thanks, Chase, you are an amazing interviewer, wow, we can see that was flow. Amazing. Keep up the amazing work, it is inspiring me on my own youtube channel in Portuguese. 🙂

  • Chase it's been a while since I've listened, and after listening to this I'm going to go back and listen to every one I missed for the past several months. Your content has been a huge blessing for me and a lot of motivation. Thank you for doing it. Seth Godin is great, thanks for having him again. Hope to meet you some day.

  • Fantastic interview witch SPOT ON questions, in which I recognized myself a lot! Thanks for this very helpful video!

  • I just want to say Thank You so very much for this perspective. I discovered Seth for the first time tonight on YouTube. Wow! The third, hour-long video in a row. I will have to read his books. I'm an artist/painter, and now a digital artist also. I've been creating for over 30 years, but always hanging back and not getting my artwork out there. I really think this video has made all the difference in the world to my mindset. Thank You from the depths of my soul, both of you, Chase and Seth. Peace.

  • Dude. You're awesome! Its hard to find good interviews. Also, didn't know you were the founder/CEO of Creative Live 😮 always loved the concept of it. Keep doing you man. Its working. Also, you got a new subscriber.

  • Such practical wisdom for those who can grab onto the concept of minimum viable audience. We are all taught to go after the largest possible audience, yell the loudest, and hope to sell something. Taking the opposite approach is so freeing for a small marketer like me, and for those of use who are thoughtful by doing work that matters for people who care. This is solid gold for people who are willing to give it a shot.

  • Seth is an Amazing guy! He is the one I follow. The more I read and listen to his stuff the more I admire him. He nudges me to think a bit deeper and choose to be better drip by drip…Step by step..

  • It's like one day you see Chase riding a dragon and you follow them to see God and He says, "Go see Godin. He knows this stuff." And here we are.

  • 8:15, the irony is, the original Banana Republic, the small store in Mill Valley, is exactly the kind of business Seth says is the future. It was quirky, based on stories, and of interest to a very small number of people who shared the adventure travel spirit. He should maybe include its story in a future book or talk, because it's a good one that illustrates his philosophy perfectly. But the J. Peterman character on Seinfeld once provided the short version of the same idea: "My stories are what sell these clothes."

  • Chase, you’re a great host. I am so glad that you brought Seth to the show! I learned so much invaluable lessons. Thank you for the great conversation!

  • I agree with many things he says, but practically speaking I'm still lost in terms of how to price yourself as someone of high value, especially when starting out. As a complete nobody, surely you can't just say "I'm a 10k value" without anything to back it up… But then, how do you back it up? Personal work at first? Going above and beyond on cheap gigs?

  • Dear Chase, this is so far one of Your best interviews I listened. Even my fav is with Mr Larry King ♥ But Seth Godin… Come oooon :)))) Excellent. Learn-Apply, thank You!!!

  • Funny. Ive done and continue to do hard physical labor all my life, while striving to find the emotional labor opportunities. Only to come up empty handed and having to continue physical labor so I can pay my bills and play this game called LIFE. But Ill keep listening.

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