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From Seth Godin’s brief take on why businesses fail:

What marketing mistake do most small businesses make? 

They believe in the mass market instead of obsessing about a micro market. They seek the mass market because it feels harder to fail–there’s always one more stranger left to bother. It’s the small, the weird, and the eager that will make or break you.

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(via @swissmiss)

Seth Godin: Get Over Yourself

In the wake of Sandy’s devastation, Seth Godin offers:

In the face of billions of dollars of destruction, of the loss of life, of families disrupted, it’s easy to wonder what we were so hung up on just a few days ago. Many just went face to face with an epic natural disaster, and millions are still recovering. Writer’s block or a delayed shipment or an unreturned phone call seem sort of trivial now.

We’re good at creating drama, at avoiding emotional labor and most of all, at thinking small. Maybe we don’t need another meeting, a longer coffee break or another hour whittling away at our stuckness.

There’s never been a better opportunity to step up and make an impact, while we’ve got the chance. This generation, this decade, right now, there are more opportunities to connect and do art than ever before. Maybe even today.

It’s pretty easy to decide to roll with the punches, to look at the enormity of natural disaster and choose to hunker down and do less. It’s more important than ever, I think, to persist and make a dent in the universe instead.

We’ve all been offered access to so many tools, so many valuable connections, so many committed people. What an opportunity.

How will you take advantage of this opportunity?

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Here is my review of Seth Godin’s Linchpin, which is perhaps the best book he’s written.

Seth Godin on Initiative and Starting Out

Seth Godin offers this piece of advice on initiative and starting out in this The Great Discontent interview:

There’s a picture that I just saw online two days ago… It’s a picture of someone graduating from college. You can’t tell, but you can guess that they’re probably $150,000 in debt. Written on the top of their mortarboard with masking tape it says, “Hire me.” The thing about the picture that’s pathetic, beyond the notion that you need to spam the audience at graduation with a note saying you’re looking for a job, is that you went $150,000 in debt and spent four years of your life so someone else could pick you. That’s ridiculous. It really makes me sad to see that. The opportunity of a lifetime is to pick yourself. Quit waiting to get picked; quit waiting for someone to give you permission; quit waiting for someone to say you are officially qualified and pick yourself. It doesn’t mean you have to be an entrepreneur or a freelancer, but it does mean you stand up and say, “I have something to say. I know how to do something. I’m doing it. If you want me to do it with you, raise your hand.”

The entire interview is excellent.

I am a big fan of Seth Godin’s books, especially Linchpin, which I reviewed here.

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(hat tip: Tina Ross Eisenberg)

On Ideas and Starting a Company

In a post that’s over three years old now, Derek Sivers muses on why you’d want to start a company of your own (hint: it’s about execution of your ideas):

When I was at CD Baby, I’d be able to play with new ideas immediately. (“What if we had a $5 sale?” “What if I could co-op card swipers?” “What if I could go multi-lingual?”) Any time I had an idea, I’d be able to test it out within days.

But now, for the first time in 10 years, since I had no company, I couldn’t test out these new ideas! All I could do was read, think, and maybe write about it. Damn!

Then I realized why I need to start a new company. Not for the money. Not because I’m “bored”. But because a company is a laboratory to try your ideas. (The word “laboratory” is defined as a room for research, experimentation or analysis. I think of it as a sandbox or playpen.)

I think Sivers downplays the boredom aspect in his post, but it’s still excellent advice. My other thought: what if you could execute on your ideas via your art rather than by founding a company? For an example of what I mean, check out what Seth Godin is doing with a Kickstarter campaign.

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(HT: Swiss Miss)

Seth Godin’s Linchpin: Book Review

This is the third book I have finished reading in 2010, but Seth Godin’s Linchpin is the first book I will review here. I found out about this book from reading Seth’s blog (which I read daily, and I recommend you start reading as well, if you don’t read it already). In December 2009, I saw Seth’s post about launching his book in advance to motivated readers:

For a select group of motivated readers, I want to send you a copy of Linchpin (at my expense) three weeks before anyone else can buy one. My US publisher is not sending free review copies to magazines (the few that are left), newspaper editors, TV shows, any of the usual media suspects. Instead, we’re allowing people like you to raise their hands and, if they like the book, asking them to tell the world about it in January.

The filter for these motivated readers? A minimum $30 to Acumen Fund. I made my donation within two minutes of reading Seth’s blog post and was subsequently put on the mailing list (to receive updates about this book). I received my copy of Linchpin in the mail about a week ago, and finished reading it yesterday. What follows is my brief review, with snippets of my favorite quotes and my thoughts, where applicable.

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