The title of marketer Seth Godin’s latest book is Linchpin. It is part of a sequence of books that Hugh MacLeod highlights in this Amazon.com review:
In his best-known book, Purple Cow, Seth’s message was, “Everyone’s a marketer now.” In All Marketers Are Liars, his message was, “Everyone’s a storyteller now.” In Tribes, his message was, “Everyone’s a leader now.” And from Linchpin? “Everyone’s an artist now.”
Amid a promotional book tour and lecture circuit (that involved a stop in Boston, the subject of tomorrow’s blog post), Seth took some time out to respond to my questions. I hope you enjoy.
Q: Do you agree with Hugh’s perspective? And if these are true of your books, where does your blog fit in? What’s the message there?
Yes, I agree. I love Hugh.
The blog is an arc, not a document. The arc started with permission and respect, and continues to build on those, but adds the responsibility we all have to create work worth doing.
Q: Walk down Main Street USA and meet Joe Citizen. He has no idea who you are, never heard your name. In Joe’s mind, you are not remarkable or he’d know you. But you argue that if YOU believe you are remarkable, you are. Who’s right?
No, I don’t argue that. In fact, I’ve said precisely the opposite. If JOE believes you’re remarkable, then you are.
This is a critical distinction, and one that’s missed by almost all marketers.
Q: When did you know you were remarkable?
I’m still peeling off layers, mostly based on what other people wanted me to be! Once I figure it out, I’ll let you know.
Q: In the nearly six months since Linchpin was published, many people have read the book, shared their comments, told their friends about it and what they learned from it. When you overhear critique of your work, how do you react, and how has your reaction changed (if it changed) from book #1 to now?
There are many forms of criticism. Issues of style are fun, but not particularly useful (I’m not going to start writing like Jim Collins, and he’s not going to start writing like me). Issues of nuance or insight are my favorite, because they are debates about the heart of the matter. I love that and can’t get enough of it. Heckling, particularly anonymous heckling driven by fear or ego, I have no time for.
The goal of most writers, believe it or not, isn’t for people to say, “I loved every word.” No, we want to hear, “that made me think, and hard. I’m wondering about this part of your thesis though…”
Q: Do you write by computer or pen and paper? What type of computer do you use? What’s your preferred style of pen and stock?
I change my methods a lot, because I’m easily bored. Lately I’ve liked oversized Japanese notebooks I buy at the JetBlue terminal at JFK, followed by Keynote and then Nisus on the Mac.
Q: When you talk about the resistant lizard, what’s the inspiration? What kind of lizard? Does it have a name? Why not another reptile or a bug?
I didn’t make up the lizard. You can check it out on Wikipedia. It comes from triune theory and other early work on the psychology of the brain. Me, I would probably pick the “Komodo Dragon” brain.
Q: In other written and video blog interviews you’ve done promoting you and your book, you are verbose. You write a lot, you talk a lot. But your own blog posts are typically much, much shorter in length. Have you ever interviewed yourself?
Verbose! I don’t think I talk more than most, I just do it when there’s an audience.
Making the blog short is a lot of work.
As for interviewing myself, I’m told you can go blind doing that.
Q: Switching to your time in Boston last month, how did everything flow in retrospect? Will anything change for future talks?
It was a bullet train, so overwhelmingly cool. A great audience, spectacular volunteers and Ishita Gupta to make magic happen. I took me four days to recover. Every event will be different, that’s part of the goal.
Q: Anything else you want to say?
No, that would make me verbose!
How about this: