Seth Godin Hates Being Organized
Seth Godin could work in a skyscraper.
Instead, he works in a converted apartment in a small town in upstate New York
His workspace is his own mind turned inside out and made manifest as interior decoration
He could have a large staff to order around, but instead he employs a small crew of friendly people who he treats like family and makes them lunch every day
How Seth thinks about organization
Organizing is like building a case to hold your tools. You don’t get points for making it fancy, you get the points for doing the work.
Seth's philosophy on organizing
You just throw your tools in the box and close it, and when you open the box again your tools would be just where you put them.
Seth needs the noise to do his work
If there isn't noise, he makes it.
Sometimes he feels overwhelmed by the amount of things going on, but chooses not to be overwhelmed by it. Instead, he uses it as fuel to fuel his creativity.
Seth on being productive
Being productive and being organized are not always the same thing
The trap with organizing is that it can sometimes be an excuse not to ship things
Don't ask: am I organized enough? Instead, you might ask: Am I shipping work in sufficient quality and quantity to cause the changes I seek to make? If not, what's stopping me?
How Seth makes sure to ship work that is important enough
Ask yourself, What am I doing this for? What is its purpose other than getting paid?
What's the medium that will help it get there? Is it a blog post, or a talk? Or is it a book? What box does it fit in? Once I've tried to answer those questions then I jump in.
Paying attention to the froth
Froth is the foam on top of the thing. It's all the stuff that's in the corner of your eye, that's peripheral.
For example, email. When it first came out, most people looked at email as fax adjacent, but it wasn't in the center of anyone's frame.
Seth only pays attention to people who get the joke
When you make any piece of work that matters, the vast majority of people aren't going to like it.
One way to get through that is to sand off the edges and make it so that no one hates it
The other way is to deliberately insulate yourself from the people who don't get the jokes
If someone who gets the joke can honestly say to you, you're not achieving what you're seeking to achieve, that's priceless feedback
Seth's Wordpress setup
When it’s time to write a post, he will press the compose button and type it out, then try to figure out where to stick the post in the queue.
Every night he will look at what posts are imminent and often will delete it because he will have come up with something better.
How he puts together his talks
He uses Keynote
200 slides, each has a picture and the picture brings up a story that he wants to talk about
Depending on the presentation, he'll hide and show and rearrange slides to put together the talk
Some slides have been in there for a long time, some haven't been used in years
How a slide gets into his presentations
People are willing to risk their lives to fit in with their friends
How did this story get into his presentation?
He was on 9th Avenue in Manhattan and a group of people passed him on their bikes. He noticed that one of the people had a bike helmet clipped to her backpack, and he knew there had to be a story behind that helmet
He’s constantly testing out new riffs to find what works
Trying out new pieces riffs for his talks by speaking to people like you
Creating a feedback loop to understand what it does to someone's insides when he teaches them something
Why did that touch people?
How he crafts the narrative
The narrative of his talks is organic and not very strategic
He doesn't think much about the arc of the talk because he believes that is not how humans change
People change when they decide to change, when they take off an old piece of their identity and put on another one
His talks are designed to help people understand the uniforms they wear and help them put on better ones
How he gives presentations
He does not use his slides as a teleprompter
When giving a talk, he needs to be able to communicate to people in a way that makes him fully present
Most people flip to a new slide, then they look at the slide, and then talk about it
This makes the presentation stilted
How he uses a coffee cup to give his talks in an emergency
Sometimes the venue doesn't read my rider and prepare, and so I can't use my slides
I always ask for two screens: one for my slides and one for a video feed of me
Take a water bottle or a Starbucks cup on stage, and stick my story list on the back
Seth’s take on happiness
He decided to be thrilled and then he became thrilled.
A book recommendation
The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt
Most accessible book on a topic people truly don't understand
Reminds me of my dad
My dad had a PhD in business, so I have an emotional connection to it as well as an intellectual connection