What’s New Can Stay

Love this take on social media/technology companies from Seth Godin:

Racing to build your organization around the latest social network tool or graphics-rendering technology permits you to spend a lot of time learning the new system and skiing in the fresh powder of the unproven, but it might just distract you from the difficult work of telling the truth, looking people in the eye and making a difference.

I’m totally guilty of this—always chasing the shiny new object. I’ve left this page open in a tab on my browser for a couple weeks now, hoping it’ll sink in.

Two Media Picks

1. Seth Godin’s interview with Christa Tippett {On Being podcast}.

Fantastic interview with prolific blogger and business thinker Seth Godin, one of my favorite people-I-don’t-know-in-real-life ever. Seriously listen to this now.

Seth: [Your podcast] will never have better ratings than the Jersey Shore. But that’s not what the purpose is. It’s not what the point is. It’s not why we do our work. What works is does it matter? And is it possible to make a living doing something that matters? And the answer is, yes. Is it possible to make the maximum amount of money? Probably not. But that’s playing by a different set of rules.

That what the Internet is saying to us is you don’t need a building, and you don’t need an FCC license, and you don’t need 10,000 employees. So when I strip those away and I get to the nub of what I can be and what I can do, it turns out it’s not that expensive for me to put my art in the world. So I can make more mistakes. I can take bigger risks. And I can make a bigger impact. Not to a lot of people. Like I’m thrilled that almost everyone I meet has no idea who I am and what I do. Because I don’t want lots of people showing up and saying, I read this, I read this, I read this. Can I have your autograph? That’s not the point. The point is will someone come up to me and say, based on what I learned from you I taught 1o other people to do this, and we made something that mattered.

2. The Untouchables {frontline}.

Great Frontline documentary that attempts to answer the question everyone has about the financial crisis: how come hardly any bankers went to jail? Features some incredible interviews with everyday “due diligence” workers who were told to ignore red flags like a waitress with a reported salary of $12,000 a month.

Leveraging Your Tribe

I’m a Seth Godin devotee. I blog about him, I read his blog, and I’m overall more inspired to make more stuff because of the way he frames creating and making a difference.

Seth’s new project is a test case of a method of publishing books he thinks will be the future for successful authors. Here’s his Kickstarter pitch, which gives a good overview of what he’s trying to do.

Seth already has the tribe. Now he has proven that you can get over 4,000 people to pledge over $287,000 to help publish a book that is now only an idea. Like he says in the video, Kickstarter isn’t useful for building a tribe, it’s true power is in leveraging the tribe you’ve been working to build.

I started working on my idea today, and I’ll share it with you when it’s ready to be shared.

The Right Words for Steve

Seth Godin puts a positive spin on it:

It’s one thing to miss someone, to feel a void when they’re gone. It’s another to do something with their legacy, to honor them through your actions.

{read more: a eulogy of action}


And if you haven’t watched Steve’s commencement address to Stanford’s graduating class of 2005 yet, do so now {video and the text}. A primer for you:

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Will the New Yorker Ever Change?

Another thought-provoking bit by Seth Godin about The New Yorker‘s famously consistent magazine design. (Pictured above: the 15¢ version of the magazine in 1925 vs. the $5.99 Sept. 12 2011 issue.)

For the first time in its history, the editors at The New Yorker know which articles are being read. And they know who’s reading them…

They also know, or should know, whether people are looking at the ads, and what the correlation is between ad lookers and article readers. The iPad app can keep track of all of this, of course.

Of course, Godin is rarely talking about what he’s talking about.  But it is interesting to consider The New Yorker‘s move to the digital world, and to ponder—however briefly and/or naively—if user data will effect the way they do their business.

The excerpts above were taken from The New Yorker archive. Used under the Please-Don’t-Sue-Me Commons.