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A Whole Day with Seth Godin

Posted by David Greer in Leadership, Strategy | 0 comments


“People like us, do things like that”

This was one of my biggest take away ideas from the day I spent in New York with entrepreneur, marketer, and teacher Seth Godin. I’ve been paying attention to Seth Godin, reading his books, his blog, and watching his videos since I first saw him speak at the Direct Marketing Conference in 2005. I admire Seth for many reasons and jumped at the chance to spend an entire day with him (and several hundred others) at his one Q&A session in the US in 2016.

With maybe two hours of prepared material, most of the day was dedicated to Seth answering questions from the audience. It was a blast, as the microphone we used as hidden in a square cube (it looked like giant die) which was thrown across the theatre from person to person. While there was quite a bit of seriousness in the questions people asked Seth, he always responded with good humor. Together we shared a whole lot of laughs during our day together.

Whether you are an entrepreneur or lead a non-profit, Seth’s opening remarks were:

“There are those that care.”

“And all the rest.”

Seth reminded us that we will be in fear at times. There is never enough reassurance for those that are bringing change to the world. At some point, you will be rejected. Do it anyways. We care that much.

Over and over, Seth demonstrated by example his belief that you need to be the best in the world in the eyes of a few select people. Who are those few people and what specific problem do you solve for them? What is the smallest meaningful project you can do to solve some aspect of the problem for the select group of people you have identified?

As a coach, I learned a lot by watching Seth interact with every person. He made sure to summarize each person’s situation and question, often asking clarifying questions along the way. Rather than specific advice, he often responded with questions that got the person asking to dig deeper into who they were serving and what problem they solved for them. In between questions, he often paused for a minute to give all of us a concrete example of what he had been trying to get at in his previous answer. Or to share something funny so that we all lightened up with some laughter.

My final insight of the day was that we need to choose to matter. No matter how big your vision, start with five people. Make meaning for them. Only after you have those five, do you go out and ask them to refer you to your next five people.

What powerful advice to help each of us make the change we want to bring to the world.

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